Land Use Planning

Key Principles


Civic Participation


Success Stories

Codes / Ordinances

Articles / Publications

Educational Materials

Other Resources






Note: The entire PLACE3S document is available here in PDF format for downloading. It is 158 pages long, and 2.7 MB in size. 

pdfmid.gifAcrobat Reader, available free from Adobe, is needed to read PDF files. 

execsumm.gifPLACE3S is an urban planning method designed to help communities discern an effective path toward sustainability. It is unique because it employs energy as a yardstick to measure the sustainability of urban design and growth management plans. Using a Btu-based accounting system, PLACE3S can evaluate how efficiently we use our land, provide housing and jobs, move people and materials, operate buildings and public infrastructures, site energy facilities and use other resources. PLACE3S integrates public participation, planning, design, and quantitative measurement into a five step process appropriate for regional and neighborhood-scale assessments. This summary discusses why and how to use the PLACE3S method. A complete version of the guidebook in PDF format can be downloaded above. Hard copy versions can also be requested from the U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse at 1-800-363-3732. 

The Integrated Values of Improved Energy Efficiency 
Measuring Energy 
Data and Computer Needs 
Keeping Perspective 


"The case for including an energy dimension in the urban development process is compelling. Not only is energy a crucial resource, but it is associated with serious environmental effects at all scales."  
Susan Owens, Cambridge University
American cities and towns account for over 80 percent of national energy use. Land use planning and urban design affect about 70 percent of that, or 56 percent of the national total. For example, the density, mix, and arrangement of land-uses in a community heavily influence the amount and mode of travel and, therefore, transportation energy use. These same urban characteristics also affect the amount of energy needed to heat and cool buildings and to build and operate community infrastructure. 

The premise of PLACE3S is that communities, by the planning and design choices they make, effect the efficiency of energy production, distribution and use. By being aware of the energy consequences of their choices, communities can improve their economies, environments, and quality of life. These wide spread benefits are due to the integral nature of energy in communities, where efficiency gains in one sector lead to related improvements in other sectors. 

The objective of PLACE3S is to identify and describe potential efficiency gains for community planning participants. It then helps them to balance community needs and select the best combination of efficiency strategies for their local circumstances. The PLACE3S method does this by comparing energy use under existing conditions (how efficient the community is today) with future conditions under a range of planning alternatives (how much more or less efficient the community could become). 

The three main components to the PLACE3S approach are: 

  • Public participation: Create and maintain a fully engaged, comprehensive group of stakeholders interested in sustainability and collaborative planning. 
  • Planning and design: Develop and use clear planning and design principles that embody the community's values and vision of greater efficiency and sustainability. 
  • Measurement: Produce quantitative documentation of the energy, economic, and environmental effects of a plan and its alternatives to support informed planning choices and to monitor the plan as it is implemented. 
Many types of stakeholders can use PLACE3S. For example: 
  • Citizens evaluating whether a proposed development will protect the environment and promote efficient resource use. 
  • Neighborhood associations working with their local government to develop a community plan that meets their objectives. 
  • Developers and consultants designing projects to meet local government standards for minimizing automobile travel and promoting density in urban areas. 
  • Developers and consultants quantifying the energy cost savings per household as a marketing tool for promoting their project. 
  • Local government staff and decision-making bodies evaluating development applications to ensure they meet efficiency and sustainability standards. 
  • Councils of governments preparing growth management plans to conserve farm land and open space, support transit and reduce air pollution. 
  • Transportation agencies promoting land-use patterns that encourage transit use, bicycling, walking, and other alternatives to driving. 
  • Energy utilities trying to match existing transmission and distribution capacity with community growth to reduce the need for addi- tional facilities and to promote the use of local supplies. 
  • Military bases facing expansion, redevelopment or reuse. 

