Pollination & Sustainability Analytics (Operational Carbon)


As a data professional, I’m exploring an emerging class of professionals coming onto the scene called ‘Sustainability Analytics’.

Thanks to the latest Big Data tools and techniques, companies can now hire Sustainability Analytics professionals to conduct sustainability analysis on vast quantities of data.

Given this context, I’m particularly interested in how we can leverage specific tools like Pollination for operational carbon analysis. Currently, we have abundant databases for analyzing embodied carbon and using that data in data pipelines; however, There seems to be a noticeable gap when it comes to operational carbon.

Has anyone at Pollination explored this area? I plan on connecting Pollination to my existing Analytics Dashboards via its SQL output.

For more background, here is a useful guide: Deloitte Sustainability Analytics Guide.

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Hi @moses-woolpert ,

This is a very open-ended question so I don’t know how useful my response will be:

But I guess the answer is “yes, for buildings in the US, primarily because NREL has explored it and because we plug into the stuff that NREL makes.”

There’s a HB Carbon Emission Intensity component in LBT that will give you the kgCO2/m2 values for your simulation similar to how the HB End Use Intensity component works. The Carbon Intensity component uses the Cambria data that NREL assembled, which takes into account the location in the US as well as the year that you’re looking at (with projections up to 2050).

There’s also an OpenStudio Measure that NREL maintains, which does the same calculation as the Carbon Intensity component but can also give you hourly outputs for hourly carbon emissions, which try to account for the fact that electricity is dirtier in peak hours. You can use that measure with any energy simulation on Pollination and you can see a sample of it being used under the hood of a dragonfly/URBANopt simulation in this sample Grasshopper file.


Can i find the openstudio measure for Carbon Intensity on Pollination as one of the ‘recipes’?

@chriswmackey @mostapha

An efficient way to use the Carbon measure is with Pollination for Grasshopper!

I wasn’t sure how to use the measure inside of Pollinationinterface.

Hi @moses-woolpert,

Can you open a separate topic for this one? @chriswmackey should be able to help.

Thanks, @mostapha . I think @moses-woolpert 's question is still relevant to this thread but the title of the thread was not the most accurate and the question is specifically about operational carbon (I just changed the title).

@moses-woolpert ,

You can run any number of measures as part of any energy simulation with Pollination or LBT Grasshopper. You will see that the energy simulation recipes have an input for measures_. You just load the measure into Grasshopper using the HB Load Measure component. You plug the path to the folder of the measure into the component. This will expose the measure arguments to you so you can change them (if you want). Then, you plug that into the recipe to have the measure run as part of the simulation.

Here is a sample of how to do it for the operational carbon measure (note that you’ll just have to replace the path to the measure with wherever you have downloaded it to your machine:

This will give you a plot of hourly carbon emissions in MegaTons (note that this sample is just a shoe box):

shoe_box_carbon_emissions.gh (74.0 KB)


Thank you @chriswmackey for sharing this example code. Can you please share the measure used here as I am not able to find this measure in NREL BCL website

Hi @asisnath ,
Try this link.