Why Don’t Americans Care More About Energy Waste?

David Houle with an article on ThoughtMechanics about how Europe conserves energy regularly, and Americans conserve when they’re reminded, or when it’s convenient. As I commented below the article (I’m copying it straight because I’m lazy), I think part of the American problem, not an excuse for it, is our sense of Manifest Destiny and our desire for low density. In Europe houses are built closer together (because they were built in 1850) and almost every town has a main street built just for pedestrians, with no road and little parking to be found. These encourage energy conservation, whereas that hallmark of American shopping, the strip mall with a parking lot in front of every shop, encourages people to get in their cars. Look at Phoenix, Arizona – it’s huge and keeps expanding outward, never upward. America will get its head out of the ground if it can accomplish smarter design and higher density.

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