Quotes from PLACE3S Users 

"PLACE3S has been an invaluable tool for making the benefits of coordinated land use and transportation planning strategies come alive to local officials and citizens throughout the region. It has also been very helpful in furthering the implementation of these components of the Regional Growth Management Strategy." 
- Steve Sachs, Senior Planner, San Diego Association of Governments
"PLACE3S will be used to analyze the environmental and economic effects of implementing NAFTA on the environment and economy of the San Diego region. The net effect of having an established, geographically-related energy data base is that the San Diego region will have a more complete view of the long-term effects of international development proposals and, thus, be in a better negotiating position. Also, the PLACE3S data base will be a useful research tool for determining when and where to add new energy technologies to most efficiently service the growing boarder economy." 
- Dr. Alan Sweedler, Director, Center for Energy Studies, San Diego State University
"PLACE3S enables cities, counties and private developers to create cost-effective plans and development projects that meet vehicle-related air pollution emissions reductions goals. It allows different designs and plans to be compared to determine how well they will encourage the use of non-automobile methods of travel. This capability could have a substantial air quality benefit for many years to come by reducing the air pollution levels traditionally associated with growth." 
- Anne Geraghty, Director and Terry Parker, Office of Air Quality and Transportation Planning, California Air Resources Board

The Integrated Values of Improved Energy Efficiency

Because of energy's pervasive influence in a community, creating a comprehensive plan for the efficient use of electricity, natural gas, gasoline, and other fuels is a good strategy for simultaneously accomplishing other community goals, including: 
  • Affordable housing. Lower home energy and gasoline bills can improve eligibility for home financing or renting. 
  • Less traffic congestion and better mobility. Easy and safe access to transit and mixing land uses reduces auto use, traffic congestion and gasoline consumption. 
  • Improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer automobile trips and more efficient houses and businesses result in significantly lower air pollutant and greenhouse gas emis- sions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2). 
  • Reduced cost to provide public services. Compact development reduces the length of water, sewer, natural gas, and electric lines saving construction, operation and maintenance dollars. 
  • Open space and agricultural land preservation. Efficient development of compact regions and cities reduces sprawl. 
  • Increased personal and business income. Energy savings become disposable income for individuals and working capital for busi- nesses. 
  • Job retention and creation. Reduced commercial and industrial energy costs and reinvestment of savings can help to protect existing jobs and may create new jobs. 
Figure S-1 shows the PLACE3S projects to date. These range from regional studies that found efficiency improvements of 12 percent over business-as-usual conditions to neighborhood projects that would save 50 percent by adding density and mixing uses. 


There are five basic steps to applying the PLACE3S method. The steps are general enough to fit most local circumstances, but fine tuning will be needed. In fact, flexibility is one of the attributes of the PLACE3S method. The steps are: 

Step 1: Start-up 
Establish the geographic scope of the PLACE3S project and its relationship to other planning projects affecting the study area. Begin stakeholder participation, including formulating criteria for evaluating planning alternatives. Collect data to document existing conditions. Use PLACE3S to measure the energy use, cost and air pollutant and CO2 emissions of existing conditions. 

Step 2: Establish Business-As-Usual Forecast 
Forecast what your community will be like at the end of your planning horizon. Assume current policies and market trends remain in force, largely unchanged throughout the planning period. Measure the energy use, cost and air pollutant and CO2 emissions of the forecast business-as-usual conditions. The PLACE3S data describing existing conditions (Step 1) and forecast business-as-usual conditions form the baseline against which all planning alternatives are compared. 

Step 3: Analyze Alternatives 
Develop and evaluate alternatives that improve upon business-as-usual conditions. These alternatives will address major planning issues such as new transportation programs and redirecting growth. Figure S-2 provides a menu of opportunities that the PLACE3S method uses to enhance energy efficiency. Construct an Advanced Alternative that incorporates as many items from Figure S-2 as possible. The energy measurement of the Advanced Alternative should be the practical upper limit to efficiency in a community. Compare energy use, costs and air pollutant and CO2 emissions of the alternatives and the baseline against each other. Consider trade-offs that can be made to capture as many energy efficiency, cost and environmental benefits as possible. A diagram of this process appears as Figure S-3. 

