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noun: dynamic quality or the capacity of acting or being active

As we build, we expend energy to clear land, manufacture and ship materials, and build and operate buildings and infrastructure. How and where we build can influence the amount of energy we use – once during construction, and then throughout the lifetime of a building.

Designing communities for solar energy, connecting them with sidewalks and roads, and building next door rather than in the next county determine a lifetime's energy use.

How can we plan energy efficient communities?


12millions of tons of carbon monoxide emitted by Montgomery County in 2004 — more than Bolivia and Nicaragua combined
60percent of energy used in county homes based on fossil fuels
66percent of county residents who drive to work alone

ReThink Speaker

Mr. Schaal spoke about the outlook for future energy demand in the world and the United States. He pointed out that technology is helping us save energy; for example, the energy savings from more efficient appliances have helped keep US energy demand steady, even as we use more gadgets like cell phones and laptops. For planners seeking to redesign communities to be more energy efficient, however, he stressed that turning around infrastructure is a long process.
Speaker: A. Michael Schaal (Energy Information Administration). Watch. (05/27/2010)

Learn more about the speaker series.


Metropolis Magazine - What’s Next: Energy
new ideas in energy

Environmental Protection Agency - Green Building
the what, why and how of green building

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
innovations in renewable energy