The Carbon Efficient City chapters in a nutshell

  • Chapter 1 - Measure for Measure
    We are a long way from adopting a standardized approach to measuring carbon emissions that is a prerequisite to managing them. Correcting this problem is one of three fundamental requirements for achieving a carbon-efficient economy. Coordinated national standards have been implemented in many other areas of our economy and a similar effort with respect to CO2 emissions is both possible and urgently required.

  • Chapter 4 - Reduce
    The most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint is to find ways to reduce the amount of built space we use and make the usage patterns for the buildings we do require more energy-efficient. A focus on increasing the availability of attractive compact homes that reduce commute times would be a very important step in this direction. Increasing the transparency of operating costs for buildings (where energy is a dominant factor) would also go a long way to encouraging energy-conserving buildings and practices.

  • Chapter 6 - Great Neighborhoods
    Mixed-use neighborhoods tend to be self-contained and can thus foster the strong sense of identity and community that make them great places to live. They are also carbon-efficient because they reduce vehicle travel and, the denser they are, the more pronounced this effect. All levels of government should encourage the evolution of these types of neighborhoods both proactively and by removing existing policy and regulatory barriers. Environmental non-profits need to help the public understand that compact and appealing urban areas are critical to preserving green spaces and promoting carbon efficiency.

  • Chapter 9 - Regional Transportation
    Urban mobility requirements drive a significant component of our daily CO2 emissions. Meeting these requirements using high-occupancy vehicles or bicycles can reduce costs and carbon generation significantly. In most cities in the US, single-occupancy vehicles are the overwhelmingly dominant mode of transportation, primarily because over the past 100 years we have focused on providing roads for cars rather than broadly optimizing regional transportation solutions. We can meet urban mobility needs with lower carbon impact if all levels of government support managing all modes of transportation as a single system for regional mobility.