Software Maps Carbon Emissions Down to Building and Street Levels


A team of U.S. researchers has developed a software system that they say documents carbon dioxide emissions in urban areas down to the level of individual buildings or street segments. Using publicly available data on local pollution, traffic counts, and building uses — as well as models of building-by-building energy consumption — the researchers from Arizona State and Purdue universities were able to create three-dimensional maps detailing carbon emissions.

The researchers hope the software will provide insights into urban CO2 sources and help guide public policy on climate change and sustainable energy use.

“Cities have had little information with which to guide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions — and you can’t reduce what you can’t measure,” said Kevin Gurney, an assistant professor at Arizona State University. So far, the so-called Hestia software has been used to produce visualizations for the city of Indianapolis, but the group is also developing maps for Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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