Impact of past and future residential housing development patterns on energy demand and related emissions


The continued outward growth from a central business district has been the dominant characteristic of most cities in Australia. However, this feature is seen as unsustainable and alternative scenarios to contain the outward growth are being proposed. Melbourne is currently grappling with this issue while simultaneously trying to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Housing size, style and its location are the three principal factors which determine the emissions from the residential sector. This paper describes a methodology to assess the combined impact of these factors on past and possible future forms of residential development in Melbourne. The analysis found that the location of the housing and its size are the dominant factors determining energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

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  1. 1.

    One square is equivalent to 100 square feet, i.e. 9.3 m2.

  2. 2.

    A brick veneer house has a timber frame clad externally with a non-structural brick wall.

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    AGO (1999) used a (national average) figure of 3.0 for electricity. The higher figure has been used to more accurately reflect Victorian electricity production.


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Correspondence to R. J. Fuller.

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Fuller, R.J., Crawford, R.H. Impact of past and future residential housing development patterns on energy demand and related emissions. J Hous and the Built Environ 26, 165–183 (2011).

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  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • House size
  • Style and location
  • Urban growth