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Re: [carfree_cities] resistance to carfree

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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics too, just less so.)
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
      On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:

      > Yet even from the standpoint of energy efficiency, moving to an all-
      > electric fleet of private automobiles seems to have as many weaknesses
      > as any of the biofuels or hydrogen scenarios that were the flavour of
      > the day at the beginning of this decade.

      The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
      pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
      too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago:

      http://www.bicyclefixation.com/meth.htm
      >
      >
      > 2. What are the power requirements for private electric automobiles to
      > carry a given proportion of the population compared to those of a
      > fleet of electrically powered public transit vehicles to carry the
      > same proportion? Just as less space is required for a mass transit-
      > based system (think of the famous Münster cars/bus/bicycles poster
      > here), I suspect that less energy is required to carry the same number
      > of people in a single tram, metro or bus than in individual cars (and
      > of course it is a given that it will be far less if a significant
      > number are using human powered wheeled transport or walking because of
      > better urban design). I don't know if anyone has done the numbers to
      > compare the modes: anyone here know?


      I don't know what it is for passenger vehicles, but freight trains
      typically use 1/3 to 1/4 the energy per ton-mile as do trucks.
      --
      Richard Risemberg
      http://www.bicyclefixation.com
      http://www.newcolonist.com
      http://www.rickrise.com







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christopher Miller
      ... Oh, I don t think we re likely to come to fisticuffs over that point any time soon! :-) I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
        On 2-Apr-09, at 3:45 PM, Richard Risemberg wrote:

        > On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:
        >
        > (...)
        >
        > The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
        > pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
        > too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago (...)
        >

        Oh, I don't think we're likely to come to fisticuffs over that point
        any time soon! :-)

        I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
        mobility by proximity plus making mass transit the dominant distance
        mode is the only truly sustainable answer. The BuildingGreen.com page
        I linked to amply illustrates the external costs rarely if ever
        factored into "green building", even if this is only one of many
        issues with the way we currently manage urban infrastructure. I'm
        pasting the content of that link into the end of this message.

        My point is that even if we put aside this obvious (to us at least)
        problem, the whole rush to electric cars as the latest way of saving
        The Sacred Right to Drive Everywhere seems to me to pose as many
        insoluble difficulties with respect to energy consumption as the
        "hydrogen economy" or biofuels did for that and other reasons. I am
        pretty sure my hypothesis would turn out right with respect to
        increasing demand on the electric grid, but as for anything else, the
        proof of the pudding is in the eating and I'd really be interested in
        seeing actual figures that would bear out my hunch.

        Here's the text from the BuildingGreen.com page I cited:

        =========================================================
        http://www.buildinggreen.com/press/transportation_energy_intensity.cfm
        9/5/07
        Contact:
        Jerelyn Wilson
        802-257-7300 ext. 102
        Jerelyn@...

        Energy Consumption Getting to and From Buildings Exceeds Energy Use
        for Operations
        Brattleboro, VT — An examination of the “transportation energy
        intensity” of buildings has found that getting people to and from
        buildings uses more energy than the buildings themselves consume. The
        lead article in the September 2007 issue of Environmental Building
        News shows that for an average office building in the United States,
        30 percent more energy is expended by office workers commuting to and
        from the building than is consumed by the building itself for heating,
        cooling, lighting, and other energy uses. For an office building built
        to modern energy codes (ASHRAE 90.1-2004), more than twice as much
        energy is used by commuters than by the building.

        “This was a huge surprise,” says Environmental Building News (EBN)
        executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. “I knew that
        transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
        at the differences.” For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
        data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
        different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
        per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
        square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
        energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
        yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
        buildings (see table below).

