The carbon canyons of New York

The actual volume of carbon dioxide emissions from each of New York City's 2,600 public buildings

Seventy five percent of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy used by buildings. Reducing this energy is a goal of both building managers and the City of New York.

This visualisation takes data about the carbon emissions of municipal buildings in New York City and transforms it into a 3D map of the actual volume of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. The city and its buildings are an essential component of the data visualisation.

The New York City animation and this visualisation together provide a wider context for actions on building emissions. These visuals were funded by US-based Environmental Defense Fund.

A longer and more detailed video is available here:

Emissions from a single building:Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, Clarkson Street, Manhattan


To explore this data-set in Google Earth download the kmz file

Whiter volumes correspond to buildings built more recently than darker volumes.

Set of bar-charts showing the distribution of emissions for buildings built in different decades. The lightest volumes are the most recent buildings. The block at the back are records without dates.

This form of visualisation also lends itself to a form of data analysis that maintains a physical sense of scale. In this view the distribution of emissions is evident for buildings of different ages. If there were an age-based trend this may give the first view of it. The visualisation does show problems with some records that would not be easy to spot in the table (the block of volumes at the back).

A close-up view of the bar-charts