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