Step 4: Create Preferred Plan 
Create the Preferred Plan. Select the strongest alternative or construct a hybrid from the alternatives assessed in Step 3. Use the public process to construct the Preferred Plan to achieve the best balance of energy efficiency and other community values. Document the expected level of energy efficiency, cost savings, and air quality and CO2 emission improvements for use in Step 5. 

Step 5: Adopt, Implement, Monitor, and Revise 
Adopt the Preferred Plan. Use the energy, cost, and air pollutant and CO2 emission data to track implementation and measure how well the plan is achieving its goals. Evaluate short-range development proposals and plans against the longer-term goals of the plan to ensure that incremental efficiency improvements are occurring and that the actions are not detracting from long-term goals. 

Light-colored surfacing  
Vegetative cooling 
Wind buffering/channeling 
Evaporative cooling 

Use density 
Use mix 
Activity concentration 
Site Design
Solar orientation 
Pedestrian orientation 
Transit orientation 
Micro climatic building/              siting
Integrated, mulimodal street              network
High-occupancy vehicles 
Pavement minimization 
Parking minimization/siting 
Infrastructure Efficiency
Water supply and use 
Wastewater collection 
Storm drainage 
Street lighting 
Traffic signalization 
Recycling facilities 
On-Site Energy Resources
Surface water 
District heating /cooling 
Thermal storage 
Fuel cell power 



Measuring Energy

The energy sectors that PLACE3S measures include: 
  • Transportation.

  • How much gasoline, diesel, and alternative fuels do cars, trucks, and transit vehicles use? Transportation energy usually accounts for 40 to 50 percent of total energy use annually. 
  • Residential/Commercial/Industrial.

  • How much electricity, natural gas, and other fuels are needed to heat, cool, light and run building appliances and equipment? PLACE3S also tabulates the energy embodied in the manufacturing and transport of construction materials. The residential sector is normally 20 to 30 percent of total community energy use. Commercial and industrial sectors often account for 20 to 25 percent. 
  • Infrastructure.

  • How much electricity do streets lights, traffic signals, and water and sewer systems use? PLACE3S also measures energy embodied in the construction of streets and utility systems. Community infrastructure normally amounts to 5 to 10 percent of total community energy use. 
  • Energy production. How much energy do local renewable energy resources (e.g., solar, wind, and geothermal) produce and how much comes from high efficiency technologies (e.g., cogeneration and district heating/cooling)? These types of production can make communities more self-sufficient and can extend the life and efficiency of electric and natural gas distribution grids. 

PLACE3S calculations rely on a community's own data to answer two key questions. 

  • How energy efficient is the neighborhood or region today? 
  • How much more or less energy efficient will it become in the future? 
The answers determine whether a community action is moving it toward or away from sustainability. The data and maps PLACE3S produces clarify the trade-offs a community must make by providing a common yardstick for measuring and understanding how well a plan and its alternatives will meet a complex set of goals. For example, PLACE3S can determine the percent of households and employees within one quarter mile of a bus stop for each of several development alternatives. PLACE3S then determines the energy, cost and air pollutant and CO2 emissions associated with each plan. The outcome of using the PLACE3S method is a more thorough integration of community goals, economic efficiency and environmental improvements. 
Energy Data Sources
Annual Energy Outlook with Projections 
Existing conditions and 20-year forecasts of energy supplies and demands by fuel type and end-use.  

Household Energy Consumption and Expenditures. 
Survey of consumption and expenditure patterns for all residential energy use, except household transportation.  

Household Vehicles Energy Consumption. 
This is a companion residential survey devoted to household transportation, including vehicle types, miles traveled, and fuel efficiency.  

Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption and Expenditures. 
Survey of commercial building energy consumption by building type, energy end-use, and fuel type nationally.  

