1981 volume 8(3) pages 333 – 348

Cite as:
Jack H E Jr, 1981, "Some simplified parameters to assess the energy efficiency of urban settlement configurations" Environment and Planning B 8(3) 333 – 348

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Some simplified parameters to assess the energy efficiency of urban settlement configurations

H E Jack Jr

Received 21 October 1980, in revised form 17 March 1981

Abstract. As the United States moves toward a future with a very probable energy shortage, the urban settlement patterns must become far more energy efficient than they are at present. This will require new planning, zoning, taxing, and financing policies and practices. For such policies and practices to be successful, however, there must be methods for identifying and characterizing the energy needs of urban settlement configurations. This paper defines and develops some parameters which act as measures of the minimal energy consumption requirements of urban settlement configurations. The specific parameters are for the thermal quality of buildings resulting from their size and shape, for some residential land-use intensities, for service-center and access distances, and for public transportation viability as functions of dwelling-unit density. Values of these parameters are calculated for several settlement configurations, specifically for detached single-family units sited on quarter acre lots, and for several multistory multifamily configurations. Of course, as expected, the patterns with a denser population lead to more energy efficiency, but the parameters measure the contribution of each element of the settlement configuration to the overall efficiency in terms of dwelling-unit density and living-area size.

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