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Resources 2018, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7020024

Building Robust Housing Sector Policy Using the Ecological Footprint

1
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Discipline of Geography, Bldg SRR, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
2
Integrated Sustainability Analysis, School of Physics A28, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
3
School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Madsen Building (F09), Room 348, Eastern Avenue, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
4
Global Footprint Network, 312 Clay Street, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94607-3510, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Footprint Assessment for Resources Management)
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Abstract

The vulnerability of the urban residential sector is likely to increase without the mitigation of growing household Ecological Footprints (energy demand, CO2 emissions, and demand for land). Analysis comparing the effectiveness and robustness of policy to mitigate the size of the housing Ecological Footprint has been limited. Here, we investigate three mitigation options: (1) reducing housing floor area, (2) improving the building envelope efficiency, and (3) reducing the carbon intensity of the electricity sector. We model the urban residential Ecological Footprint for a sub-national case study in Australia but analyse the results in the global context. We find that all three mitigation options reduce the Ecological Footprint. The success of policy to reduce household energy demand and land requirements is somewhat dependent on uncertain trajectories of future global population, affluence, and technological progress (together, global uncertainty). Carbon emissions reductions, however, are robust to such global uncertainty. By reducing the Ecological Footprint of the urban residential housing sector we see a reduction in its vulnerability to future global uncertainty, global carbon price, urban sprawl, and future energy shortages. Over the long term, such policy implementation can also be highly cost effective. View Full-Text
Keywords: housing; ecological footprint; policy; operational energy housing; ecological footprint; policy; operational energy
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McBain, B.; Lenzen, M.; Albrecht, G.; Wackernagel, M. Building Robust Housing Sector Policy Using the Ecological Footprint. Resources 2018, 7, 24.

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