Just for fun, on the side of their day jobs, a trio of NYU astrophysicists have created a series of maps, called Energy Zip, that show how New Yorkers use electricity (h/t Atlantic Cities). Taking advantage of publicly available data on energy usage according to zip code, Jonathan Roberts, Jeff Allen, and Ronnie Jansson can visualize which parts of the city are more or less efficient at power guzzling. For example, in the map at left, it appears that the yellow and green areas on the East and West Sides?in fact, in Manhattan in general?are where residents run up higher power bills per person, while the deeper purple areas of the outer boroughs use less electricity. But when you toggle the map to represent energy use by household, the city appears more uniform, because Manhattan is home to more single-person households while the ones in outer boroughs tend to house multiple residents.
Meanwhile, another option on the map allows you to see what percentage of household income is spent on electricity in different neighborhoods across the city. In the Bronx, up in Hunts Point and Mott Haven (the red spots on the map above), a power bill makes up a whopping 10 percent of total income, while in Chelsea and many other parts of Manhattan, it's only 1.4 percent. Other features allow you to see the renewable energy tax credits per household, as well as electricity density, or the total electricity used per square meter of land area. (Unsurprisingly, Midtown wins that latter.)
If you scroll down to the second section of the site (see the screenshot above), you can get the dirt on your own bill as it compares to your neighbors'. Just enter in your zip code and what you've paid over several months, and the algorithm spits out an assessment that allows you to see whether you are paying more than you should?especially during those summer A/C-driven spikes?or getting away with paying less.
The aim of the project, its creators say, is to allow residents, environmental groups, and city officials to see where the city's electricity is being used, and in what way, so that certain areas could eventually be targets for energy-saving modifications or renewable energy tax credits.
· Energy Zip [official]
· Video Tour and Explanation: Energy Zip [NYC Big Apps]
· Where New Yorkers Run Up the Biggest Power Bills [Atlantic Cities]