...identifying key areas of concern with the help of guidelines for tackling heat island effects of urban open spaces
In order to meet EU greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2020 and 2050, greater greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be required. To solve this challenge, the main steps are to assess current energy demands, implement efficiency measures as well transition the energy supply to renewable energies. Additionally, communities must become more resilient to adapt to the effects of global climate change. To this end, the engagement of local actors and stakeholders in energy matters and the use of tools to audit heat energy and address environmental microclimate becomes increasingly important in transitioning towards a more sustainable energy path.
There is a need to create indigenous, low carbon sources of energy to reduce carbon emissions and increase security of energy supply. In this direction, renewable technologies can increase security of supply by reducing demand for fossil fuels, contribute to diversification of the fuel mix and assist in decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. At the larger urban scale, we can use the urban heat atlas tool to assess current heat demands, potential for reductions as well as potential for district heating through the use of technologies that enable an efficient use of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy. This helps to achieve the emission targets as well as to increase the economic resilience of the urban communities. Furthermore, by defining urban climate comfort zones, we can identify suitable local adaptations to thermal comfort and promote urban planning that will reduce elements of thermal stress thereby reducing the need for energy intensive control measures. At local community level, community energy schemes can provide the mechanism or structure through which communities can contribute to reduce carbon emissions, develop community capital and networks, and consequently enhance resilience through the use of smart energy infrastructure.
In this integrated project, the relationship between energy and the city at both an urban scale (urban heat atlas/urban climate zone) and community level (localised energy distribution and energy storage) is examined with the aid of effective monitoring tools that help to assess energy needs and ways of meeting these requirements. Due to their auditing capabilities, the urban heat atlas and urban climate tools provide insights into energy demands and suggest suitable planning approaches; community energy schemes provide the structure through which these approaches can be implemented as per community needs. This diverse information can be used to help develop inclusive energy management systems and solutions that work towards reduced carbon emissions, energy efficiency and security of supply.
The process of setting up inclusive energy management systems that serve to meet both community and government energy goals are examined. Focus is placed on the development of locally-responsive solutions, the growth of low carbon generation and the involvement of individuals and communities in making important contributions to maintaining energy security, tackling climate change and reducing energy costs.
Different ways of meeting energy targets for reduced carbon emissions are examined by reviewing urban requirements and community demands.
...formulating heat supply strategies on a broader urban scale, utilizing the benefits of having a high heat demand density in urban areas, which enables more efficient supply options like district heating
...proposing an organisational framework that can help local stakeholders through the process of reaching a consensus on key issues of urban metabolism
...evaluating local adaptation measures to enhance thermal comfort, micro-climate, amenity value and biodiversity in urban regions (with strategically distributed green spaces)
Collated findings are used to propose ways through which energy in the city can be audited and planned for; also, a model for a community-based decision-making structure (Energy service company - ESCo) is proposed and its benefits highlighted.
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