Study maps greenhouse gas emissions to building, street level for U.S. cities
Researchers at Arizona State University and Purdue University created a visualization of the Hestia system that shows the hourly, building-by-building dynamics of CO2 emissions in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Credit: Bedrich Benes and Michel Abdul-Massih
Arizona State University researchers have developed a new software system capable of estimating greenhouse gas emissions across entire urban landscapes, all the way down to roads and individual buildings. Until now, scientists quantified carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at a much broader level.
“As a community, we must take a leadership role in sustaining our relationship with the environment,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This research, and its implications for global engagement regarding climate change, is an exciting step forward. Hestia gives us the next tool we need to help policy-makers create effective greenhouse gas legislation.”
“These results may also help overcome current barriers to the United States joining an international climate change treaty,” agreed Gurney, Hestia’s lead scientist. “Many countries are unwilling to sign a treaty when greenhouse gas emission reductions cannot be independently verified.”
According to researchers, Hestia’s increased detail and accuracy will help cities, and possibly even other nations, identify where an investment in energy and greenhouse gas savings would have the greatest impact.
“Leading in sustainability is not easy; however, as Mayor, I am committed to doing so,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “Undoubtedly, Hestia will be a good tool to help us make more informed decisions as leaders in Phoenix and the Valley around issues of air quality, health and a sustainable future.”
Although climate change presents society with tough challenges, Gurney believes this new system enables concrete, positive steps towards mitigating the problem.
“Hestia offers practical information we can use to identify the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions and track progress over time,” Gurney said. “Scientists have spent decades describing the seriousness of climate change. Now, we are offering practical information to help do something about it.”
More information: Hestia data for three cities is available for download at: hestia.project.asu.edu/audience_researchers.shtml
Journal reference: Environmental Science and Technology
Provided by Arizona State University