News Analysis

Study Shows Homes Save More Energy from Location Than Efficiency

What is the value of energy savings at the building level if we’re not also looking seriously at energy savings from transportation to and from our buildings? (See EBN’sintroduction to the topic in “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings,” Sept. 2007.) Thanks to a study commissioned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we have some new answers to that question, at least for Energy Star-rated residential buildings. The energy savings realized through location efficiency (walkable access to public transit and work, school, and retail centers) are greater than those achieved through home efficiency.

In other words, a conventional home in a transit-oriented neighborhood saves considerably more energy—and money—than an Energy Star home in a conventional suburban development.

Published February 25, 2011