Green Renters: Curious About Your Commute?

One of our Ten Best Green Property Management Tools just got better!  Walk Score has partnered with CNT’s Housing and Transportation Affordability Index to offer residents more comprehensive data on the effects of their housing choices.  In addition, their new “Commute” tab provides distances, travel times and maps for different modes of transportation.

Housing and travel costs are estimates and renters or property managers should input the appropriate data in order to calculate actual costs.  Obviously commuting by car on a daily basis is more expensive (when one considers the total cost of car ownership including payments, insurance, maintenance and gas) than hopping on the bus or riding a bike.

Remember there is no substitute for experience, so walk around the neighborhood and peak into the shops, restaurants and other services you’re likely to use.  Being able to shop locally AND shopping locally are integral aspects of sustainable living. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics by Civic Economics, for every $100 spent at a national chain only $43 goes back into the local economy; whereas locally owned and operated stores return about $68 to the community.  Local shops tend to do business locally with most, if not all job creation occurring within the community or its surrounding environs.  A national chain’s priority will be efficiency, which means certain jobs such as accounting or marketing will be centralized at a national headquarters.  Green property managers can assist renters and themselves by forming partnerships with area businesses to offer services at a discount to area residents.

Finally, when choosing where to move, consider the externalized or hidden costs of your transportation choices which include, among other things, air and water pollution.  In a fascinating article on the transportation energy intensity of buildings, Alex Wilson and Rachel Navaro examine the cost of transportation choices in terms of Btus.  Since much of our energy consumption comes in the form of burning fossil fuels that release carbon into our atmosphere, using less energy will mean less carbon released into the atmosphere.  This factor, energy intensity of transportation choices, is probably the single most important factor to consider when deciding where to live and work.  Although Wilson and Navaro focused on the energy consumption of office buildings, it seems clear that driving to work, alone in a car can ‘exceed the energy savings’ of the greenest homes or apartments.

Basically it boils down to buying local and taking public transportation whenever a commute is involved.  Imagine the land that would be available for parks and recreation if more people used public transportation.  Parking lots that currently contribute to storm water problems and increased temperatures in cities through the heat island effects, could be transformed.

Other Articles of Interest:

How to Search for A Green Rental

EPA Parking Reduction 101

Parking as Income

Public Transport or Bust

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