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Columbia engineers map energy use in NYC buildings
Date:1/31/2012

New York, NY -- Cities across the globe are trying to develop plans to cut down their energy consumption and lower their carbon footprint by reducing the associated greenhouse gas emissions. While initial efforts have focused on individual buildings by incorporating more energy efficient lighting, windows, and building systems, deeper reductions will call for changes beyond individual buildings, requiring a rethinking of how future infrastructure and energy policies should evolve.

A new study by Columbia Engineering School will help urban planners, policy makers, and engineers understand the local dynamics of building energy use in New York Citywhere over two-thirds of the energy consumption is from buildingsand help jumpstart the exchange of ideas.

"The lack of information about building energy use is staggering," said the study's lead author Bianca Howard, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Columbia Engineering. "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."

The study, which Howard conducted with Mechanical Engineering Professor Vijay Modi, was published in the November 7, 2011, online edition of Energy and Buildings and is featured in the February 2012 print edition. The research team included collaborators from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

"This is a critical issue," said Modi. "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 d
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
347-453-7408
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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