What constitutes an energy-efficient community?

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What constitutes an energy-efficient community?

Postby Bipin Agarwal » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:06 pm

Incredible Colorado – We have a time of great crisis. Individual states are competing to sustain and improve their share of GDP, and population. At a time like this, political and business leaders have a great opportunity to provide a compelling story for businesses and people across America to stay in or move to Colorado and make it a destination state. Twenty Minute Lifestyle™, is that compelling vision. This vision supports the creation of communities where people can work, live, play, have access to all the amenities for quality life within the community, and cut down the wasted effort spent in commuting. Thank you President Obama to come to Colorado to sign the bill and recognize Colorado as an Energy economy state.

America is going through a transformation. Every transformation in the history has resulted into dislocation of economic activity. Colorado has gone through oil bust, mining bust, and telecommunication bust. These experiences along with focus on infrastructure and education have created an opportunity such that next twenty years belong to Colorado as far as economic development and quality of living is concerned.

Colorado is uniquely positioned to participate in Energy economy, tourism, and technology innovation. That happens to be the focus of Obama administration as well. Colorado has great landscape, educated workforce, beautiful mountains, and a diversified population. Colorado has diversified business activity from telecommunication, mining, tourism, defense and now a big force in alternative energy.

There have been several attempts to create a distinct local identity and community experience in Boulder, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Stapleton, and others. Most of these communities have been designed around a commute based lifestyle and lack the inclusiveness needed to create a fully vibrant, stable, and viable community. The lack of a strategic vision in planning shows up in very fundamental ways. The city of Boulder (no planned affordable housing for young families), Highlands Ranch (more of residential commute based community), Greenwood Village (only for upper middle class and rich). They all lacked strategic vision, planning and local government support to build an ecosystem and community that can withstand economic ups and downs and combine a earnings from and global economy with a fully integrated local spending economy.

A Twenty Minute Lifestyle community should comprehend that a vibrant community is created when a diverse community is created that can address the lifestyle requirements of young and old, single and married, rich, middle-class, and younger earners just starting out, and ensures that people will have ample outlets for spending their income in the local community. In order to support the income needs of this diverse, vibrant community the local government should attract big and small businesses which focus on the new economic paradigms of biotechnology, alternate energy as well as the tried and true staple businesses. Local government should ensure that retail areas are integrated into the communities (and not set up as strip malls) with access to pedestrians and cyclists, an ambience that encourages people to get out of their cars and walk and mingle with their neighbors, and creates foot traffic for retailers. In the end Americans will not give up their car based lifestyle unless the alternate is a more attractive and rich lifestyle.

Riverwalk development project near Fort Collins, a brainchild of STONERCO, and Turnkey developments is a perfect model project. This 900 acres development will provide an environment for companies to have a walk to work environment, affordable housing for families, access to education, retail, healthcare, and sustainable living with a focus on environment. Earlier attempts by Stapleton and Highlands Ranch while successful as real estate development are not in-line with the energy economy, and future reality of sustainability requirements, affordability, quality of living. Riverwalk will be the benchmark; defining how future real estate development (Twenty minute lifestyle micro-cities) will happen in Colorado, and across the world. Riverwalk will be the first model micro-city in Colorado.

Wish you all the best, Riverwalk, and Incredible Colorado!

If you have a question, about Global economy, Real Estate, and Politics correlation, feel free to ask.

Bipin Agarwal
Redhawk Investments Group.

Blog (RedByte):

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Bipin Agarwal
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: What constitutes an energy-efficient community?

Postby Probir Ghosh » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:07 pm

Bipin, thank you for letting us know about 20 minute lifestyle concept and Riverwalk project in Fort Collins, Colorado. As you know invVEST is totally focused on Sustainable Energy Initiatives and I know 20 minute lifestyle can significantly save energy and hence will fit under the energy cluster: Energy Efficiency and Conservation.

We have set a pragmatic goal of reducing our energy consumption per capita by 1% each year until we get to 12% by 2020. Pragmatic because, many countries in Europe are setting even more aggressive goals and our current differential of 54% more energy consumption per capita may actually increase by 2020 compared to European OECD countries. Given that USA consumed 29,500Billion kWh equivalent from all energy sources in 2008, (see Figure 1 & 3 in Strategy document) a 1% savings amounts to 295 Billion kWh. If we assume a cost of 10.02 cents/kWh it amounts to $30 Billion savings a year. Even if we assume energy cost will remain flat if we save 12% by 2020, the total savings for USA per year will be $360 Billion/year. We will need to quickly understand which are the top 100 programs our country needs to focus on to achieve that savings. We will also need to understand what we need to invest to achieve that savings. We will very likely find that there may be many programs where behavioral changes can cut our energy consumption. That may require education at schools and colleges and promotions to show it’s cool to save energy. We may also find we may have to invest in complex multi year programs like the smart grid like the Boulder City Project at a national scale.

If we want to make Colorado the showcase State, we cannot compete on absolute energy savings. California, Texas and other states with larger population will far outpace us. But we can strive to become the number one State in energy savings per Capita for the next 12 years. Given that Colorado’s population is 1.63% of US, our fair share of energy savings should be $488 Million per year in 2009 or $5.8 Billion per year by 2020. To be number one we may need to strive for $8 Billion in savings by 2020. Assuming our current population expands to 6 million from the current 5 million, that works out to $1,333 in savings per capita/year in Colorado.

Given that scenario, can you let us know how much energy savings Riverwalk community can achieve by 2020 and how many similar 20 minute life style communities you hope to have in Colorado by 2020? If it can be validated that it provides a significant portion of the $8 billion in savings Colorado should target for by 2020? If it provides a significant energy savings, besides all the other benefits it provides, it should be given a lot of support from the State Public and Private Sectors.
Probir Ghosh
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:13 pm

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