Modern communities could not exist without reliable supplies of energy. The utility industry, both public and private, has grown to satisfy this energy need. Sustainable communities that use energy efficiently benefit financially while conserving natural resources and environmental quality.
The 1991 Ahwahnee Principles — which form the basis for the Local Government Commission’s work on livable, sustainable communities — address energy in the following ways:
- All planning should be in the form of complete and integrated communities containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities essential to the daily life of residents.
- Community size should be designed so that housing, jobs, daily needs and other activities are within easy walking distance of each other.
- As many activities as possible should be located within easy walking distance of transit stops.
- Streets, pedestrian paths and bike paths should contribute to a system of fully-connected and interesting routes to all destinations. Their design should encourage pedestrian and bicycle use by being small and spatially defined by buildings, trees and lighting; and by discouraging high speed traffic.
- The community design should help conserve resources and minimize waste.
- Communities should provide for the efficient use of water through the use of natural drainage, drought tolerant landscaping and recycling.
- The street orientation, the placement of buildings and the use of shading should contribute to the energy efficiency of the community.
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