Environmental Protection

Research Analyst Tracks Residential Energy Use in Nevada

Urban Environmental Research (UER) lead research analyst Abhilasha Wadhwa was honored by the American Lung Association (ALA) recently for her work in developing a first-of-its-kind tool to measure residential energy consumption and carbon footprints.

ALA, in conjunction with the Clark County Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management, presented Wadhwa with a Clean Air Award for her work on street-level mapping of residential carbon emissions in Southern Nevada.

The work provides street-specific information about how much electricity residents used in a year and the resulting carbon dioxide emissions made at the power plant to generate the electricity used. The project aims to heighten individual consumption awareness and focus government-sponsored conservation efforts.

Her research found that the top five local ZIP codes for highest average dwelling energy consumption are 89011, 89131, 89141, and 89149. Additionally, she found that Las Vegas residences consume 15 percent more electricity and emit 2.5 tons more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the national average.

“We are proud that Abhilasha’s work to determine the carbon footprint resulting from energy use in Southern Nevadan homes will be recognized with this prestigious award,” said Sheila Conway, managing partner of UER. “As we continue to work to find solutions to reduce energy consumption, determining which communities have the highest consumption levels will enable planners to target conservation efforts where they are needed most.”

At UER, Wadhwa is working to offer a one-stop shop on the Internet for residents wanting to reduce their carbon footprint as well as local governments seeking to target their conservation efforts. A sample Web site showing the street-level estimation and mapping of residential energy consumption, based on dwelling age, size and energy use, can be seen at www.geokeyhole.com/energy. This mapping tool is now being used by the city of Las Vegas to prioritize its share of over $17 million in federal funding for energy conservation programs in Southern Nevada.

A native of India, Wadhwa has an extensive background in design. Before coming to the United States, she worked as an architect in India with a focus on sustainable development and environment-conscious design. Wadhwa recently acquired her LEED professional accreditation from the Green Building Certification Institute, highlighting her thorough understanding of green building practices and the official LEED Rating System.

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