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Land Use for Energy Conservation and Sustainable Development: A New Path Toward Climate Change Mitigation

44 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2011 Last revised: 6 Jun 2012

John R. Nolon

Pace University School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Land use tools and techniques have impressive potential to reduce energy consumption, improve the economy, and mitigate climate change. This article explores the little understood influence of local land use decision-making on energy conservation and sustainable development and how it can mitigate climate change if properly assisted by the federal and state governments. The construction and use of buildings combined with extensive vehicular travel throughout the nation’s human settlements consume large amounts of energy, and much of that consumption is highly inefficient. By enforcing and enhancing energy codes, encouraging the use of combined heat and power and district energy systems, properly orienting and commissioning buildings, incorporating renewable energy resources, and promoting transit and other methods of reducing vehicle miles travelled, local land use law’s potential to achieve energy conservation and sustainable development can be unlocked. These techniques can be organized at the neighborhood level and aggregated by adopting local Energy Conservation Zoning Districts in neighborhoods where significant energy conservation can be achieved. The article proposes federal and state policies, combining features of both the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Enterprise Zone initiative, that can facilitate local land use initiatives that will shape human settlements and control the built environment as a new path toward energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.

Suggested Citation

Nolon, John R., Land Use for Energy Conservation and Sustainable Development: A New Path Toward Climate Change Mitigation (2012). Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 27, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1951905 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1951905

John R. Nolon (Contact Author)

Pace University School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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