Feb 2, 2012

Easy green stimulus

Sorry to keep banging on this particular patch of dirt, but this previous post is a textbook example of what Yglesias is talking about here:
The photo above is of a building under construction at 2400 14th Street NW here in the District. It's a pretty big multifamily dwelling and the energy cost of heating the units will, due to the efficiencies inherent in multi-family construction, be substantially less than one a single family detached structure would run you. It's also near a Metro line, near the city's most frequent bus service, and walkable to a wide variety of amenities on the 14th Street and U Street corridors. But like basically all DC real estate projects, it won't be built out to the profit-maximizing height because regulations prohibit the construction of tall buildings. This is precisely the same kind of "jobs" scenario as is at issue with Keystone XL—the private sector wants to finance more building trades employment, but government rules won't let it—except instead of a fossil fuel pipeline it's an energy efficient building. And these stories play out all across America.
Obviously my example (at right) is not quite as great as right in downtown DC, but the point still holds. Bigger buildings would mean more and longer construction jobs while getting a significant efficiency boost compared to all those single-family homes. Besides, if one is thinking only slightly more long term, the benefits are even more apparent. More density means more people means more businesses, jobs, and less need for cars. This vacant lot here could be the start of a walkable corridor centered around the metro station, but instead it's just a tiny patch of lame suburbs.

No comments:

Post a Comment