Editor’s note: This is the latest addition to our list of good sustainability calculators (See links Personal Responsibility on any of our sites.)
Healthy Growth Calculator
(Density saves resources & reduces pollution)
The Sierra Club's Building Healthy Communities Campaign announces its new Healthy Growth Calculator, which shows how density saves resources and reduces pollution -- http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/density/.
This calculator is intended of offer the big picture perspective to decisions regarding growth. It allows us to explore the consequences of growth decisions, and their fairness to all residents -- including those who can no longer drive, or those who would rather walk or take public transit for some trips. When neighbors come together to plan their community's future, this website can show them some of the benefits of Smart Growth to both their community and their environment.
The calculator is linked to photos of existing neighborhoods and projects, so the visitor can visualize the density. It calculates land occupied, pavement, water use, likely local shopping and transit service nearby, vehicles owned and parking spaces needed, annual mileage and gasoline consumption, auto costs and resulting auto pollution. I haven't included photos in this email, but some projects are beautiful. Check them out -- http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/density/.
We would also like to include the building materials used and heating and cooling energy needed, but lack sufficient data to make these analyses. If you have such data, please contact me.
We also need more great smart growth projects, especially outside California. If you have such, please send me a beautiful digital photo of it, its households/residential acre, ZIP code (used to place the project on the map), parking spaces, and sizes of the housing units (if a project rather than a neighborhood).
Why This Title -- Healthy Growth Calculator?
1. Convenient communities, where you can walk to a wealth of markets, restaurants, coffee shops, child care and services, give their residents more healthy physical exercise as a part of everyday living.
2. Reductions in pavement and sprawl retains more natural areas close to cities -- attracting locals to walk and enjoy nature.
3. Reducing driving and use of lawn chemicals reduces air and water pollution, increasing the health of natural areas and reducing global warming
4. Even the local economy is healthier when less money is sent abroad chasing cars, oil, metals and lumber. (Our calculator doesn't estimate construction or operating savings because we don't have sufficient data on residential construction materials and home energy consumption. If you do, please contact us.)
5. Forests and natural areas are healthier when construction material, heating and cooling energy and gasoline is used more efficiently, reducing oil, mineral and lumber extraction and pollution.
6. The local economy also benefits when we use our transit, roads, water, sewer, electrical and communications systems efficiently, rather than wasting tax dollars.
7. Our planet is healthier when global warming gas emissions are reduced.
For more contact:
John Holtzclaw, Senior Policy Advisor
Sierra Club Building Healthy Communities Campaign (stop Sprawl) Building Healthy Communities