Factors Influencing Water Consumption in Multifamily Housing in Tempe, Arizona

Elizabeth Wentz, Angela J. Wills, Won Kyung Kim, Soe Myint, Patricia Gober, Robert Balling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Central to the Smart Growth movement is that compact development reduces vehicle miles traveled, carbon emissions, and water use. Empirical efforts to evaluate compact development have examined residential densities but have not distinguished decreasing lot sizes from multifamily apartments as mechanisms for compact development. Efforts to link design features to water use have emphasized single-family at the expense of multifamily housing. This study isolates the determinants of water use in large (more than fifty units) apartment complexes in the city of Tempe, Arizona. In July 2007, per bedroom water use increased with pool area, dishwashers, and in-unit laundry facilities. We are able to explain nearly 50 percent of the variation in water demand with these variables. These results inform public policy for reducing water use in multifamily housing structures, suggesting strategies to construct and market "green" apartment units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-510
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • multifamily housing
  • smart growth
  • water use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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