Alexandra Hills, Michael Donn and Nigel Isaacs
02 Sep 2012 to 02 Sep 2012
This paper proposes a reinvention of the means of presenting data about 3D urban environments. Conventional GIS use of 3D ’enhances’ hard to understand 2D maps with even harder-to-understand histograms of data. The goal is to demonstrate the means by which data on energy and water-use in buildings can be used to enhance familiar 3D interactive city environments and made accessible to the widest possible audience.
A pilot study is underway exploring the means by which research data on building resource use can be added to a 3D city visualization. Ultimately, this data and other related publicly available information about cities could be presented in this highly accessible form. All information would be database driven, so automatically updateable. From this basic platform, applications that permit people to compare their own private records with public norms are easily constructed: a world where a building owner can compare their energy records with benchmarks for similar buildings – and take action to improve if necessary or to advertise accomplishments.
The study draws on data from the ‘BEES’ Building Energy End-use Study - a BRANZ research project documenting energy and water use in buildings . During the BEES project a world first approach was taken to visiting a random sample of 3000 commercial and industrial properties: Google Earth + Street View were used to build a detailed picture of the NZ building stock, with data collected on typologies, characteristics and surroundings (glazing ratio, storey height, materials, form-type, age, use-type, overshadowing as well as SketchUp models and aerial / elevation images). The BEES team have subsequently conducted detailed on-site measurements and telephone surveys on a subset of this sample. Energy and water bills have been gathered to create a statistically valid picture of the end uses of energy and water. This data can be related to the publicly available typology and characteristic data and thus used to ‘annotate’ a 3D model of the whole country.
Throughout their life-cycle, buildings account for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions . Measuring, benchmarking and reporting energy and water consumption is the first step to reducing resource use. Making this information accessible and legible, not to mention interesting via open source software will have a huge impact on energy and water use. Viewing the world through a ‘lens’ of resource-use data will make it possible to envision the environmental performance of cities and neighborhoods. It will be possible to glance at an area of the city and understand the underlying resource-use trends. It will provide designers, planners, landlords, tenants, energy companies and the general public with tools to work together to reduce consumption.
 A previous BRANZ (Building Research Association New Zealand) study ‘HEEP’ collected equivalent data on NZ residential properties.
 “Building Design Leaders Collaborating on Carbon-Neutral Buildings by 2030,” U.S. Green Building Council press release, May 7, 2007. Buildings account for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next 25 years, CO2 emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than any other sector, with emissions from commercial buildings projected to grow the fastest—1.8% a year through to 2030.
Download Alex Hill's Presentation [PowerPoint 2007 Presentation - 23.57 MB]