National Personal Transportation Survey.  
Comprehensive survey of all forms of personal travel, including non-motorized and transit modes.  

Transportation Energy Data Book. 
Detailed national breakdown of energy consumption, costs, and air pollutant emissions for all motorized travel modes.  

These are national databases with breakdowns by multi-state regions. The USDOE periodically updates and distributes them, except the National Personal Transportation Survey, which the USDOT issues.  


Data and Computer Needs

PLACE3S can be data-intensive. The method's reliance on energy measurements means that large communities or regions must use computers to assemble and interpret data, especially when evaluating multiple planning alternatives. In small community or neighborhood settings, however, a modest amount of data and hand calculations may support a PLACE3S study. Either way, the objective of PLACE3S is not elaborate "number crunching" for its own sake, but rather the reasonable use of data to better inform decision-makers of the implications of their choices. Local priorities and resources will determine how many data are enough and how best to make computations. 

Many data needed for PLACE3S will already be available from other planning processes. Local data bases usually document the number, size, and location of dwelling units, for example. The PLACE3S method applies a set of coefficients to those existing data and estimates the energy needs of dwelling units and the attendant air pollution and CO2 emissions. PLACE3S estimates energy used by businesses, transportation and infrastructure, which local data bases also normally document, in a similar manner. The method is flexible enough that users can adapt it to the data they have available. 

"A key role for planners in the development of integrated policy is to make the complexity of the interactions intelligible to decision makers and their constituants so that decisions are better informed." 
Terry Moore and Paul Thorsnes, 
The Transportation Land/Use Connection 

Figure S-4 shows the information needed for the PLACE3S approach as layers in a geographic information system (GIS), emphasizing the relationship between urban geography and energy efficiency. Using a GIS will streamline a PLACE3S study and produce maps that effectively communicate results to the public and decision-makers. GIS can be coordinated with the computer-aided design (CAD) work of land developers and engineers, who often prepare relevant materials. In fact, one way to promote stakeholder collaboration in a PLACE3S project is to establish the joint use of common computer data files and equipment. 

In projects in which computer help is appropriate, hardware and software requirements are not extensive. If a community or region operates a GIS, it possesses a system it can adapt to make PLACE3S calculations. In locations without a GIS, a personal computer and spreadsheet software can tabulate data, which are then transferred to drawings. A CAD system can also automate this approach. 

Software has been developed specifically for PLACES assessements. This software, called INDEX (tm);, is available from Criterion Inc in Portland, Oregon for site or program-specific applications only. Its use requires ArcView (trademark symbol) from ESRI Inc., and a 486 PC (or Mac) with 16 MB of RAM. Operation may require up to 100 MB of hard drive space depending on the study size. INDEX is not plug and play software. Aside from desired customizations, its database must be populated before operation. Contact Eliot Allen, Principal, Criterion Inc for details about INDEX. eliot@rain.com or 503-224-8606

Keeping Perspective

PLACE3S does not produce an optimum plan that is necessarily the most efficient for a community. Instead, it uses a relatively simple, consistent quantitative approach to illustrate order-of-magnitude differences between planning alternatives. With PLACE3S, for example, measuring a region's greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms is not as important as discovering that an alternative land use plan could cut those emissions significantly. 

Physical change in cities occurs gradually. Investments in auto-oriented infrastructure will exert enormous influence on cities for decades to come, reducing the benefits of improved land-use planning to potentially small increases in efficiency. However, slow realization of benefits is not a reason for inaction. As Figure S-5 shows, the gradual nature of change is a reason to begin, not delay, taking actions toward a sustainable future. 


