New York City's Energy Consumption Mapped Out, Building-by-Building

Convinced you're more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.

The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard's PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:

"While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity."

The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]