Despite numerous studies on computerised simulations for analysing the relationship between the physical characteristics of an urban environment and energy consumption in buildings, the correlation between the actual energy use and physical parameters influencing a building's energy performance has rarely been explored. Previous research has identified several physical characteristics of the urban environment as potential drivers of a building's energy demand. Using the building energy consumption data from the Seattle city government, and geographic information system (GIS) data obtained from the Washington Geospatial Data Archive, this study presents an investigation of the effect of three urban form variables—horizontal compactness, vertical density, and variation of building heights—on the residential energy consumption of multi-family housings in Seattle. The results of the spatial lag models of building energy use and its neighbourhood-level correlates confirm that the building's energy consumption is spatially dependent. In Seattle, the annual energy use of a multi-family building was reduced with an increased horizontal density and smaller variations in building height. An interpretation of the results is presented with respect to the local climate. Further research is required to examine the association between various urban form factors on a building's energy use in regions with different climatic environments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Building and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering