Green Your Neighborhood

Green Your Neighborhood

Janel Laban
Jul 25, 2008

(Hello again to Rachel, one of the bloggers trying out for a spot on the editorial team. Check out her most recent post, a tour of Anne's Green Home in Evanston.)

Number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms, dishwasher, laundry, and… sidewalks? When creating your housing wish list, does living in a fuel-efficient neighborhood make the cut?

Recently Forbes compiled a list of "America's Most Fuel-Efficient Neighborhoods." Not surprisingly neighborhoods in all of the AT cities got a spot on the list. We live in Chicago, and our very own Logan Square made the list. Logan Square represents what is common for most Chicago neighborhoods: pedestrian and bicycle friendly, easy access to numerous public transportation options, and walkable distances to daily necessities. We can take the Metra to the suburbs, CTA trains downtown, and buses take us any direction. Within a ½ mile radius from our house are grocery stores, a farmers market, bars & restaurants, a gym and dry cleaners galore.

Transportation choices impact our climate. A common theme in the Forbes article is that the neighborhoods are located in the urban areas. According to Travel Matters, Chicago's downtown has higher emissions that it's surrounding suburbs and rural areas. But, when analyzing the emissions per household, the emissions in the city are lower. This is also typical for other cities that made the Forbes list such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Life without cars, more sidewalks, and more public transportation are things that describe our hope for a greener future for all neighborhoods. Changing your light bulbs and using non-toxic finishes is the start to greening your home, but where you live also shapes your eco footprint. People who live in fuel-efficient neighborhoods may be rewarded in many ways – less traffic, more money in their wallets, a sense of community and greener conscious.

Will fuel-efficiency affect your next apartment or house hunt?

For more information about living in a fuel-efficient neighborhood, check out these resources:
Center for Neighborhood Technology
LEED for Neighborhoods
Housing + Transportation Affordability Index
Location Efficient Mortgage

Photos: Logan Square: Rachel Wray, Traffic Light by Real Jim Bob, Chicago Map at Travel Matters


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