Block-Level Electricity Usage Mapping May Encourage Energy Efficiency

LA land useThe University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has published a map that shows how inefficient one city building is in comparison with another.

The web application provides the municipal utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and city planners the ability to see how LA blocks compare to each other and consumption variations by season. The map can also overlay census data and land use information. This allows LADWP to see how income levels affect consumption.

The web application protects privacy by only displaying block-level data and not individual buildings.

These data will allow the LADWP to develop specific programs to improve energy efficiency. Determining which buildings need to be retrofitted for example, is just one possibility, and this determination will be easier with the data visualized. Experts will also be able to determine how age of a building and energy efficiency are related.

Buildings consume over 40% of all energy in the United States. Experts believe that up to 50% of energy is wasted.

In the future, UCLA researchers plan to obtain more electricity usage data from the utility in order to map other regions in California. The one hurdle in all this is providing too much detail on building efficiency may pose a conflict for utilities that want to sell more energy, not less, since profits will decrease in tandem with lowered energy consumption.

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