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Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published a projection in the journal Science of what it would take for California, by 2050, to reach the state’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels. Their vision would make any environmentalist swoon: They see workers locking the door to their net-zero homes, hopping in battery-powered cars, then heading to uber-efficient offices powered by solar panels.

In the methodical build-up to this world, first buildings, lighting and appliances become more energy efficient. Then the energy sector shifts wholesale to renewable and cleaner sources. Then vehicles and heaters that today run on fuel will become electrified.

This vision sounds great, if not technically daunting. But it falls prey to a common assumption about how we’re going to address climate change: that we have to do it all with technology.

A significant – and seldom noticed – part of the solution lies with some fairly low-tech infrastructure: our houses, and the relationship they have to each other and where we want to go. A growing body of data has mapped the carbon footprint in sprawling suburbia of a single-family home, which is located nowhere near the grocery store, the job center or the shopping district. We can now compare that footprint to a multi-family home in a walkable urban neighborhood. And it turns out the gap between those two models may offer a serious – and perhaps more palatable – place to start thinking about the problem of climate change. Those who seem to be concerned with their carbon footprint may try to renovate their family homes — thus bringing up the value and equity of their homes. Luckily it’s just a quick and free calculation to find out the new value of their home.

Read the entire article at the: Atlantic Cities

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet