Modeling Energy Consumption in NYC

BlocPower collaborates with IBM to launch new energy efficiency analytics product

Cities all over the world are searching for a solution to climate change.

Though the challenge is multifaceted and complex, cities have the opportunity to lead us towards a better, more sustainable future.

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced New York City’s commitment to climate change, One City Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future. The commitment aims to reduce NYC greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 with an emphasis on reducing the energy consumption of existing building stock. New York City’s buildings constitute nearly two-thirds of the total energy that the city consumes.

With the goal of modeling energy usage in New York City, BlocPower partnered with IBM to help launch their new data product, the IBM Data Science Experience. Our Chief Engineering Officer, Tooraj Arvajeh, was introduced at the June 6th IBM Spark Maker Event to highlight the real world application of this new technology.

The IBM Data Science Experience harnesses crucial functionality that ranges from collaboration to visualization and predictive modeling. In order to simplify the process of cleaning data, IBM has created a library that scales large data sets.

At BlocPower, we are leveraging data analytics, combined with our own building energy audits, to develop predictive measures to identify buildings in New York City that are energy inefficient and in need of energy retrofits. Our collaboration with IBM was just the tip of the melting iceberg.

The Sustainable Engineering Lab at Columbia University estimated annual building energy consumption using mathematical models based on city statistics and generated an interactive map of NYC’s energy consumption. The limitation of this model, however, is that no actual individual building data was used.

BlocPower has precise building level data that is crucial to the refinement of this model. We have performed hundreds of energy audits of schools, multifamily units, and houses of worship over the past 18 months. Although the scope and types of buildings in our audits are focused on small commercial buildings, our analyses serves as a basis from which we can make mathematical and statistical models for similar buildings throughout the city.

Our new tool allows us to generate predictive models of building energy consumption that can be used to target buildings for future retrofits. This technology has the potential to help New York City to reach its sustainability goals by providing insight on where the city and its residents should focus programs, efforts, and funding to reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency.