Integrating the energy costs of urban transport and buildings

Bruno Osorio, Nick McCullen, Ian Walker, David Coley

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We cannot effectively reduce the carbon-related urban energy use without first having a good method for measuring it at an effective scale. Most prior research has usually considered the energy consumption of buildings and transport separately, but urban energy use is better understood when both uses of energy are considered together. This paper introduces a new energy use metric that combines the energy consumption of both buildings and transport. Estimates are calculated from readily available data and the simplicity of the methodology enables its replicability. This is attractive for policy-makers and planners by delivering them tools of more direct control of local-level policies. Using a LSOA geographic level and mapping the results produces helpful insights into energy consumption patterns and how the two uses of energy can be combined to support mitigation measures. When applying the methodology to a case study in the United Kingdom, maps produced show, amongst other things, how rural commuter belts are disproportionately energy-hungry when assessed per capita. Urban living is revealed as most energy efficient at this level. The integrated modelling approach demonstrated here improves the understanding of consumption patterns to enable better planning of strategies to reduce energy demand and its negative impact.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Energy consumption
  • Buildings
  • Transport
  • GIS
  • Urban spaces


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