The way cities and towns develop has a major influence on energy consumption. Sprawling cities have higher vehicle and energy use and per capita infrastructure costs compared to more compact cities.
District energy—local energy provision for a neighbourhood, campus or large buildings—is a key strategy for reducing GHG emissions resultant from energy production and use. It also creates energy security and is cost effective.
Transforming an inefficient, spread out city to a more efficient, sustainable, compact city is challenging and costly. Current land-use decisions influence whether or not district energy systems can be implemented in the future.