Non Use Value
Because people are part of the living environment and are separate from the abiotic part of the biosphere, frequently sustainable solutions not only have no cost but will have a multiplier effect.
For example, a decision to increase walking to reduce both pollution and other negative effects of traffic may result in increased heath among other tangible benefits. And because this decision is a live one multiplication to other benefits is probable.
Although retaining and renewing buildings is the best and most sustainable option, this also holds for all other infrastructure from streets to underground services and the urban forest.
In particular, since infrastructure is a key to revitalization and locating as much of the new apartments and mixed use close to existing commercial and old industrial areas which are no longer active but have high capacity services can reduce renewal costs dramatically. Bringing new homes into these areas also solves issues of adequate roads by ensuring the new residents have goods and services as well as employment to walk to.
Buildings make up from 30% to 40% of all energy and of that amount only 25% will be for non-residential construction.
Because of the inefficiency of single residential only 30% of the residential energy will be attributed to multi.
In doing energy retrofit the following priorities will produce the best results.
Single homes, because they have a large portion of the energy component for reduction are a priority and renovation is better than constructing new.
Multi although naturally energy efficient, frequently provides the best upgrade return because equipment and envelope components can upgrade a large number of homes at one time and owners are used to doing large upgrades with long range benefits.
Walking is unique among transportation options because it is considered free of requiring energy and is therefore non polluting as well.
Its primary feature therefore is that it also has no cost. It is because of these attributes that any low energy and cost reduction initiative must consider walking first.
Walking, however, is limited. Pedestrians will usually seldom consider a walk a routine activity if it takes more than 15 minutes or has a kilometre distance.
To maximize walking, communities must be more compact to optimize ease of access for obtaining goods and services including opportunities for employment.
Using Non-Use Value
The following example shows how socio-ecological systems solve problems.
A mature neighbourhood has had the children grow up and leave their homes. Only 1/3 of the homes now have children and the school is about to close.
Adding more houses to the community would add more families but adding 2/3 more homes to the community would destroy the mature trees and landscape, while demolishing most of the existing homes.
THE ALTERNATIVE OF BUILDING 2/3 MORE APARTMENT HOMES FOR SENIORS AND SINGLES IN THE NEIGHBOURING COMMERCIAL AREA WOULD KEEP THE EXISTING COMMUNITY HOMES UNTOUCHED.
Population Increases 200%
Meeting the need for apartment housing that was not provided when the community was first completed will bring the population back to its founding.
For example, a neighbourhood in 2011 has 1,200 housing units and a population of 2,800. The community is 1/3 families and 2/3 adults. The population is 1,400 for the families and 1,400 for the adults.
When all the existing housing is used for families there will be 4,200 people in 1,200 homes. In the new 800 homes which are built for adults there will be 1,400.
THE TOTAL POPULATION WILL BE 5,600, CLOSE TO ITS POPULATION OF 5,700 IN 1961.
Density should be measured by population not by buildings to give a true record of how space effective a community is.
For example, a neighbourhood can have a population of 5,673 in 1961 or 2,831 in 2011 with the same number of homes.
HOUSING POPULATIONS ARE AGGREGATED ACROSS THE CITY SO THAT APARTMENTS AND FAMILY HOMES SHARE OVERALL DENSITIES.