So the report from Brookings Institution is out. Now we know that Wash DC carbon footprint is pretty bad, ranking 89 out of 100 top cities! Come on. We can do better than that.
Here is why. Since DC region extends all the way to the exurbs (outside burbs) higher carbon emissions come from the burb. At the same time, think the carbon emissions per capita a little bit off balance because Brookings lumps DC region together not only DC-MD-VA but also a region that stretches all the way to West Virginia. (Nothing against WVA). However, when it comes to transportation use, don't think there is a metro transit system like what WMATA (metro) offers there.
Even though, we do have mass transit (metro) system in place that covers some part of the Washington region, since majority of people still live in the burbs use wheels around more than in those live in higher density areas (urban) and higher energy use (McMansions), the footprint truly leaves higher mark in the DC sphere. Because when you look at the ranking based on per capita carbon emissions and residential energy use in 2005, DC carbon footprint at 3.12 metric tons - is worse than Baltimore-Townson (#69) and Newport News-VA Beach (#34).
The weight for carbon emissions: transportation and energy use. More use of these two cause higher carbon footprint and vice versa.
image: Brookings (emphasis added)
The top 10 cleanest cities: Honolulu, HI (1.36), LA-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (1.41), Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA, (1.45), NY-NJ (1.5), Boise,ID (1.51), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (1.56), WA, San Jose-Sunny Vale-Santa Clara, CA (.57), SF-Oakland-Freemont, CA (1.57), El Paso, TX (1.61), and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA (1.63). [Note: In bracket shows per capita carbon footprints in metric tons.]
The worst emitters among metro cities are Indianapolis, IN and Lexington, KY.
Other findings include:
- Large metro areas offer greater energy and carbon efficiency than nonmetropolitan areas (rural?)
- Carbon emissions increased more slowly in metro areas than the rest of the country in 2000 and 2005.
- Per capita emissions vary substantially by metro area. Interestingly there seems to be a Mississippi divide - cities in west of MS river has lower carbon emissions per capita - than cities east of the MS river.
- Development pattern (urban sprawl, smart growth) and rail transit play an important role in determining carbon emissions.
- Other factors, weather, the type of fuel to generate electricity (fossil-fuel vs. renewable energy), and electricity prices.
What applicable to the housing market is one of their 'targeted' recommendations which requires home energy disclosure for the purpose of selling and 'on bill' financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting. 'On bill' financing according to Brookings, allows the homeowners to pay upfront costs of efficiency improvements in their monthly bills from the savings generated by investments.