Friday, February 16, 2007

ZEALOT LIES

IT IS INCREDIBLE THE LIES THE ZEALOTS GET AWAY WITH!

They have been telling us for years that high-density is "more sustainable". But...


The following letter was published in the National Post newspaper in the USA, Thursday, February 15, 2007

Two bad ideas from British Columbia
National Post
Published: Thursday, February 15, 2007
Re: It's Time To Talk About Urban Density, Sam Sullivan, Feb. 13.

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan's wish for higher density carries a heavy price. That is already evident in Vancouver area house prices, which are among the highest in the world, relative to incomes, principally because of the region's densification-favouring policies. It is not a foregone conclusion that higher densities are more environmentally friendly. In Sydney, Australia, for example, it has been found that greenhouse gas emissions per capita are lower from detached houses than from high-rise residential buildings. The U.S. Oakridge National Laboratory found that doubling the density of urban areas would do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that vehicle technology improvements were a far better course.

And if all Canadians were to abandon their cars and sport utility vehicles, the nation would still fall short of achieving its Kyoto Accord targets. Sometimes it helps to take a good hard look at the data, without preconceptions.

Wendell Cox

Notes: The energy study referred to is: "Multi-Unit Residential Building Energy and Peak Demand Study" by Paul Myors, Energy Australia with Racheal O'Leary and Rob Helstroom, NSW Department of Planning, October 2005.

This study shows that greenhouse gas emissions in high-rise per person averages 5.4 tonnes of CO2 per year, nearly double the 2.9 tonnes per person per year in detached housing. Other studies show that average per capita water usage is no higher in single-residential than water consumption in high-rise.

3 comments:

Leo said...

I'm sure our NSW Planning Minister,Frank Sartor,would like to rebutt these findings.So Frank,here's your chance-lets see how quick on the draw you really are, after all the bravado when describing Wendell Cox as a hired gun.This shootout should go down as Australia's OK Corral -2 big guns face to face ,or in Frank's case,face to belly button.Frank,where are you hiding when NSW needs you mate?

Peter Rickwood said...

A study showing that high-income households in luxury apartments in the City, Chatswood, and St Leonards use more energy is not really startling -- high income households use more energy than lower income households. Thus, it
seems a bit disingenuous to reference the Myors study, (which compares mostly recently constructed high rise with heated pools
against existing detached housing stock) as 'proof' that higher density increases energy use.

What we really want to know is whether the same household, if moved out of an apartment into a detached house, would use more or less energy. This is still on open question.

Tony said...

Quoting Peter Rickwood above: “high income households use more energy than lower income households. Thus, it
seems a bit disingenuous to reference the Myors study, (which compares mostly recently constructed high rise with heated pools
against existing detached housing stock) as 'proof' that higher density increases energy use.”

There is no reason to assume the study finding more energy is used per person in high-rise was restricted to selected high-income luxury apartments with heated pools. It states “approximately 100 multi-unit residential buildings in the Sydney metropolitan region, spanning an area from the eastern coastline to Chatswood in the north, Rockdale in the south and extending inland to Westmead, were the subject of the study.” Perhaps some of the apartment buildings in the study could have been in the luxury category but so could some of the single-residential houses.

Furthermore "Energy requirements of Sydney Households", Manfred Lenzen, Christopher Dey, Varney Foran, "Ecological Economics" 49 (2004) 375-379 shows that, for people with comparable incomes, the energy requirement per person in the high-density suburbs is higher than for those in the low-density suburbs.

One can only speculate on the reasons for the higher energy consumption per person living in high-rise. The energy used in unit blocks by lifts, clothes driers and lighted common areas could be significant. So can air conditioning. Units without shaded windows and limited exposure to external air and cross-ventilation are more difficult to cool than is a house shaded by trees and eaves. Artificial cooling requires much more energy than does heating due to the large volume of air that has to be moved around. Perhaps less people can be happily accommodated per dwelling in units due to the restrictive confined atmosphere than is the case with detached housing. For the same reason people in units may feel the urge to get out more often and so travel around more so using more transport energy.