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New software improves measurement of greenhouse gas emissions

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October 22, 2012

Hestia is a software system that shows building-by-building CO2 emissions

Hestia is a software system that shows building-by-building CO2 emissions

As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. Following this principle, Arizona State University researchers have developed a computer program called Hestia, that is capable of estimating the greenhouse gas emissions of specific roads and even buildings. With its high level level of detail and accuracy, the software can help cities make more precise calculations about their GHG footprint as well as more informed decisions related to carbon mitigation efforts.

To obtain such precise information, Hestia draws on sources such as local air pollution reports, traffic counts, and property information available to tax assessors known as the APN (assessor’s parcel number). That data is combined with a modeling system that quantifies CO2 emissions on a micro level, such as for individual buildings and streets.

“Cities have had little information with which to guide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – and you can’t reduce what you can’t measure,” said Kevin Gurney, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and senior scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Indianapolis has been the first city where Hestia has been tested, where it is part of the INFLUX experiment, a project designed to improve methods of greenhouse gas flux measurements. Los Angeles and Phoenix will follow. The overall goal is create a CO2 map in every major American city and give local leaders clear data that is easy to understand and, consequently, conducive to more effective action.

Additionally, the researchers hope the software can provide a tool for independent emission audits. These may help persuade reluctant countries, who may be won over by the introduction of an independent verification system, to join an international climate change treaty.

Besides providing a calculation tool for cities, Hestia is expected to complement NASA’s Orbital Carbon Observatory satellite, the launch of which is planned for 2013. The satellite will measure the concentration of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere.

Hestia was featured in Environmental Science and Technology magazine earlier this month.

The video below illustrates how the software works.

Source: Arizona State University

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology.   All articles by Antonio Pasolini
5 Comments

This seems to be less "estimation from available data" and more "completely making shit up."

Jon A.
22nd October, 2012 @ 11:48 am PDT

Another way how to control people. Green movement is now officially religion.

Daniel Boguszewski
22nd October, 2012 @ 12:22 pm PDT

Thank You Jon A. Your dead on.

The "greenwashing" of the world marches on.

Pure BS.

Brian Mcc
22nd October, 2012 @ 12:37 pm PDT

Unfortunately this article reflects standards in both journalism and in the climate change industry. The latter because it appears to have adopted the concept that estimation and measurement are identical. The former because the headline is not substantiated by the text. Estimation is NOT measurement and your reporter should take note and exercise greater care in the future.

Facebook User
23rd October, 2012 @ 11:11 am PDT

What a great tool for solving a non-problem!

Let's see, the idea of "green" is to make the environment more friendly to nature (plants, trees, etc.) And what do plants and trees need for food? CO2. So shouldn't we be encouraging anything that will increase the amount of CO2 so plants and trees will thrive?

I'm reminded of an old Dennis the Menace comic strip in which Dennis is wheeling a fan outside while telling his friend, "Dad says I can't cool the entire outdoors, but I'm going to try anyway." We laugh at his foolishness, while global warming "experts" condition us to accept the idea that we are responsible for heating up the outdoors and we can (and should) do things to cool it back down again.

Obviously some people have too much time on their hands and too high of an opinion of the significance of their place and influence in this vast universe.

AllenH
23rd October, 2012 @ 12:29 pm PDT
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