The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) estimates that energy used in buildings accounts for almost 27 per cent of all energy related greenhouse gas emissions. In moving towards more sustainable urban forms the ability to model how different kinds of urban development might perform in terms of energy (and water) use will be a significant tool in enhancing sustainability. This article looks at recent research into these issues.
The objective of this article is to enhance policy debates surrounding energy use in different forms of housing through a review of recent research into the issue. In particular, the article aims to add to debates surrounding current metropolitan planning strategies that promote particular sustainable urban development forms. Of course, this then leads to more broader policy debates about urban sustainability (which include water, transport, infrastructure and individual behaviours). This article migrates across the planning, housing and energy literature although it is aimed at the planning discipline, and particularly concentrates on Sydney. It starts with an overview of energy sources and uses in the urban environment and summarises the results of recent studies into energy use and the built form. Current planning strategies and initiatives aimed at reducing energy use in Sydney are then investigated. The article goes on to identify the kind of further investigations needed to improve the sustainability of urban development. Finally, the article discusses some of the policy implications of recent research.