Where you live – whether in a city center or out in the suburbs – can have a huge impact on the size of your carbon footprint, according to a new study out of UC Berkeley.
A family that lives in the city has about a 50% smaller carbon footprint than a similar-sized suburban family, researchers found. The study looked at household income, vehicle ownership, home size, population density, weather and other data to estimate how various areas throughout the United States contribute to greenhouse gas emissions at the household level.
“The affluent suburbanites that commute long distances more than make up for the low-transportation footprint of urban dwellers,” said UC Berkeley Researcher Daniel Kammen. The researchers produced interactive maps on greenhouse gas emissions in different ZIP Codes across the country to measure carbon footprints. The study was published in the December 2013 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.
“You can see the green urban cores and the carbon shadows of the suburbs,” Kammen said.