HOT|COOL NO. 2/2020 - "Decarbonizing"


Although there are several tools for project feasibility studies, few software programs provide data and scientific calculation methods to perform strategic energy planning at a city or regional scale. That is why a group of research institutes and cities have developed the Hotmaps toolbox in the framework of a European project. City planners, consultancies and utilities can nowaccess data and calculationmodules for the entire European Union. The application of the toolbox in seven pilot areas has already brought some results and advanced their transition towards a greener future.

By Sara Giovannini, Policy and Communication Officer at Energy Cities; Lukas Kranzl, Senior Scientist at TU Wien; Marcus Hummel, Managing Director at e-think – energy research

An urgent need to support strategic planning of cities According to the European Commission, 1) “Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our times”. The European Union, but also its national and local governments are setting up ambitious plans to reach this goal. However, if we want to succeed, we should look at the heating and cooling (H&C) sector more carefully. Heating and cooling accounts for the largest share of energy consumption in cities (where 75 % of the EU population live): new technical, regulatory and governance frameworks are necessary to transition to a more sustainable and green system.

In most European cities and regions, there is a need to better identify, analyze and map resources and solutions to decrease energy demand on one hand and to meet the remaining demand with green, efficient, and cost-effective energy sources on the other hand. Thanks to strategic energy planning, including H&C, we can promote the transition to a more flexible integrated energy system with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. However, knowledge, access to data, and resources for cities to perform this analysis are often lacking.

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