The EPA has just released a white paperconfirming what most of us know intuitively: multi-family housing located near public transportation is generally “greener” than any other type of housing. Their graph tells the story very well:
It illustrates the two key points in the study about the relationship between housing style/location and energy consumption:
• “Choosing to live in an area with transportation options not only reduces energy consumption, it also can result in significant savings on home energy and transportation costs.”
• “Fairly substantial differences are seen in detached versus attached homes, but the most striking difference is the variation in energy use between single-family detached homes and multifamily homes, due to the inherent efficiencies from more compact size and shared walls among units.”
The EPA study also included a surprising correlation between proximity to public transportation and foreclosure rates:
“Location efficiency can contribute to or undermine a home’s affordability, and these impacts can also extend to a household’s financial stability. One analysis of some of the causes behind the U.S. financial crisis suggests that vehicle ownership and a lack of access to public transportation may be just as predictive of mortgage foreclosure rates as low credit scores and high debt-to-income ratios.”
In his 2010 book, “Foreclosing the Dream: How America’s Housing Crisis is Changing Our Cities and Suburbs,” Dr. William Lucy, professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, said much the same thing:
““Location is more important than ever, and how location is interpreted has changed,” Lucy said.
With foreclosures and repossessions contributing to housing surplus predominantly in the outer suburbs and suburbs, these locations are not considered as being safe investments or as having good resale potential for 30- to 45-year-olds, who later need to sell for career advancement.”
Dr. Lucy and the EPA white paper also seem to be in agreement with other market studies that discuss the increasing demand for urban multi-family housing close to public transportation. The EPA study references a 2010 analysis completed by RCLCO and wrote, “that demographic changes are underway which are leading to rapid growth in the number of households without children. These households demonstrate a preference for more walkable, vibrant “urban” places with good transit access…”
In Miami we have been reading about this shift for several years now. In an October 2006 Miami Herald article by Elaine Walker, she talks to Allen and Stella Donelan about why they are moving to Downtown Dadeland:
“He also hates the hour-long commute to his U.S. Post Office job — he will cut that by two-thirds. With the Metrorail virtually next door, the Donelans plan to get rid of their second car.”
Multi-family housing located in “walkable” neighborhoods near public transportation and other amenities allows residents to save on transportation and other energy costs while living green.
And in Miami this means living on some of the most beautiful real estate anywhere in the country. The corridor from the northern edge of Downtown Miami, through Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Miami and Downtown Kendall/Dadeland boasts mid- and high-rise condominiums with Biscayne Bay views as well as attached and detached homes in tropical garden settings.
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