        Comparing Transportation and Operating Energy Use for an Office Building

        U.S. Units

        Metric Units

        Average U.S. commute distance – one way (1)

        12.2 mi

        19.6 km

        U.S. average vehicle fuel economy – 2006 (2)

        21.0 mi/gal

        8.9 km/liter

        Work days

        235 days/yr

        Annual fuel consumption

        273 gal/year

        1033 liters/year

        Annual fuel consumption per automobile commuter (3)

        33,900 kBtu/yr

        9,890 kWh/yr

        Transportation energy use per employee (4)

        27,700 kBtu/yr

        8,100 kWh/yr

        Average office building occupancy (5)

        230 ft2/person

        21.3 m2/person

        Transportation energy use for average office building

        121 kBtu/ft2

        381.2 kWh/m2

        Operating energy use for average office building (6)

        92.9 kBtu/ft2-yr

        292.7 kWh/m2-yr

        Operating energy use for code-compliant office building (6, 7)

        51.0 kBtu/ft2-yr

        160.7 kWh/m2-yr

        Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
        average office building

        30.2%

        Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
        office building built to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 code

        137%

        1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Energy Data Book
        26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.6
        2. U.S. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends:
        1975 Through 2006
        3. Assumes 124,000 Btu/gallon of gasoline, DOE Energy Information
        Administration data
        4. Assumes 76.3% commute in single-occupancy vehicle, 11.2% carpool (2
        per car) and no other energy use (commuting transportation modes from
        U.S. DOT Transportation Energy Data Book 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.14.
        5. U.S. General Services Administration
        6. This includes site energy only, not source energy. U.S. DOE Energy
        Information Administration Commercial Building Energy Consumption
        Survey (CBECS) data for 2003, published June 2006.
        7. Bruce Hunn, ASHRAE, personal communication
        Source: Environmental Building News, September 2007
        “The green building community has expended tremendous effort to reduce
        the operating energy use of buildings,” notes Wilson, “but very little
        effort to reduce the transportation energy use of those buildings.” He
        would like to see this change. “To achieve widely shared goals for
        dealing with climate change,” says Wilson, “we simply can’t ignore the
        energy consumption getting to and from our buildings.”

        Many of the strategies for reducing the transportation energy
        intensity of buildings relate to location. The September EBN article,
        “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of
        Buildings,” reviews a wide range of strategies for reducing vehicle
        use. Such strategies are often lumped under the heading “transit-
        oriented development” and include increasing development density,
        creating mixed-use development, providing various forms of public
        transit, restricting parking, and creating more pedestrian-friendly
        streetscapes. “Although progressive urban planners have been
        advocating for such development features for years,” says Wilson, “the
        building industry has only recently begun paying attention to these
        issues.”

        In an editorial in the same issue of EBN, Wilson calls for changes to
        the LEED Rating System to make the credits relating to location and
        transportation performance-based, rather than prescriptive. “While the
        prescriptive approach in LEED to site and transportation issues has
        served an important role,” Wilson says in the editorial, “it’s time to
        provide a more rigorous basis for these credits.”

        The full article on transportation energy intensity and the
        accompanying editorial can be accessed at www.BuildingGreen.com. These
        articles are part of BuildingGreen Suite, a leading online resource on
        green building. While this is a paid-access site (with members paying
        $199 per year) these articles are provided free as a sampling of
        content. Environment Building News is the oldest and one of the most
        respected sources of green building information in North America.
        Celebrating its 15th year of publication in 2007, EBN has never
        carried advertising and is supported entirely by subscription revenue.
        For information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com, or call 800-861-0954
        (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an
        independent, socially responsible, 20-person company based in
        Brattleboro, Vermont.

        Editors: BuildingGreen president Alex Wilson is available for
        interviews on the issue of transportation energy intensity of
        buildings. To arrange an interview, contact Jerelyn Wilson
        (802-257-7300 ext. 102; Jerelyn@...).


        =========================================================

        Christopher Miller
        Montreal QC Canada
      • Jon Koller
        Is anyone aware of any academic work comparing predicted or observed energy consumption for various patterns of development on a modal basis? Or various
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
          Is anyone aware of any academic work comparing predicted or observed
          energy consumption for various patterns of development on a modal
          basis? Or various combinations of modes?

