One question that comes up occasionally in Boulder’s discussion of housing cooperatives — and residential density more generally — is the potential impact on utility systems, and overall energy & water consumption. We took a look at this issue a couple of years ago.
Since then, the Picklebric Cooperative was forced to move into a different house. They’ve had a chance to collect a year’s worth of utility bills — and have finally gotten their rental co-op license — so we thought it might be fun to look at how the new house is doing, energy and water wise. The following summary was compiled by Picklebric member Ethan Welty.
Picklebric has nine members, and is located in Boulder’s University Hill neighborhood – one block from Chautauqua. Xcel Energy reports our electricity and natural gas use alongside those of our neighbors, allowing us to evaluate our consumption against the average.
Neighbors are 100 households within 1.4 miles with these characteristics:
- Single family houses with about 3 occupants
- About 2770 square feet (like us)
- Natural gas heat (like us)
However, unlike our neighbors,
Picklebric has 9 occupants, which significantly decreases our per-capita consumption. Overall, each member of Picklebric uses only one fifth as much energy and one quarter as much water as our average neighbor. And since we only have 3 times as many people in the house as our average neighbor, this means our overall household resource use is still lower than theirs.