Urban Archetypes Project

average street with houses

From 2006 to 2008, CanmetENERGY developed energy consumption profiles of average households in thirty-one neighbourhoods within eight communities across Canada. The project explores how urban form (land use and infrastructure) influences vehicular transportation energy usage and household energy consumption.

Communities of different sizes and geographical regions were engaged so that a range of climates, energy sources, and energy efficiency issues could be represented. Neighbourhoods were selected based on characteristics such as housing type, age of the development, and for being of interest to the municipality in comparing energy consumption.

Data collected from each neighbourhood included land use and physical infrastructure data from the municipality and electricity, natural gas, and oil data from the utilities. Interviews with local residents were also conducted.

Average household energy consumption for lighting and appliances, heat, and hot water and associated annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and operating energy costs were calculated. Transportation analysis consisted of calculating average energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and costs associated with gasoline for personal vehicles. Regression analysis was conducted in order to understand which urban form variables influenced the number of vehicle kilometres travelled. Urban form indicators including density, mix of uses and distance to the central business district were identified as being related.

The analysed data, presented as community case studies, will be insightful for urban planners, municipalities, utilities or anyone seeking information on baseline energy end-use, greenhouse gas emissions and costs in different housing types and neighbourhoods. The case studies suggest that compact, mixed-use urban form reduces a community’s energy consumption profile.

For a sample of Urban Archetypes project results, please see the Canmet Energy Ottawa Publications page: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/offices-labs/canmet/publications/13607

Community case studies may be obtained upon request to the CanmetENERGY Business Office NRCan.canmetenergy_ottawa_business_office-canmetenergy_ottawa_business_office.RNCan@canada.ca