Cool Interactive Map Shows You Which City Blocks Use the Most Electricity


A new interactive map tool, created by the Modi Research Group at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, reveals some unsurprising patterns about New York City’s energy consumption.

The tool can tell you, down to individual buildings, which parts of the city used the most energy in 2011. Click on an individual building, and you’ll get a pie graph showing you what types of energy were used — gas, water, electricity, or heating.

Modi got its raw data from a statistical energy model, not private information from utilities, and then built a visual interpretation of the model using a program called MapBox. The map shows energy use in kilowatt-hours per square meter of land area, which means that buildings with more floors or a higher residential density automatically show up as using more energy.

Unsurprisingly, the map shows Manhattan as overwhelmingly red, with many Midtown blocks using 2,500 – 5,000 k Wh in 2011 Some parts of downtown Brooklyn and Park Slope also use high amounts of energy (we blame the Park Slope stroller moms).

Vijay Modi, a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia and one of the minds behind the project, told the Wall Street Journal:

“Midtown Manhattan has more energy use than the whole country of Kenya, and New York state uses more energy than all of sub-Saharan Africa. There is just this intense use of energy in cities like New York.”

Modi and his project partner, grad student Bianca Howard, hope that the map will help demystify some of the city’s energy use, and prompt people to give more thought to where that money they pay Con Ed each month is actually going.