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The environmental effect of car-free housing: A case in Vienna


  • Ornetzeder, Michael
  • Hertwich, Edgar G.
  • Hubacek, Klaus
  • Korytarova, Katarina
  • Haas, Willi


A case-control study of the car-free model housing project in Vienna was conducted to evaluate whether people living in this settlement have more 'sustainable lifestyles' than people living in comparable buildings in Vienna. Another aim was to identify the lifestyle characteristics and household activities which significantly influence the environmental impact of the residents of the car-free housing project and a control group. The control group, referred to as the reference settlement, was chosen from a nearby building complex, with similar characteristics, but without the car-free feature. Household consumption patterns were estimated based on interviews in combination with data from the Austrian consumer expenditure survey and the national accounts. The evaluation of household environmental impacts uses emissions estimates from the Austrian national accounting matrices including environmental accounts and data from life-cycle assessments. Households from the car-free settlement have substantially lower environmental impacts in the categories of ground transportation and energy use; their CO2 emissions of these two categories are less than 50% of those living in the reference settlement. The households in the car-free settlement have somewhat higher emissions in the categories air transport, nutrition, and 'other' consumption, reflecting the higher income per-capita. As a result, the CO2 emissions are only slightly lower than in the reference settlement, but the emissions intensity is 20% lower. Both household groups have significantly lower environmental impacts than the Austrian average reflecting less car use and cleaner heating energy in Vienna.

Suggested Citation

  • Ornetzeder, Michael & Hertwich, Edgar G. & Hubacek, Klaus & Korytarova, Katarina & Haas, Willi, 2008. "The environmental effect of car-free housing: A case in Vienna," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 516-530, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:3:p:516-530

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    1. Liu, Jingru & Sun, Xin & Lu, Bin & Zhang, Yunkun & Sun, Rui, 2016. "The life cycle rebound effect of air-conditioner consumption in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1026-1032.
    2. repec:eee:transa:v:101:y:2017:i:c:p:133-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Keirstead, James & Jennings, Mark & Sivakumar, Aruna, 2012. "A review of urban energy system models: Approaches, challenges and opportunities," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 3847-3866.
    4. Wächter, Petra, 2013. "Aspekte einer nachhaltigen Energiezukunft (ITA-manu:script 13-03)," ITA manu:scripts 13_03, Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA).
    5. Firnkorn, Jörg & Müller, Martin, 2011. "What will be the environmental effects of new free-floating car-sharing systems? The case of car2go in Ulm," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1519-1528, June.
    6. Julian Hine & Md. Kamruzzaman & Neale Blair, 2012. "Weekly activity-travel behaviour in rural Northern Ireland: differences by context and socio-demographic," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 175-195, January.
    7. Petra Wächter & Michael Ornetzeder & Harald Rohracher & Anna Schreuer & Markus Knoflacher, 2012. "Towards a Sustainable Spatial Organization of the Energy System: Backcasting Experiences from Austria," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-17, February.
    8. Heiskanen, Eva & Johnson, Mikael & Robinson, Simon & Vadovics, Edina & Saastamoinen, Mika, 2010. "Low-carbon communities as a context for individual behavioural change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7586-7595, December.
    9. Girod, Bastien & de Haan, Peter, 2009. "GHG reduction potential of changes in consumption patterns and higher quality levels: Evidence from Swiss household consumption survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5650-5661, December.
    10. Marta Suárez-Varela & Jorge Guardiola & Francisco González-Gómez, 2016. "Do Pro-environmental Behaviors and Awareness Contribute to Improve Subjective Well-being?," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(2), pages 429-444, June.
    11. Huhtala, Anni, 2010. "Income effects and the inconvenience of private provision of public goods for bads: The case of recycling in Finland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1675-1681, June.
    12. Murray, Cameron K, 2011. "Income dependent direct and indirect rebound effects from ’green’ consumption choices in Australia," MPRA Paper 34973, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Girod, Bastien & van Vuuren, Detlef P. & de Vries, Bert, 2013. "Influence of travel behavior on global CO2 emissions," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 183-197.
    14. Manfred Lenzen & Robert A. Cummins, 2013. "Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, May.

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