ASU researchers track greenhouse fuel emissions

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Researchers at ASU have developed a way to track greenhouse gas emissions, not just across individual cities, but right down to individual buildings and their work is drawing attention from all over the world.

The so-called "Hestia Project" is a large computer that can handle all the data ASU researchers have been compiling for three years. It's data they hope will change the world.

"It's an effort to quantify fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, down to the building and street segment level," said ASU Professor Kevin Gurney.

Dubbed "Hestia" after the Greek goddess of Hearth and Home, researches have come up with a system that tracks greenhouse fuel emissions so precisely that they're able to see which buildings and streets are leaving the biggest carbon footprint.

"It's an outstanding window into what's going on," Gurney said.

With three-dimensional animation, the map of Indianapolis even shows how energy consumption changes throughout the day.

"We really do see the residential sector light up in the morning when people begin to get up," Gurney said. "It moves onto the roads as they travel to work and finally lights up in the commercial sector as they show up at work and begin their work day."

While it's easy to say a particular power plant or even SUV drivers are polluting the air, Gurney said the goal of the research is not to point fingers but rather to give cities and the general public with information to make better choices.

"This lives under the umbrella of climate change is one of those problems that it really is the summation of lots and lots of little things," Gurney said.

So far, Hestia's animated, street-level maps are only available for the city of Indianapolis, but Los Angeles and Phoenix map are already in the works.

In a matter of months, scientists say, we'll see for ourselves how an individual city can have a global impact.

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