Problem statement

Cities consume over two-thirds of the world's energy and by extension, are responsible for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. This places cities at the heart of the discussions regarding climate change as well as smart city strategies that seek to promote the efficient use of the energy resources, increase energy security, and meet global climate targets.

Urban heat island is one of the factors contributing to challenges of urban energy. It is estimated that, on average, the cooling load of typical urban buildings is by 13% higher compared to similar buildings in rural areas. Additionally, global warming and increased frequency and strength of heatwaves in the built environment increase the temperature of cities, exacerbating the energy demand of buildings for cooling and placing a significant demand on the energy system. At the same time, “Energy Poverty”, i.e. lack of access to modern energy services or inability to afford the energy cost for cooling and heating is one of the challenges of the built environment in both developing and developed countries. Energy poverty has a detrimental impact on human health and wellbeing and puts a significant burden on household finances. Accordingly, it is paramount that we address the energy demand and efficiency in the built environment.

Solutions

While being at the heart of the climate change and energy problems, cities also have the opportunity to be integral to its solution. Cities are at the frontline of the smart-city solutions, innovative mitigation and adaptation technologies, and energy transition.  We consider the following approaches and directions in research to tackle the research questions in this field:

  • Building technologies and innovative materials for urban facades (such as cool or retroreflective materials) for urban heat mitigation and energy efficiency
  • Computational and parametric design in the built environment for achieving full urban energy efficiency
  • Energy transitions for supporting economic growth and high quality-of-life while integrating renewable energy sources and radically reducing cities’ impact on the environment
  • Urban greenery and integrated design as a solution to energy poverty and urban heat island
  • Zero Energy buildings and settlements to reduce the energy demands in the built environment and promote sustainability
  • Green and intelligent buildings and smart-city solutions for improving comfort and wellbeing in the built environment.

Projects

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