Net-Zero Energy Districts (NZEDs) are city districts in which the annual amount of CO2
emissions released is balanced by emissions removed from the atmosphere. NZEDs constitute a major component in a new generation of “smart-green cities”, which deploy both smart city technologies and renewable energy technologies. NZEDs promote environmental sustainability, contribute to cleaner environments and reduce global warming and the threats from climate change. This paper describes a model to assess the feasibility of the transition of city districts to self-sufficient NZEDs, based on locally produced renewable energy suitable for cities. It also aims to identify threshold conditions that allow for a city district to become a self-sufficient NZED using smart city systems, renewable energy, and nature-based solutions. The significance of transition to self-sufficient NZEDs is extremely important as it considerably decentralises and multiplies the efforts for carbon-neutral cities. The methodology we follow combines the literature review, model design, model feed with data, and many simulations to assess the outcome of the model in various climate, social, technology, and district settings. In the conclusion, we assess whether the transition to NZEDs with solar panel energy locally produced is feasible, we identify thresholds in terms of climate, population density, and solar conversion efficiency, and assess the compatibility of NZEDs with compact city planning principles.
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