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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 09:08 AM

Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions

[font face=Serif][font size=5]Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions[/font]
[font size=4]“Housing and Mobility Demands of Individual Households and their Life Cycle Assessment”
Environmental Science & Technology[/font]

[font size=3]Energy conservation in a small number of households could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists are reporting. Their study, which measured differences in energy demands at the household level, appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Dominik Saner and colleagues point out that the energy people use to power their homes and to satisfy their mobility needs accounts for more than 70 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas involved in global climate change. To cope with that problem, policymakers and environmentalists have focused largely on the supply side, for instance, electric power plants, heating systems and cars that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Saner and his team decided to take a close look at the other end of the equation — how energy consumption for housing and land-based mobility at the household level impacts greenhouse gas emissions.

Their study of more than 3,000 households in a Swiss town found that only 21 percent of the households accounted for almost 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest factors contributing to a few families having a disproportionately large environmental footprint were large living spaces (which use energy for heating, lighting and cooling) and long commutes in private vehicles. “If their emissions could be halved, the total emissions of the community would be reduced by 25 percent,” the scientists concluded.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Competence Center for Energy & Mobility and Swisselectric Research.


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Reply Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (Original post)
OKIsItJustMe Jun 2013 OP
Iterate Jun 2013 #1

Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 01:31 PM

1. Even the abstract is a damning indictment of the exurban commute

Household consumption, apart from governmental consumption, is the main driver of worldwide economy. Attached to each household purchase are economic activities along the preceding supply chain, with the associated resource use and emissions. A method to capture and assess all these resource uses and emissions is life cycle assessment. We developed a model for the life cycle assessment of housing and land-based mobility (excluding air travel) consumption of individual households a small village in Switzerland. Statistical census and dwelling register data are the foundations of the model. In a case study performed on a midsized community, we found a median value of greenhouse gas emissions of 3.12 t CO2 equiv and a mean value of 4.30 t CO2 equiv per capita and year for housing and mobility. Twenty-one percent of the households in the investigated region were responsible for 50% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that if their emissions could be halved the total emissions of the community would be reduced by 25%. Furthermore, a cluster analysis revealed that driving factors for large environmental footprints are demands of large living area heated by fossil energy carriers, as well as large demands of motorized private transportation.


And it's hard to imagine the steep price tag for that in Switzerland, let alone Cincinnati or Denver.

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