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Published on May 27th, 2009 | by Reenita Malhotra

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Autodesk helps cities track their carbon emissions

Last week, at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul, Autodesk, Inc., a world leader in 2D and 3D design and engineering software, announced that it will collaborate with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and the Microsoft Corporation, to provide visualization technology for Project Two Degrees. Project Two Degrees is an Internet-based application that provides cities with a set of tools to measure, compare, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a local level.

Autodesk joins forces with the Clinton Foundation to build sustainable cities

Autodesk will provide the technology, initially based on Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise, that will act as the model-based visualization environment used to view, evaluate and compare the results of analysis and monitoring in the C40 city. Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise software is a powerful mapping solution for delivering information more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively via the web.

Green Building Elements had a chance to speak with Brett Smith of Autodesk and Olivia Ross of the Clinton Foundation.  Here is what they had to say.

GBE: How does the software track emissions?

Brett Smith (Autodesk): The Project 2° Emissions Tracker is designed to measure as many municipal and corporate activities as possible. Users enter data on emission producing activities such as fuel and electricity consumption, vehicle traffic, waste production, industrial processes and air and sea vessel fuel use. The software then converts the data into greenhouse gases, including tons of CO2 equivalent, taking into consideration the source and type of activity.

Algorithms in the calculators are consistent with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.” Fuel mix per region is pre-loaded into the calculators and will be updated yearly. Users can customize the data and coefficients for the calculations if new local information becomes available. Data is managed in a private and secure environment that allows administrators to choose what data to publish and share with other users.

GBE: Which cities will feature in the pilot program? Why have these cities been chosen?

Olivia Ross (Clinton Foundation): In the initial pilot phase, participating cities in the C40 have received the first invitations to begin using the Project 2° Emissions Tracker software. For a current list of participating cities in the C40, please visit http://c40cities.org/. CCI serves as the action arm of the C40, an association of large cities around the world that have pledged to accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

GBE: Is this a consumer focused technology or a trade focused product?

Brett Smith (Autodesk): Project 2° was created to give cities around the world practical tools to measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The project’s Web-based Emissions Tracker software enables cities to calculate the carbon footprint of both municipal operations and the communities they service in a uniform way. Additionally, the tool enables cities to plan meaningful actions that save energy and money and that make a profound impact in the fight against climate change

GBE: Has Autodesk embarked on any other sustainability oriented projects?  If so, what are they?

Brett Smith (Autodesk):  The sustainability initiative at Autodesk is focused on a number of projects related to sustainable business & operations, sustainable design products, as well as strategic alliances and partnerships.

In 2008, Autodesk became the founding sponsor of AskNature.org, the world’s first biomimicry database, featuring biology-inspired design strategies. Architects, designers and engineers can access and harness nature’s billions of years of evolution through this free, online public-domain library, filled with some of nature’s best strategies, organized by function and explained with illustrations and in language relevant to designers. AskNature.org is a project of the Biomimicry Institute, founded by Janine Benyus.

Autodesk believes that biomimicry, as a design paradigm, can provide our customers with design intelligence to help them make smarter design decisions – whether they are designing a building, a train, a shoe or a city. Looking ahead, Autodesk’s goal is to make biomimetic information accessible to a wide range of users globally. Autodesk product teams are investigating technology intersections, including those with the Autodesk® Seek web service, which has already made select biomimetic products available to designers.

You can find more about Autodesk’s commitment to biomimicry, at www.autodesk.com/biomimicry and about its sustainability initiatives at www.autodesk.com/green

GBE: What is Microsoft’s role in the project? 

Brett Smith (Autodesk): The Clinton Climate Initiative created Project 2°. Development and deployment of the Project 2° tools are a result of collaboration with numerous businesses and organizations – Microsoft is working with CCI to manage the development of the software for Project 2°.

GBE: What is the Autodesk Mapguide Enterprise?  How does this work?

Brett Smith (Autodesk):  Autodesk MapGuide® Enterprise software provides web delivery of design and spatial data for applications such as operations visualization, vehicle tracking, mobile work orders, and field data access.  Mobile web access helps address evergreen initiatives by minimizing the need to print all of the paper maps for mobile field crews. Autodesk MapGuide® Enterprise software technology will provide the model-based visualization environment used to view, evaluate and compare the results of analysis and monitoring in the C40 Cities.

GBE: How will the tool “save money, conserve energy, and track tangible progress?”

Brett Smith (Autodesk):  The Project 2° emissions tracker application was designed for city administrators to help them see the broader view of the global climate challenge and to make the biggest impact possible at the local level. The software will help them to track their respective city’s GHG emissions. With this knowledge, they can create action plans to improve the efficiency of the energy used by community and city operations, such as transportation, buildings, or waste management.  Using the Project 2° application, cities can track and report on the effectiveness of their reduction programs.

Visit here to view a demo of the emissions tracker software.

 




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