Green Communities Center

Energy Survey 2005

In August 2005, the partnership launched a national survey to assess the current state of planners' capacity, knowledge, and educational needs concerning the integration of energy issues and community planning. We received 377 responses, from public sector planners (62.9 percent), private sector planners (26.8 percent), planning academics (6.1 percent), planners working for nonprofits (2.4 percent), and planners working in other planning areas (1.9 percent). The survey obtained information on what planners feel are the most effective ways to deliver energy training and education. The survey results were published in the PAS Memo, the bimonthly electronic newsletter sent to the organizations that subscribe to APA's Planning Advisory Service (PAS).

Summary of Key Findings

Of the total population, nearly 65 percent (243) indicated that energy issues were "very connected" to planning and 30 percent (113) indicated they were "somewhat connected."

We next asked how connected they felt specific planning issues were to energy efficiency and renewable energy. For the entire population, they ranked specific planning issues as being "very connected" to energy efficiency and renewable energy as follows (multiple selections were allowed):

  • Sustainability: 83.6%
  • Transportation: 83.0%
  • Smart Growth: 79.0%
  • Environmental Protection: 76.7%
  • Economic Development: 59.9%
  • Quality of Life: 55.2%
  • Affordable Housing: 49.6%
  • Public Health: 39.3%

For the population who indicated that planning and energy are "very connected," they ranked specific planning issues as being "very connected" to energy efficiency and renewable energy as follows (multiple selections were allowed).

  • Transportation: 93.8%
  • Sustainability: 93.4%
  • Smart Growth: 89.7%
  • Environmental Protection: 88.5%
  • Economic Development: 75.7%
  • Quality of Life: 67.9%
  • Affordable Housing: 63.4%
  • Public Health: 51.0%

We also asked respondents about their familiarity with specific energy technologies. For the entire population, most were "very familiar" with passive solar (31.6%) and hydropower (31.3%), followed by wind and solar thermal/hot water (both at 21.5%). Those who indicated planning is "very connected" to energy issues also produced this same ranking.

For all the technologies listed, however, the respondents overwhelmingly indicated they were either "somewhat familiar" or "not familiar" with most of them. The technologies that the respondents were "not familiar" with were led by distributed generation (66.6%), followed by anaerobic digestion (50.4%), and biomass (48.5%).

Nearly all respondents (93.9%) felt that there is a role for planners in helping communities with energy conservation.