Innovative offices for smarter cities, including energy use and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions

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Abstract

Background: Concentration of knowledge work in cities generates innovations entailing economic development. This paper addresses the challenge of turning around the present trend of urban sprawl toward the concentrated knowledge work in cities. The assumption is that dislocation of office and residential housing entailing longer commuting mileage is the main cause of urban sprawl.

Methods: The life cycle costs method is used for comparison of office systems. The present offices system is compared to the concentrated mega offices system outside cities, as well as the local and home offices within cities. The life cycle costs are assessed with statistical data on space, materials and energy, and information services. These are the main resources of the offices systems given labor and capital.

Results: Commuting costs about 22% of the annual average wage and causes congestion, fragmentation of districts, health risks and pollution. These high costs can be reduced by changes in the office systems. The present office system with commuting adds 40% to the average labor costs. The innovative office systems reduce these costs by 15 to 28% of the present offices. Sensitivity analyses underpin the findings for nearly all urban conditions. The local office systems are particularly cost-effective. The local office system can also save nearly 78% energy and reduce 74% CO2 emission of the present offices along with less space use. Congestion, as well as fragmentation of communities and nature caused by commuting can be avoided.

Conclusions: Some project developers invest in the distributed offices. Policies encourage such investments if they reallocate funds from infrastructure into refurbishing of the available housing and internalize the external effects of land use in the costs of real estate development. These policies increase smartness of cities, reduce energy use, and improve living qualities in cities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalEnergy, sustainability and society
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • METIS-321789
  • IR-103727

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