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UCLA interactive map shows Los Angeles electricity use

March 29, 2013|By Bettina Boxall
  • A web of power lines in downtown Los Angeles. The California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA has created an interactive map of the city's electricity use.
A web of power lines in downtown Los Angeles. The California Center for Sustainable… (David McNew / Getty Images )

Want to know what the average electricity use is in your Los Angeles neighborhood and how it compares with other parts of town?

The California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA has released what it calls a first-of-its-kind  interactive energy map. Using commercial and residential customer data provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the project shows Los Angeles energy use by census block, along with other information such as average income and building age.

Analysis has so far suggested one pattern: Average energy use tends to be greater in wealthier areas.

But why? Because the houses are bigger, have more air conditioning? Because the well-to-do don’t turn off the lights when they leave a room?

Center Director Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said little is known about the factors that shape energy use.

Much of the electricity savings claimed by utilities that give rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances are based on computer modeling rather than before-and-after measurements of electricity consumption, she added.

Billions of dollars has been spent on the rebates, but “We don’t have any baseline data that will tell us how successful this has been,” Pincetl said.

The energy mapping, which will be expanded with more data, is a start in establishing that baseline. 

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