          -Jon
          www.prettygoodcity.com

          On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Christopher Miller
          <christophermiller@...> wrote:
          >
          > On 2-Apr-09, at 3:45 PM, Richard Risemberg wrote:
          >
          >> On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:
          >>
          >> (...)
          >>
          >> The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
          >> pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
          >> too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago (...)
          >>
          >
          > Oh, I don't think we're likely to come to fisticuffs over that point
          > any time soon! :-)
          >
          > I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
          > mobility by proximity plus making mass transit the dominant distance
          > mode is the only truly sustainable answer. The BuildingGreen.com page
          > I linked to amply illustrates the external costs rarely if ever
          > factored into "green building", even if this is only one of many
          > issues with the way we currently manage urban infrastructure. I'm
          > pasting the content of that link into the end of this message.
          >
          > My point is that even if we put aside this obvious (to us at least)
          > problem, the whole rush to electric cars as the latest way of saving
          > The Sacred Right to Drive Everywhere seems to me to pose as many
          > insoluble difficulties with respect to energy consumption as the
          > "hydrogen economy" or biofuels did for that and other reasons. I am
          > pretty sure my hypothesis would turn out right with respect to
          > increasing demand on the electric grid, but as for anything else, the
          > proof of the pudding is in the eating and I'd really be interested in
          > seeing actual figures that would bear out my hunch.
          >
          > Here's the text from the BuildingGreen.com page I cited:
          >
          > =========================================================
          > http://www.buildinggreen.com/press/transportation_energy_intensity.cfm
          > 9/5/07
          > Contact:
          > Jerelyn Wilson
          > 802-257-7300 ext. 102
          > Jerelyn@...
          >
          > Energy Consumption Getting to and From Buildings Exceeds Energy Use
          > for Operations
          > Brattleboro, VT — An examination of the “transportation energy
          > intensity” of buildings has found that getting people to and from
          > buildings uses more energy than the buildings themselves consume. The
          > lead article in the September 2007 issue of Environmental Building
          > News shows that for an average office building in the United States,
          > 30 percent more energy is expended by office workers commuting to and
          > from the building than is consumed by the building itself for heating,
          > cooling, lighting, and other energy uses. For an office building built
          > to modern energy codes (ASHRAE 90.1-2004), more than twice as much
          > energy is used by commuters than by the building.
          >
          > “This was a huge surprise,” says Environmental Building News (EBN)
          > executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. “I knew that
          > transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
          > at the differences.” For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
          > data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
          > different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
          > per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
          > square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
          > energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
          > yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
          > buildings (see table below).
          >
          > Comparing Transportation and Operating Energy Use for an Office Building
          >
          > U.S. Units
          >
          > Metric Units
          >
          > Average U.S. commute distance – one way (1)
          >
          > 12.2 mi
          >
          > 19.6 km
          >
          > U.S. average vehicle fuel economy – 2006  (2)
          >
          > 21.0 mi/gal
          >
          >  8.9 km/liter
          >
          > Work days
          >
          > 235 days/yr
          >
          > Annual fuel consumption
          >
          > 273 gal/year
          >
          > 1033 liters/year
          >
          > Annual fuel consumption per automobile commuter (3)
          >
          > 33,900 kBtu/yr
          >
          > 9,890 kWh/yr
          >
          > Transportation energy use per employee (4)
          >
          > 27,700 kBtu/yr
          >
          > 8,100 kWh/yr
          >
          > Average office building occupancy (5)
          >
          > 230 ft2/person
          >
          > 21.3 m2/person
          >
          > Transportation energy use for average office building
          >
          > 121 kBtu/ft2
          >
          > 381.2 kWh/m2
          >
          > Operating energy use for average office building (6)
          >
          > 92.9 kBtu/ft2-yr
          >
          > 292.7 kWh/m2-yr
          >
          > Operating energy use for code-compliant office building (6, 7)
          >
          > 51.0 kBtu/ft2-yr
          >
          > 160.7 kWh/m2-yr
          >
          > Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
          > average office building
          >
          > 30.2%
          >
          > Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
          > office building built to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 code
          >
          > 137%
          >
          > 1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Energy Data Book
          > 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.6
          > 2. U.S. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends:
          > 1975 Through 2006
          > 3. Assumes 124,000 Btu/gallon of gasoline, DOE Energy Information
          > Administration data
          > 4. Assumes 76.3% commute in single-occupancy vehicle, 11.2% carpool (2
          > per car) and no other energy use (commuting transportation modes from
          > U.S. DOT Transportation Energy Data Book 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.14.
          > 5. U.S. General Services Administration
          > 6. This includes site energy only, not source energy. U.S. DOE Energy
          > Information Administration Commercial Building Energy Consumption
          > Survey (CBECS) data for 2003, published June 2006.
          > 7. Bruce Hunn, ASHRAE, personal communication
          > Source: Environmental Building News, September 2007
          > “The green building community has expended tremendous effort to reduce
          > the operating energy use of buildings,” notes Wilson, “but very little
          > effort to reduce the transportation energy use of those buildings.” He
          > would like to see this change. “To achieve widely shared goals for
          > dealing with climate change,” says Wilson, “we simply can’t ignore the
          > energy consumption getting to and from our buildings.”
          >
          > Many of the strategies for reducing the transportation energy
          > intensity of buildings relate to location. The September EBN article,
          > “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of
          > Buildings,” reviews a wide range of strategies for reducing vehicle
          > use. Such strategies are often lumped under the heading “transit-
          > oriented development” and include increasing development density,
          > creating mixed-use development, providing various forms of public
          > transit, restricting parking, and creating more pedestrian-friendly
          > streetscapes. “Although progressive urban planners have been
          > advocating for such development features for years,” says Wilson, “the
          > building industry has only recently begun paying attention to these
          > issues.”
          >
          > In an editorial in the same issue of EBN, Wilson calls for changes to
          > the LEED Rating System to make the credits relating to location and
          > transportation performance-based, rather than prescriptive. “While the
          > prescriptive approach in LEED to site and transportation issues has
          > served an important role,” Wilson says in the editorial, “it’s time to
          > provide a more rigorous basis for these credits.”
          >
          > The full article on transportation energy intensity and the
          > accompanying editorial can be accessed at www.BuildingGreen.com. These
          > articles are part of BuildingGreen Suite, a leading online resource on
          > green building. While this is a paid-access site (with members paying
          > $199 per year) these articles are provided free as a sampling of
          > content. Environment Building News is the oldest and one of the most
          > respected sources of green building information in North America.
          > Celebrating its 15th year of publication in 2007, EBN has never
          > carried advertising and is supported entirely by subscription revenue.
          > For information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com, or call 800-861-0954
          > (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an
          > independent, socially responsible, 20-person company based in
          > Brattleboro, Vermont.
          >
          > Editors: BuildingGreen president Alex Wilson is available for
          > interviews on the issue of transportation energy intensity of
          > buildings. To arrange an interview, contact Jerelyn Wilson
          > (802-257-7300 ext. 102; Jerelyn@...).
          >
          >
          > =========================================================
          >
          > Christopher Miller
          > Montreal QC  Canada
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • kyle3054
          Christopher Miller wrote: comments are inevitably met with rejoinders like cars aren t going anywhere - get used to it , [KS] That s
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
            Christopher Miller <christophermiller@...> wrote:
            "comments are inevitably met with rejoinders like "cars aren't going
            anywhere - get used to it","

            [KS] That's a common argument for lots of things, that it's inevitable. But if it's inevitable then it doesn't need to be so vigorously defended :) Nobody vigorously defends a brick's fall to the ground if you let go of it, it just happens and anyone who doubts it is ignored, not attacked.

            [CM] "The assumption seems to be that we will all plug in our spanking new e-mobile at night"

            [KS] Many regions already have different rates for "peak" (during the day) and "off-peak" (basically, midnight to 6am) electricity use. And the idea of "smart meters" - electricity meters sitting inside your house so you can see immediately how much you're using and what it costs - is slowly spreading. So in principle you could encourage people to only recharge at night just with the lower price and the information right in their face about it.

            Of course if you had the same off/peak rate and only dumb meters then you'd get that problem, yes. But this just shows that anything by itself works badly, you need a combination of measures to make it work well.

            Incidentally, you could do it with regular power leads, nothing special required. A typical battery capacity for these cars is 8kWh, to recharge that in 8 hours draws as much current as your toaster. So you'd need a bit of insulation on your power cord to stop it getting too hot, but apart from that, easily done.

            [CM] "But at the same time, a full battery apparently only gives you about 100 miles (i.e. 160 km) of driving, which certainly put a crimp on long-distance driving unless an infrastructure is put in place"

            [KS] While this is a problem in marketing terms, it's not really a practical problem, because less than 1% of trips taken in cars are over 100km. For that small number you could take the train or rent a petrol-driven car.

            [CM] "I have yet to see anyone really explore all the implications of what battery-powered electric cars would mean for electric consumption and compare that with what can safely be sustained."

            I have. It's a fairly simple calculation. Overall we wouldn't have to build any more power plants - most operate at far under capacity most of the time, and well under at night when most of the recharging would take place (ideally).

            But their total output would have to increase. The average vehicle across the West travels about 14-15,000km annually. So the 160km range would take about 100 recharges (a bit more than just 14,500/160, since you won't drain the battery to zero). The 8kWh 100 times would thus be 800kWh annually.

            The average household in Australia or the US has a bit under two vehicles. So the drain would be 1,600kWh per household. Electricity consumption varies a bit between countries, but in Australia it's about 6,400kWh. So we're looking at a 25% increase in domestic power consumption.

            Looking at it nationally, Australian in 2008 produced some 244 billion kWh of electricity. We had 14.4 million vehicles. If all of them followed the scenario above, we'd be looking at,

            14.4 million x 800kWh = 11.5 billion kWh

            more electricity required. Given that our consumption of electricity already goes up by 2-4% annually - 5-10 billion kWh - this would be quite manageable for the grid as a whole. Not really an issue.

            In Australia it wouldn't help our greenhouse gas emissions at all, because the bulk of our electricity is generated from coal. An average car using petrol and an electric car whose electricity is got from coal generate roughly the same emissions.

            [CM] "What are the power requirements for private electric automobiles to carry a given proportion of the population compared to those of a fleet of electrically powered public transit vehicles to carry the same proportion?"

            Obviously the mass tranist requires much less energy. You can see this just from the typical ridership and weights of different vehicles in Australia,

            Car, 1.5 people / 1 tonne = 1.5/t
            Bus/tram, 25 people / 7.5t = 3.3/t
            Train, 125 people / 30t = 4.2/t

            Let alone the rates of a popular and well-run public transport system, which have about twice as many people as the figures above.

            In terms of energy use, the other issue is that if you want your energy source to be renewable, to make cars all run on it you need to change the power station and the cars; to make trains and trams run on it you only need to change the power station, since they're already electric. There are also far fewer trains/trams than cars, again because of how many people each typically carries. So it's cheaper and quicker to change trains/trams than cars.

            But as has been emphasised on this list and in the newsletters so often, whatever cars are powered with, cities with few or no cars are just more pleasant and safe to live in.

            Cheers,
            Kyle
            http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
          • Matt Hohmeister
            No surprise here, and this is something I ve noticed. In the USA, every time a new LEED-certified green building is built on the outer edge of the city
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 3, 2009
              No surprise here, and this is something I've noticed. In the USA, every time a new LEED-certified "green" building is built on the outer edge of the city limits, the mayor/city commission go into spasms at some ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the city's "commitment" to the environment. The owner of the building typically gets a wad of taxpayer money and free publicity on page 1A of the local newspaper.

              Of course, the mayor and city commission conveniently forgot to mention that the building was located where it is because no other land is available--thanks to the fact that it's probably illegal to subdivide large, low-density lots. Also, since the building owner was required by law to provide more parking spaces than they'll ever actually need, it was forced to a large, remote lot, since nobody wants to pay for the parking garage that would be required elsewhere.

              > "This was a huge surprise," says Environmental Building News (EBN)
              > executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. "I knew that
              > transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
              > at the differences." For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
              > data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
              > different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
              > per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
              > square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
              > energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
              > yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
              > buildings (see table below).
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