Understanding the energy & emission impacts of development patterns
www.climateandcommunity.ca is an educational web project about community planning for climate change mitigation in
Columbia Basin. Visitors to the site experience an interactive introduction to energy and emissions issues in Columbia
Basin communities. Users can explore planning options through aerial and street level visualizations and learn about
the associated dwelling types, mobility, energy and emissions attributes. At the conclusion, users compare their
selected option against community planning priorities such as dwelling diversity or walkability.
Climate & Community investigates the energy and greenhouse gas emissions impacts of adding 500 new people to different patterns
of development, including suburban single family neighbourhoods, denser neighbourhood centres and a downtown core.
This ElementsLab research project was funded by the Columbia Basin Trust and the City of Revelstoke.
Energy & Emissions
Suburban Single Family Neighbourhood
This option accomodates growth by expanding the town boundary and converts undeveloped land to urban uses requiring construction
of new municipal infrastructure (roads, utilities, schools etc.). Suburb is the least efficient option, housing 500
people within the largest land area — over 5 times greater than that of the Downtown option. With no services, walkability
in this neighbourhood is poor, and single family houses are much less energy efficient than multi-family forms.
Walking Trips: 0%
Vehicle Trips: 100%
Vehicle Kilometres/Household: 38,000
Energy and Emissions:
Energy Demand: 24,450 GJ/year
Per capita emissions: 12.9 tCO2e/capita/year
0% reduction in per capita emissions
This option reduces pressure to convert undeveloped land to urban uses and to build new municipal
utilities, schools etc.). Neighbourhood Centre is the second most efficient option, accommodating 500 people in
area about 50% greater than the downtown option but about 3 times smaller than that of the suburban option. It
better walkability than the suburban neighbourhood, leading to fewer vehicle trips. Its multi-unit residential
also have better energy performance, leading to fewer emissions.
Walking Trips: 20%
Vehicle Trips: 80%
Vehicle Kilometres/Household: 17,500
Energy and Emissions:
Energy Demand: 17,800 GJ/year
Per capita emissions: 6.2 tCO2e/capita/year
-52% reduction in per capita emissions
Downtown is the most efficient option, accommodating 500 people within the smallest land area — over 5 times
than that of the Suburban option. This more compact housing form is much more energy efficient, and the
daily services such as food stores makes it a much more walkable neighbourhood than either the suburan
or the neighbourhood centre.