The Gradual Nature of Efficiency Improvements

Existing Development 
Per Capita/Year 
  • 175 MMBtu energy use 
  • $2,100 energy cost 
  • 22 tons CO2 Per Capita/Year 
After 5 Years

Per Capita/Year 

  • 150 MMBtu energy use 
  • $1,800 energy cost 
  • 19 tons CO2 
After 10 Years

Per Capita/Year 

  • 125 MMBtu energy use 
  • $1,500 energy cost 
  • 16 tons CO2Per Capita/Year 
Adapted from Lane Council of Governments, 1995. 



"A community that does not scrutinize every significant proposal for new growth is gambling its future as surely as would a trip to Las Vegas with the municipal treasury. We can no longer heedlessly assume that any expansion will strengthen the community's economy."
Michael Kinsely & Hunter Lovins,
Paying for Growth, Prospering From Development 



Figure S-6 shows a simple application of the PLACE3S method. This example is a fictional 100-acre "greenfield" parcel. Three alternative scenarios vary the density and land-use mix to produce considerably different results. Each plan has different implications for community sustainability. 
a simple PLACE3S application 

1. BUSINESS-AS-USUAL: Developer proposes to build on a 100-acre parcel at four units to the acre. The PLACE3S profile reveals the following: 

Total Acreage: 100 acres
Open Space: 0 acres
Gross Developable Area: 100 acres
Net Developable Area: 87 acres
Net Density: 4.0 du/acre
Dwelling Units:
Single-Family: 268
Multi-Family: 80
Commercial Square Footage:
Retail: 65,000
Office: 0
  • Total development requirement: 100 acres 
  • 0 acres reserved locally 
  • 348 homeseekers served 
  • Transit feasibility: Poor, only 47% of residents are within walking distance of transit 
  • Local Street Connectivity: Poor, few streets provide direct access to transit 
  • 175 MMBtu/person/yr 
  • $2100/person/yr 
  • 22 tons CO2 /person/yr 

Office:2. ADVANCED ALTERNATIVE: Double housing to meet projected need and double density to conserve resources, lower prices and preserve the environment. The PLACE3S profile reveals the following: 

Total Acreage: 100 acres
Open Space: 18 acres
Gross Developable Area: 82 acres
Right of Way: 5 acres
Net Developable Area: 77 acres
Net Density: 10 du/acre
Dwelling Units:
Single-Family: 470
Multi-Family: 300
Commercial Square Footage: 
Retail: 35,000
Office: 20,000
  • Total development requirement: 82 acres 
  • 18 acres reserved locally 
  • 770 homeseekers served 
  • Transit feasibility: Good, 95% of residents are within walking distance of transit 
  • Verticle mixed uses in Activity Center. 
  • Local Street Connectivity: Excellent, streets provide direct access to - transit, shopping and employment 
  • Pavement minimization: skinny streets. 
  • 125 MMBtu/person/yr 
  • $1500/person/yr 
  • 16 tons CO2 /person/yr 

3. PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE: Locality responds by proposing fewer multi-family homes and less open space but still more than Business-As-usual. The PLACE3S profile reveals the following: 

Total Acreage: 100 acres
Open Space: 15 acres
Gross Developable Area: 85 acres
Right of Way: 7 acres
Net Developable Area: 78 acres
Net Density: 5.0 du/acre
Dwelling Units:
Single-Family: 302
Multi-Family: 150
Commercial Square Footage: 
Retail: 45,000
Office: 5,000
Adapted from Burchell, 1988. 
  • Total development requirement: 85 acres 
  • 15 acres reserved locally 
  • 452 homeseekers served 
  • Transit feasibility: Poor, density is not transit supportive. 
  • Horizontal mixed uses in Activity Center 
  • Local Street Connectivity: Good, most streets provide direct access to ransit and shopping 
  • 140 MMBtu/person/yr; 
  • $1900/person/yr 
  • 19 tons CO2 /person/yr 


"From an ecological planning perspective, the amount of growth is less important than the pattern of growth in determining the level of environmental impact and the efficiency of resource use." 
Mark Roseland, Ecological Planning for Sustainable Communities 
The objective of using PLACE3S for regional assessments is to identify the region's efficient locations and to ensure that land-use, transportation and infrastructure plans capture the efficiencies that are inherent in those locations. In general, a regional application of PLACE3S will: 
  • Establish quantified benchmarks of how energy-efficient the region is and how efficient it will likely be in the future under various planning alternatives. 
  • Identify areas where land-use changes can improve efficiencies. 
  • Estimate and contrast the economic development value of efficiency for current and alternative development conditions. 
  • Estimate air pollution and CO2 emissions for each regional planning alternative. 
In this way, stakeholders in a regional planning project can use PLACE3S to understand better the economic and environmental effect of a regional plan. PLACE3S estimates the energy efficiency of a region in the following ways: 
  • The total amount of energy currently used (along with its costs and pollutants). 
  • The efficiency of current energy use (expressed on a per capita basis). 
  • The incremental amount of energy needed to support future growth (based on integrated projections of population, land-use and travel demands). 
  • The increase or decrease in efficiency of future energy use based on land-use and transportation plans (using projected per capita energy use and a rating of consistency between efficiency characteristics, such as distance to transit and services, and land-use designation). 

"The dual costs of (1) providing new infrastructure for those who are moving outward, and (2) maintaining the old infrastructure for the population and economic entities that are left behind, cause taxes and development costs to rise throughout the metropolitan area, thus causing a regional rise in the costs either to do business or to reside in the area. 
Robert W. Burchell & David Listokin, Land, Infrastructure, Housing Costs And Fiscal Impacts Associated With Growth 

At the regional level PLACE3S calculates energy data by assessing the characteristics of subareas. It creates data and maps for Business-As-Usual and alternative plans for both a baseline year and a planning horizon year. Figure S-7 diagrams the PLACE3S regional analysis method. The regional calculations occur as part of steps 1 through 3 of the PLACE3S planning process discussed on page 3. 

1. Characterization of regional subareas. Assign each regional subarea (often a traffic analysis zone) current and projected values for land-use (types, acreages), housing (types, acreages), employment (types, floor space quantities), transportation demands (all trips/modes), and urban services (presence and capacity of water, wastewater, electricity, and natural gas). 

2. Regional energy tabulation. Using energy end-use coefficients, PLACE3S tabulates each subarea's energy use, costs, and pollutant and CO2 emissions for building, transportation, and infrastructure end-uses. Figure S-8 demonstrates the coefficient development process for a single family home. These numbers are then multiplied by the number of single family homes in a subarea. 

3. Subarea location rating. PLACE3S rates each subarea according to how close it is to key regional features such as transit service, major employment centers, urban amenities, and infrastructure. This measurement of proximity reflects the energy needed for travel, and for infrastructure extension and operation. It also rates each subarea according to infrastructure capacity and multi-modal travel capabilities. PLACE3S uses the combined rating to categorize subareas into groups that are advantageously located and urbanized versus those that are relatively distant from activity centers and lacking substantial infrastructure. It ranks three location groups of subareas: excellent, favorable, and fair. 

4. Subarea planned efficiency rating. PLACE3S rates each subarea a final time in terms of land-use designation and travel demand consistency with the previous location rating. This final step estimates the relative level of energy efficiency a subarea could achieve as currently designated in community plans; hence, the rating planned efficiency. For example, a subarea near transit designated for high-density use would have a high planned efficiency rating. Alternatively, the same subarea with a low-density land-use designation would have a lower rating because the land-use designation does not take full advantage of the subarea's favorable transit proximity. 

A PLACE3S regional analysis produces three main products

1. a GIS energy database that can convert land-use and transportation plans into integrated, spatial expressions of total energy demand created by those plans; 

2. a GIS "efficiency blueprint" of subareas that may warrant land-use and/or transportation changes in order to perform more efficiently; and 

3. a permanent GIS tool for forecasting energy needs, monitoring regional efficiency, and evaluating the sustainability of future growth. 


