One of the primary characteristics of cities is population density. The amount of people living per square mile is much greater in urban areas. This is because cities are major centers of commerce and industry. They are the home base for many domestic and international companies.
High concentrations of jobs in cities attract even more people. Many of these folks commute from their homes outside the city to their places of employment. Between the power required to operate city businesses and residences, and the fuel needed for public transportation and vehicles used to get around, energy consumption levels in cities are very high. It is very important that cities start to cut back. Below are 6 ways in which they can do it.
1. Public Transit
Arguably one of the more costly and complex solutions to reduce energy consumption in cities is by offering and maintaining a variety of public transportation options. This should dissuade people from driving. Bus, subway or rail lines facilitate better and faster commutes. They simultaneously diminish the reliance on cars and, in effect, the reliance on gasoline.
2. Bicycle Lanes and Sharing
When cities invest in protected bicycle lanes on the roads, people will feel safer riding their bikes in lieu of driving. Cities can also offer bike sharing services. Citi Bike in New York City or Biketown in Portland, Oregon enable people to pay for and temporarily use a local bike. Together, these changes reduce car density on the road, and, in turn, decrease energy consumption.
3. Hybrid Cars
Since some cities, such as Los Angeles, are more reliant on driving than others. Offering higher and more incentivizing tax breaks to individuals who choose to drive hybrid or electric cars encourages its citizens be more energy conscious. To further reward these drivers, they can encourage certain establishments to offer designated, premium parking spaces for those vehicles in particular.
3. Green Space
Plants and trees reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the air by utilizing energy from the sun. Creating concentrated pockets of green space throughout a city in the form of parks, playgrounds, urban farms, and open spaces provide a better quality of life for city dwellers. In addition, they will better the atmosphere by cooling the surrounding air, offsetting carbon dioxide.
4. Solar Panels
Skyscrapers and massive buildings are staples of urban life. By installing solar panels, which absorb light from the sun, on even some of these structures, the city would be able to tap into free energy in the form of generating electricity or heating during daytime hours. This would make the best use of an enormous and pre-existing surface area. It will also cut back on the amount of fossil fuel people use.
5. Waste Management
Cities are overflowing with people. As a result, the amount of garbage produced daily is extremely overwhelming. The management and disposal are not always the most efficient. Small efforts can better eliminate waste. One of these efforts is to outlaw plastic bag distribution in stores since they do not decompose. Also, if more opportunities existed for people to recycle, fewer recyclable materials would arrive in landfills and could, instead, be repurposed.
6. Water Conservation
More people equates to more water consumption. Therefore, there is more water waste. Cities can offer energy-efficient programs. They can help people purchase water-saving devices for their homes. They can also incentivize them to do so with tax breaks. There are low-flow faucets, toilets, and shower heads. There are also water saving dishwashers and washing machines. These appliances use significantly less water than older, more outdated models.
There has been a drastic climate change that has occurred over the past century. It is due to carbon dioxide emissions and diminishes natural resources. It is imperative that populous regions like cities begin to reduce their consumption of energy.
Offering an array of public transportation options, provide bike sharing services and delineate bike lanes on the roads. They can incentivize drivers of hybrid and electric cars. They can create sustainable green spaces, and install solar panels on the tallest buildings. These things will all reduce waste and conserve water. Although local governments are responsible for implementing these tactics, it is ultimately up to the people to make sure they follow it.