Planheat Tool: A Bottom-Up Approach at District Level to Plan Low Carbon Future Scenarios

Planheat Tool: A Bottom-Up Approach at District Level to Plan Low Carbon Future Scenarios

Matteo Porta (Rina Consulting, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7091-3.ch005
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More than two thirds of the European population live in urban areas. Cities are places where both problems emerge and solutions are found. They are fertile ground for science and technology, for culture and innovation, for individual and collective creativity, and for mitigating the impact of climate change. Cities are communities where to study environmental, social, economic impact of new energy technologies. A tool to unlock the planning potential of EU cities has been developed thanks to the collaboration of different EU research centers, SMEs and consultancy firms led by Rina Consulting involved in Planheat EU Project (funded by the European Union's H2020 Programme under grant agreement 723757). PLANHEAT Consortium developed and validated an integrated and easy-to-use, GIS-based, and open source tool to support local authorities in selecting, simulating and comparing alternative low carbon and economically sustainable scenarios for heating and cooling.
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The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement (EU Commission - Climate Action, 2020). EU Member States are required to develop national long-term strategies on how they plan to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and EU objectives. These plans need to be updated every five years and they could be made up of an ensemble of regional or local plans and strategies. Member States have the commitment to encourage municipalities and other public bodies to adopt integrated and sustainable energy efficiency plans with clear objectives, to involve citizens in their development and implementation and to adequately inform them about their content and progress in achieving objectives. On the other side, Smart Energy City (SEC) is an emerging urban development strategy in Europe and collaborative planning (an holistic approach that includes different assets of cities’ sustainable development) is one of the main elements (Mosannenzadeh, et al., 2017). More and more cities across EU are participating to initiatives and EU funded projects related to matching smartness concepts and solutions and urban planning (Smart Cities Information System, 2020) engaging local stakeholders in their local energy measures (Krog, 2019). The Guidebook 'How to develop a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP)' published in 2018 by JRC (Bertoldi, 2018), provides detailed, step-by-step guidance to local authorities to develop effective plans including smart, sustainable and inclusive solutions thus providing elements for the inclusion of smartness concept in the energy planning.

An extensive literary review identify with the term smart city, an umbrella concept that contains a number of subthemes such as smart urbanism, smart economy, sustainable and smart environment, smart technology, smart energy, smart mobility, smart health, and so on (Cocchia, 2014), (Trindade, et al., 2017), (Gudes, Kendall, Yigitcanlar, Pathak, & Baum, 2010), (Lara, Costa, Furlani, & Yigitcanlar, 2016). Smart planning, a new dimension of urban planning linked to procedural innovation in the management of territorial transformations and technological innovation of the generation, processing and distribution of data the creation of new “digital environments” such as GIS, BIM, models of augmented and mixed reality, useful for describing changes in human settlement in real time, represent the on-top element that can include all the instances of a smart vision for a sustainable development.

According to art. 14 of Directive 2012/27/EU (, 2012), Member States should carry out a comprehensive assessment of the potential for high-efficiency cogeneration and district heating and cooling in order to define potentials and strategies for the decarbonization of H&C systems. Indeed, the local dimension (cities and regions) of heating and cooling strategy is crucial due to the fact that Europe's level of urbanization is expected to increase to approximately 83.7% in 2050 (ONU, n.d.). Thus, the solutions of the future should be tailored to the local conditions such as: specific territorial characteristics and climate conditions, current and forecasted end-user’s demands in locations with sufficiently high population/activity densities and in the proximity of heating or cooling sources, opportunities for further development of district heating and cooling infrastructure as well as of integration of high efficient cogeneration plants, available Renewable Energy Sources, available waste heat sources at urban and industrial level. However, public bodies face the lack of appropriate easy-to-use tools to support them in the definition, simulation and evaluation of suitable strategies for sustainable heating and cooling tailored to local conditions for achieving the ambitious targets set-up in their local plans (Maya-Drysdale, Krog Jensen, & Vad Mathiesen, 2020). Indeed state of the art tools for energy planning are often designed for energy experts rather than for public authorities, are not user friendly, don’t allow the visualization of maps for better integration into a comprehensive integrated urban plan and are often expensive.

Key Terms in this Chapter

JRC: Joint research centre.

KPIs: Key performance indicators.

SM: Simulation module.

OS: Operating system.

GUI: Graphical user interface.

GIS: Geographic information system.

H&C: Heating and cooling.

SMM: Supply mapping module.

DHW: Domestic hot water.

DMM: District mapping module.

CAPEX: Capital expenditure.

OPEX: Operative expenditure.

DPM: District planning module.

DHCRO: District heating and cooling route optimizer.

SECAP: Sustainable energy and climate action plan.

BIM: Building information modelling.

DHCN: District heating and cooling network.

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