1100 houses or 55 houses on 55 acres of land, where would you live?

Per my post yesterday which caused some discussion on TreeHugger; the LEED Compact Development point is for single family homes. No condos, no town homes.


Again, this is how you get points in Compact Development:

  • 4 Points from LEED if you build 20 houses on a 1-acre lot
  • 3 Points from LEED if you build 10 houses on a 1-acre lot
  • 2 Points from LEED if you build 7 houses on a 1-acre lot

Here’s my question for LEED. If their theory is Compact Development reduceds demand on resources, how can 550 single family homes use less resources than 55 single family homes on 1 acre of land.  (This is assuming the 10 houses per acre preference; it would be 1100 homes if they squeeze in 20 per acre in my current negihborhood of 55 one-acre home sites).


If you assumed the 550 homes had 2 people (that’s 1100 individuals) and the 55 homes had 4 people (that’s 220 people). That means that new neighborhood must sustain 880 more people. The intent of Compact Development is to conserve land, promote community livability, transportation efficiency and walkability.


All that is swell, but what about infrastructure? 880 more people are surely going to tax the water, sewage, energy, utilities, etc. And what about resources, wouldn’t this also mean more police, fire, schools and other community resources?


My last point to the problem with Compact Development is that it feels like it is counter intuitive to LEED’s rationale for home size adjustments. They penalize builders (or in my case homeowners) for having a larger home because “a larger home consumer more materials and energy over its lifecycle”. They provide data that says as a home size doubles, energy consumption increases by one-quarter and material consumption by one-half. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that 495 new homes as opposed to 55 new homes would be incredibly more taxing on the environment given the same land space?


KDL – Follow me on Twitter: newscaster


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