Community PlanningThe majority of emissions produced by communities are due to energy use by buildings and traffic. Regional and community planning have an important role to play concerning the magnitude of emissions. By planning its buildings in an integrated and compact manner communities can improve the energy efficiency and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of other harmful environmental effects.
Energy efficiency and an integrated community are in everyone’s interest, being a benefit to residents, local business life as well as the environment. Existing community energy efficiency can often be improved with the help of town planning and transport planning, though it maybe more of a challenge than when planning new areas.
The benefits of an integrated and energy efficient community:
- town buildings are compact, and so distances are short and there is less of a need for travel;
- residential areas and urban centres are lively;
- the opportunities for walking and cycling are good;
- public transport is comprehensive and runs well; and
- a well-planned community encourages people to got to work by other means than their own car.
In an energy efficient community attention is paid to the energy efficiency of buildings. Town planning is carried out so that it is possible to be connected to the district heating system. Advantage is taken, when possible, of passive solar energy in the location of buildings.
Cooperation and interaction neededImproving the energy efficiency of community buildings succeeds with the sustained cooperation and interaction of the municipality’s different constituent actors. Municipal employees, decision-makers and residents are responsible for realizing energy efficiency.
Planners and decision-makers need also to be unprejudiced and courageous in carrying through energy efficient urban construction. It is also important to listen to residents at the different stages of the planning and decision-making process to ensure a successful outcome, because in the end it is they who have an influence on day-to-day choices, such as transport routines, on how energy efficiency is eventually realized.