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    Oct 1, 2012

    Comparing energy efficiency in the San Gabriel Valley

    We've launched a new project for PMC, a consulting firm that advises municipalities on things like transit policy and energy use. Energy Efficiency in San Gabriel Valley looks at a variety of cities in southern California and reports how much electricity and natural gas people used, how far they drove, how much waste they generated, and other metrics. We compare each city to the others in the Valley, to LA and SoCal as a whole when we can, and plot these metrics on an interactive map and series of charts below. It works best in Google Chrome, as PMC's initial use for the project is a conference on energy efficiency and climate change, held last week in Monrovia.

    We're using terrain background tiles, with terrain-lines overlaid), for the base maps. The outlines are loosely based on the municipality boundaries, and fill up and empty out based on whatever metric's being compared. La Cañada, Flintridge and Irwindale have the highest Vehicle Miles Traveled counts, and we think this is because they're furthest away from the center of the Valley:

    VMT map

    Measuring like this shows outliers pretty clearly. "Rock quarries dominate the small community of Irwindale, but the city is planning to attract more diverse land uses as some of the mines begin to close," and you can see this reflected in the Waste per Job statistics for that city. It also has many more jobs than it does residents, by about 13 to 1.

    Irwindale waste

    Further down on the page, the whole site is clickable, sortable, and otherwise interactive. Selecting a stat down below pivots all the rest of the data, so every location becomes a potential jumping off point for more comparisons.

    Irwindale VMT

    Irwindale waste

    Compare the more industrial cities to largely residential ones, and the wealthier cities start to emerge, like Bradbury. With the smallest population, but highest residential electricity use, larger homes are implied.

    Or, you can infer that La Puente is fairly "self-reliant", and people tend to stay nearby, since they travel the least:

    The editorial is pretty terrific as well: who knew that Baldwin Park is the home of the first Drive-In restaurant in California (In-N-Out), and the best performing city in the Residential Gas category?