It doesn’t solve the problem to buy a hybrid and retrofit your house if all of that takes place 20 miles from your job
This vision sounds great, if not technically daunting. But it falls prey to a common assumption about how we’re going to address climate change: that we have to do it all with technology.
A significant – and seldom noticed – part of the solution lies with some fairly low-tech infrastructure: our houses, and the relationship they have to each other and where we want to go. A growing body of data has mapped the carbon footprint in sprawling suburbia of a single-family home, which is located nowhere near the grocery store, the job center or the shopping district. We can now compare that footprint to a multi-family home in a walkable urban neighborhood. And it turns out the gap between those two models may offer a serious – and perhaps more palatable – place to start thinking about the problem of climate change.