"A repeated theme in the literature on urban environmental problems is the need for a more integrated approach to planning." 
William Anderson, Urban Form, Energy and the Environment



The PLACE3S method can help communities plan and design sustainable neighborhoods by employing urban design principles reminiscent of traditional community land-use patterns. These communities built before every family owned one or more automobiles, tend to be inherently energy efficient. 

PLACE3S designed neighborhoods are compact and have a mix of housing, shops, offices, schools, parks and other recreation easily accessible by walking, bicycling, and using transit, as well as by using a car. These neighborhoods are energy efficient and cost residents less. They have good access to local and regional transportation networks and are connected to community water, sewer and energy infrastructure. Some use local sources of energy. 

Energy relationships are numerous and complex within neighborhood settings. Housing, employment, recreation, travel, infrastructure, and use of local renewable energy resources all affect energy use or supply. Figure S-9 shows a good example of the relationship between neighborhood development and energy use. Taken from a Florida State Energy Center survey, it illustrates the lower housing and transportation energy demands of higher-density residential areas. 

At the neighborhood level, PLACE3S uses the design approach described in Figure S-10 as a framework for selecting and applying efficiency measures from the PLACE3S menu in Figure S-3. 

"The problem is that some communities are using their capital assets as if they were income which is like dairy farmers' selling their cows to buy feed. Soon there will be no cows to feed. When we deplete our resources, we're treating our community as if it's a business liquidation. We spend the income, then bequeath the mess to our children." 
Michale Kinsely & Hunter Lovins, Paying for Growth, Prospering From Development 

Applying energy data at the neighborhood level is similar to the regional procedure. In fact, many data from a regional PLACE3S analysis apply to neighborhood studies. For example, energy use, cost, and air pollutant and CO2 emission coefficients are normally reusable at the neighborhood level. In contrast to regional planning, neighborhood evaluations can also include much more design detail in planning alternatives. Neighborhood energy planning can look for efficiency at the block or building levels. 

"The production and consumption of energy causes more environmental damage than any other single human activity." 
The ECONOMIST Magazine

PLACE3S neighborhood-level studies will: 
  • Characterize energy efficiency, cost and pollutants attributable to multiple development proposals. 
  • Determine the net energy use, energy cost and energy-related air pollutant and CO2 emissions difference between a community built according to an adopted plan or an amended plan. 
  • Help a community integrate planning goals, make difficult trade-offs, and take positive steps toward sustainability. 
  • Improve coordination between regional and local planning, helping each to better achieve goals and improve sustainability. 
  • Produce a data base with many long-term uses including monitoring the success of plans and reducing uncertainty for developers participating in the planning process. 
PLACE3S neighborhood design approach 

Minimize Energy Demands 

1. Use large-scale land forms and microclimate to identify the most weather-protected development sites, which will reduce building heating and cooling demands. 
2. Consider small-scale land forms, landscape, existing buildings and pavement, solar orientation, and other issues that affect microclimate when subdividing parcels and siting buildings to further reduce building energy demands. 
3. Increase land-use mixes and densities to reduce travel requirements, to further reduce building heating and cooling demands, and to increase infrastructure operating efficiencies. 
4. Orient circulation and parking to pedestrians, bicycles, and transit to reduce auto dependence; and, provide infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels. 
5. Minimize infrastructure and optimize its operation to reduce embodied and life-cycle energy needs. 
Optimize Energy Supplies 
6. Maximize the use of on-site renewable energy resources and high-efficiency generation plants to reduce demands for grid-delivered electricity and natural gas. 
7. Interconnect with electric and natural gas grids at locations with sufficient capacity to avoid or minimize the need for new transmission or distribution lines and equipment. 

"Some communities are going to be victims of change...they won't understand it, they won't adapt to it, and they will fail. others will prosper, most likely those that understand that planning is a lot more than next week's zoning case..." 
Henry Cisneros, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Back to Top