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Integrative, multidisciplinary, evidence based and participatory approach to implement ambitious energy and climate goals in cities

Panel: 5. A smart new start for sustainable communities

Deborah Zulliger, Switzerland
Martin Jakob, TEP Energy, Switzerland
Benjamin Sunarjo, TEP Energy, Switzerland


Cities and municipalities increasingly seek to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero and mitigate local air pollution. Related environmental and regulatory changes have increased the complexity of challenges cities, energy utilities, and real estate owners are faced with:

• How, and at which cost can ambitious energy and climate related goals be reached?

• How can urban plans addressing these goals be developed while simultaneously meeting urban development requirements?

• How can the long-term economic and environmental performance of the building stock be balanced by tapping local energy potentials? To which extent are electricity, gas, and thermal networks needed and cost-effective to tap these potentials?

These challenges are usually addressed individually and independently from each other using instruments that lack an interdisciplinary approach. Lack of coherence and transparency of data and a lack of comprehensive approaches are key barriers in transforming the building and related energy sector in urban contexts.

The paper describes an integrative, multidisciplinary, evidence based and participatory approach to address these challenges. First, together with a moderator, procedures and boundary conditions are explored and agreed upon to create a common ground. Then, a spatial urban building energy model (sUBEM) is used to steer the decision-making process that involves all relevant stakeholders such as urban planners, urban energy utilities, grid and network operators, building portfolio owners, tenants associations, building code designers and implementers as well as energy and climate policy makers.

Adopting a scenario technique, different policy options are defined in close collaboration with these actors, and the impact of these options on various actor-relevant indicators are estimated. Based on these findings, decisions are taken, goals and policy instruments are agreed on and urban and energy planning are implemented.

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Download this presentation as pdf: 5-187-21_Jakob_SLIDES_pres.pdf