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Mapping Energy Consumption, Block-by-Block

A new interactive map produced by researchers at Columbia University reveals the energy use of nearly every building in New York City. Besides being an interesting curiosity, the map is a crucial first step in improving energy efficiency.
February 3, 2012, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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New Yorkers love to compare themselves to their neighbors across the city (who has the best nightlife? who has the best pizza parlor? who has the best park? who has the most hipsters?). Now they can compare who uses the most (or least) energy.

In a city in which over two-thirds of its total energy use come from buildings, knowing how much specific buildings, or areas of the city, are consuming energy in comparison with other areas may prove crucial in helping to curb energy usage.

"The lack of information about building energy use is staggering," said Bianca Howard, lead author and Columbia Engineering PhD student, in a statement. "We want to start the conversation for the average New Yorker about energy efficiency and conservation by placing their energy consumption in the context of other New Yorkers. Just knowing about your own consumption can change your entire perspective."

Furthermore, according to author Ariel Schwartz, "Knowing which areas of the city consume more energy could also inform future decisions about local energy generation. Maybe a landlord with some glaringly inefficient buildings will want to install some solar panels, or perhaps building tenants will band together to work on other energy-efficient options (i.e., capturing and reusing building waste heat)."

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Published on Thursday, February 2, 2012 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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