A. Estimates of GHG Reduction Potentials
Well planned compact growth consumes 45 percent less land and costs
25 percent less for roads, 20 percent less for utilities, and 5 percent less for
schools, than does sprawling growth.
121
One study found a direct relationship between the
number of dwellings per acre and the level of GHGs released. At a fairly common suburban density of four
homes per acre, CO
2
emissions per household were estimated to be 25 percent higher than in an urban
neighborhood with 20 homes per acre.
122
Figure 12 shows the hypothesized impact of residential density on
travel related CO
2
emissions.
123
Locational efficiency research by Holtzclaw and coauthors, based on detailed spatial data for the
San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Chicago, found energy efficiency to be highly correlated with
per acre residential density,
Figure 12
with public transit service
How 
Residential Density  
Affects Travel Related
density within walking
CO
2
Emissions
distance of the house, with
35
household income, and
with household size.
124
They
30
+
concluded that differences in
25
density and access to public
transit are significant predic 
20
tors of per household vehicle
15
miles of travel. Burer and
 emissions per household (lbs/year)
2
coauthors show that higher
CO
10
0
20
40
60
80
100
residential and employment
Households/Residential Acre
densities, mixed land use, 
+
Source: Computed using the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters calculator,
http://www.sflcv.org/density/index.html.
and job housing balance are
associated with shorter trips
and lower automobile ownership and use.
125
The most recent set of U.S. based locational efficiency
studies project considerable potential for GHG reductions, with savings on the order of 10 percent of the
2001 level of GHGs produced in the United States suggested as possible within as few as 10 years.
126
40
+
Towards a Climate Friendly  
Built Environment
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