Community-wide Energy Use
The charts below show the differences between energy usage among different land use types. Being a primarily residential neighborhood, over half of total electricity is used in the home with the other half dispersed among various industries.
Homes use around a quarter of all natural gas used in Silverton while manufacturing uses 13% of the total.
The age of homes and businesses has a direct impact on overall energy efficiency. Homes built before 1960 were not designed with energy efficiency in mind. It wasn’t until the energy crisis during the 1970’s that homes were built with attention payed to cost of electricity and natural gas.
Predominant building age of a localized area effects homeowners energy bill. Homes built between 1880 and 1950 are missing essential energy saving features such as properly sealed windows and attic insulation.
Energy burden is the percentage of a household’s income that is spent on energy. The higher the percentage, the higher the energy burden. In the case of this map, the data is organized by census blocks and represents the combined total of energy cost, electricity and natural gas.
The highest levels of burden is on homeowners just south of Montgomery Road where the average building age is older.
Urban Heat Island
Impervious surfaces such as roads and buildings have an impact on the average temperature of our cities. Rural areas are far cooler and temperate in the summer months when compared to our cities and this rise in temperature has implications on energy usage. Within communities there are “hot spots,” localized areas of higher surface temperatures, dictated by land use patterns. The hot spots are typically characterized by large areas of unbroken pavement, such as parking lots and commercial buildings.
This pattern is reflected in Silverton. At the intersection between Montgomery and Plainfield Road surface temperatures are much higher than in the surrounding neighborhoods. Heat islands have an impact on homes too, part of the solar radiation absorbed by impervious surfaces during the day releases at night, making the need for air conditioning constant.
Placing vegetation in and around impervious surfaces mitigates the solar energy absorption. Shade tree’s, green roofs, or any form of vegetation absorbs some of the energy, preventing it from being reflected. Urban tree canopies also provide relief in the summer months, preventing solar radiation from reaching the surface.