- Buildings Guide
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Including energy efficiency considerations in spatial planning and urban district planning is an important means to harness the easy energy savings possible in new build and reduce primary energy consumption through early design decisions such as for siting and microclimate, building form and orientation, integration of energy-efficient cogeneration of heat and power and/or renewable energy supply, etc. Apart from the energy used in buildings, these planning processes are highly relevant for reducing transport needs and optimising ways of transport, with their associated energy demand.
Regulations on the planning combined with adapted vocational and university curricula and professional training must ensure that energy efficiency is adequately considered in infrastructure planning processes.
In general, integrating energy efficient specifications, especially, building form, orientation, and siting, into urban district planning has a high potential for saving energy in a very cost-effective way.Integrating energy efficiency into urban district planning needs to be combined with other policies or measures to enhance its effectiveness, such as providing information to target groups, capacity building, regulations, and incentives for energy efficiency investment.
identifying and encouraging the formation of mutually beneficial local energy partnerships (Ho 2006).
Worldwide implementation status
It has already been implemented in many countries around the world. In Germany, the city of Münster, the Kronsberg district of Hannover, and the Vauban district of Freiburg, all set good examples for energy-efficiency and urban and district planning (von Knorre/ Medven 2009). In China, for example, In Wuxi Taihu New City district, developers should agree on the requirements of energy-saving, resource-saving, green roof area of buildings to be constructed in certain land areas specified by the planning authority in order to obtain the land.
Including energy-efficiency consideration in spatial planning and urban district planning can be adopted at national, regional, and local level.
If legally possible at the local level, it could also target the construction of low energy buildings, with higher energy efficiency requirements than the existing legal minimum energy performance standards or some minimum requirements where such legal standards do not exist.
Energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning needs to be combined with the following policies or measures to ensure its effective implementation:
Provision of information: Local authority can provide target information to the public about the benefits of urban district planning integrating energy efficiency, because public participation is vital, for example, for the formation of mutually beneficial local energy partnerships (Ho 2006). Besides, sound demonstration projects showing the cost-effectiveness of integrating energy-efficient consideration to urban district planning may encourage decision-makers of other municipalities or districts to take similar actions. In addition, developers also need to be informed about the monitoring & evaluation approach employed by the local authorities, extra costs involved and benefits to be expected, funding possibilities, etc. (City of Hannover 2004).
Capacity building: Integrating energy-efficiency consideration into urban district planning can be included in the vocational and university curricula and professional training of urban planners and architects so that they become aware of and gradually improve the energy-efficiency aspect in planning.
Regulations: Issuing regulations (including penalties for non-compliance) that obligate the investors to construct buildings with certain energy efficiency level in order to obtain the land can enhance the effectiveness of the planning. A regulation from the national government to the local and if necessary also the provincial authorities will be important to mainstream the practice of energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning throughout a country.
Incentives and financing for energy efficiency investments: To successfully implement some specifications, such as integrating low carbon energy supply and constructing low energy buildings, suitable financial instruments need to be available (B.& S.U. et al. 2011).
The following pre-conditions are necessary to implement energy efficient spatial planning and urban district planning
Agencies or other actors responsible for implementation
An agency/organisation that co-ordinates policies and activities of these relevant actors should be in place. For example, the municipal/district government, its planning department, or a non-profit organisation can lead the co-ordination (City of Hannover 2004).
The integration of energy-efficiency consideration in urban district planning does not need a specific funding scheme. However, suitable financial instruments need to be available for successfully implementing some specifications, such as integrating low carbon energy supply and constructing low energy buildings (B.& S.U. et al. 2011).
Energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning can have a quantified target, for example, the percentage/absolute amount of buildings achieving specific energy saving levels, the percentage/absolute amount of energy provided by renewable energy or district heating, the amount of energy saved per year, and GHG emission reduction per year (City of Hannover 2004).
International co-operations that share best practices of energy-efficient urban district planning can encourage policy-makers at national, regional, and local level to take similar actions or to improve their current planning practices.
Both energy consumption and low carbon energy supply over time after the implementation of the urban district plan need to be monitored to evaluate primary energy savings.
The primary energy saving is evaluated against a baseline of primary energy consumption without integrating energy efficiency into urban district planning.
However, in case that energy consumption data before the implementation of urban planning is not available (e.g. construction of new district), computer modelling can be used to develop a reference scenario that assumes previous energy use patterns and the energy efficiency status of the buildings in the district (Hertle et al. 2003).
Design for sustainability aspects
Except for building energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment, the energy-efficient urban district plan can also be relevant for following sustainable aspects: reducing transport needs and optimising ways of transport, soil management, rainwater management, waste management, recycling existing building blocks, space saving construction, water-saving, etc.. In addition, stakeholder participation in planning processes promotes the social dimension of sustainability (City of Hannover 2004; von Knorre/ Medven 2009).
Besides the primary energy savings, residents also benefit from low energy costs, short distances to specific infrastructures, and a high standard of living (e.g. due to good air quality, green areas, etc.).
The potentially achievable energy savings highly depends on the requirements specified in the urban district plan. However, the potentials of some specific measures can be estimated. For example, the energy consumption of a multi-storey house is 20% lower than that of 5-row houses, under the similar energy standard, given the row-houses’ lower compactness. Difference in energy gains between houses with bad orientation and an optimized orientation can be up to 15% (von Knorre/ Medven 2009).
In general, integrating energy efficient specifications, such as building form, orientation, and siting, into urban district plan has a high potential for energy savings at a low effort and cost (Burns/ Eubank 2002). On the other hand, the implementation of low carbon energy supply and the construction of low energy buildings can be costly. The costs for investors or the government vary among different countries and regions, depending on the national and local framework, such as financial supports.
Since the potential energy savings and expected costs depend on the requirements specified in urban district plans as well as national/local framework, it is difficult to generalize the expected net benefits. However, integrating energy efficient specifications into an urban district plan has a high potential for saving energy in a very cost-effective way
Sustainable urban district development: demonstration project Hannover, Kronsberg
Type: Energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning