Note: The data presented here represents preliminary findings and should not be used without written permission from UCLA. This is a student draft of the data and is not to be used.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing electricity consumption is a priority of the state of California. In 2009, California implemented SB 375, which requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to create Sustainable Community Strategies to address these goals. Our team, Take Electricity Seriously, Los Angeles (T.E.S.L.A.) is proud to announce the official public launch of an electricity consumption map for the City of Los Angeles (City) to give a more complete overview of where and how electricity is used. Normally, only utilities know how much electricity is used and where it is used. Producing this map has the potential to greatly impact energy policy in the City and eventually throughout the State. This map has a detail of data that can assist policymakers in their understanding of implications of electricity sustainability requirements and goals. Once results have been approved, we plan on this map being utilized by Los Angeles residents to clarify and illuminate where the major power consumers are in the city.
Our website went through many iterations. One of the biggest challenges was deciding on how to simply and clearly display a lot of information and interactive options. Another design development process was picking the color scheme. Below, you can see our wireframe ideas and some of the color options we tried when we deciding on our data presentation.
Option1- Too green
Option 2- Too beige
Option 1 million- Juuuuust right!
Jacki- Technical Genius and Principal Dreamer
Hailing from Kansas City, Jacki came to UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program and hit the ground running! She has worked for The Institute of the Environment for three quarters and was our liaison between our client (The Institute of the Environment) and our team. Jacki’s data analysis and ESRI GIS skills were a great addition when we were figuring out how to graphically display complex information.
Kristen- Energy Super Star and Data Cruncher
A local of Southern California, Kristen grew up with an interest in Los Angeles happenings. As an undergraduate, Kristen studied residential energy consumption and feedback technologies to increase conservation. Her knowledge of ESRI GIS and electricity measures were critical to the decision-making process regarding data analysis.
Kyle- Math Extraordinaire and Voice of Reason
Kyle is a coding wizard. Kyle hails from Anaheim, California but spent his undergraduate years in New York. As a civil engineer, Kyle was a great asset in validating our methodology and processing complex levels of data. His linear thought process helped us make our dreams and visions a reality.
Zhongbo- Creative Director and Voice of the People
Zhongbo makes the world a better looking place wherever she goes! Originally from Jilin, China, Zhongbo has a degree in civil engineering and is currently concentrating in Design and Development at UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program. Her ability to inspire created an engaging interface that is user-friendly. Chances are, if you saw a subtly cool design element, it was her inspiration!
Evaluation of Our Website
TESLA went through several revisions and experimented with various concepts and designs in order to make the user experience friendly, yet informative. We wanted to keep the basic user interface simple and easy to comprehend since the data being displayed is complex. In order to do this we have two separate tabs for user features, the basic option is a simple search bar where the user can search for various locations within the City. This keeps the map focus on its primary function, which is to display the EAZs and allow users to click over various sections of the map. The other options are in an advanced tab where the more nuanced and informative functions are kept such as the other years, percent change, land uses, and neighborhood energy uses and boundaries. One function that we were not able to incorporate due to unforeseen errors and search limitations was the radius summary function. This was a complicated feature that would have allowed users to see the energy use within a certain distance of their selected EAZ. Due to time constraints we were also not able to tile all of the EAZ years down to the furthest zoom level. With more resources and time we hope to be able to expand upon this website and fill in some of these gaps.
Looking forward, we will add water data and natural gas data to the map. Through further cooperation with the utility companies in Los Angeles, we hope to obtain hourly data at the parcel level. This will add a whole new level of complexity to the website and allow policy makers and utility companies to pinpoint how seasonal and peak hour changes effect the City’s electricity consumption. Eventually the scope of our project will expand to Los Angeles County, providing a more holistic look into Southern California’s energy use.
Our Website- Technical Requirements
The main goal of our website was to creatively and simply display a large amount of electricity data. There were over 150,000 Energy Analysis Zones (EAZs), each with numerous pieces of data attached. Our website features several interactive features. When the website loads, the user sees a map with colorful polygons throughout the City of Los Angeles. Each polygon represents and Energy Analysis Zone, which is at the Zip+4 unit of analysis. When the user clicks on a polygon, he or she opens up an infowindow that shows electricity usage over time (in kWh/year), the dominant land use of the EAZ, and the EAZ identification number. If a user clicks on a part of the map that does not have electricity data attached to it (ie- the user does not click on an EAZ), a warning infowindow notifies the user that the website does not have data collected for that region.
Showing electricity consumption throughout the City is important, but it is also valuable for users to be able to evaluate how electricity use has changed over time. Users are able to view electricity data for the years 2005-2010. Also, there is an additional feature of being able to view the average annual change in electricity consumption. When the user clicks on the “Yearly Change” radio button, the EAZs on the map change colors to reflect an increase or decrease in consumption. Also, the scale at the bottom of the page changes to reflect the new color scheme.
We included the following…
- Geocoder- Enables users to search for a specific address or place and find out several pieces of information, including what EAZ it is located in and what the EAZ’s electricity consumption is.
- Land Use dropdown- This feature enables users to view EAZs with a specific dominant land use. These Land Use types included Commercial, Industrial, Single Family Residential, Multi-family Residential, Mixed Residential, Other, and Not Available.
- Google Charts API- using Google Charts API, we created customized column charts to show electricity consumption over time. We displayed the data in an infowindow so that it is visible when a user clicks on an EAZ.
- EAZ electricity consumption by year- This is the bread and butter of our project. The electricity use by year is the default setting that loads when our website loads.
- Average annual change- This layer shows the average annual change (%) in electricity over time. This was calculated by finding the slope of the data from 2005-2010. As more data is added, this section will be revised and updated to show a more accurate picture.
- Neighborhood council totals-The electricity use of each neighborhood was totaled to show users a more aggregated picture of electricity consumption in LA
- Show Neighborhoods- For reference, users can toggle the Neighborhood Councils layer on/off to display the boundaries for neighborhoods in Los Angeles.