Previous measurements of urban energy balances generally have been limited to densely built, central city sites and older suburban locations with mature tree canopies that are higher than the height of the buildings. In contrast, few data are available for the extensive, open vegetated types typical of low-density residential areas that have been newly converted from rural land use. We made direct measurements of surface energy fluxes using the eddy-covariance technique at Greenwood, a recently developed exurban neighbourhood near Kansas City, Missouri, USA, during an intensive field campaign in August 2004. Energy partitioning was dominated by the latent heat flux under both cloudy and near clear-sky conditions. The mean daytime Bowen ratio (β) values were 0.46, 0.48, and 0.47 respectively for the cloudy, near clear-sky and all-sky conditions. Net radiation (R
) increased rapidly from dawn (−34 and −58W m−2) during the night to reach a maximum (423 and 630W m−2) after midday for cloudy and near clear-sky conditions respectively. Mean daytime values were 253 and 370W m−2, respectively for the cloudy and near clear-sky conditions, while mean daily values were 114 for cloudy and 171W m−2 for near clear-sky conditions, respectively. Midday surface albedo values were 0.25 and 0.24 for the cloudy and near clear-sky conditions, respectively. The site exhibited an angular dependence on the solar elevation angle, in contrast to previous observations over urban and suburban areas, but similar to vegetated surfaces. The latent heat flux (Q
), sensible heat flux (Q
), and the residual heat storage ΔQ
terms accounted for between 46–58%, 21–23%, and 18–31% of R
, respectively, for all-sky conditions and time averages. The observed albedo, R
, and Q
values are higher than the values that have been reported for suburban areas with high summer evapotranspiration rates in North America. These results suggest that the rapidly growing residential areas at the exurban fringe of large metropolitan areas have a surface energy balance that is more similar to the rural areas from which they were developed than it is to the older suburbs and city centres that make up the urban fabric to which they are being joined.