Special Issue "Smart Cities and Positive Energy Districts: Urban Perspectives in 2020"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy and Buildings".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Paola Clerici Maestosi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
ENEA - SMART ENERGY DIVISION, Energy Technologies Department, via Martiri di Monte Sole 4, 40129 Bologna, Italy
Interests: sustainable development; sustainability; urban development; urban planning; urban sustainability; renewable energy technologies; land use planning; architecture; sustainable architecture
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The FOREWORD of Special issue 1|2018 highlighted the aim of this Special Issue Series, which was—and still is—to support the growth of our research network in the EC framework.

According to this, our ambition is to publish the most promising research and innovation projects that EERA JPSC partners set up in the framework of H2020 Programme, to draw attention to the fact that EERA JPSC is one of the strongest voices in this research area in Europe capable of highlighting different points of view and solutions.

The Scientific Board for the Special Issue Series invites high achievers, professors, researchers, and scholars to contribute their original works in the form of applied research and case studies (national/international RD&I projects; real solutions at national level implemented/in operation or implementation stage or planning stage) as well as theoretical studies on the following topics:

  • Smart energy communities supporting the low carbon energy transition
  • Smart cities experiences
  • Positive energy district dimension

Dr. Paola Clerici Maestosi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Smart Cities and Positive Energy Districts: Urban Perspectives in 2020
Energies 2021, 14(9), 2351; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092351 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 229
Abstract
This Special Issue of Energies “Smart Cities and Positive Energy Districts: Urban Perspectives in 2020” introduce contemporary research on Smart Cities and on Positive Energy Districts. The topic highlights the variety of research within this field: from the analysis of 61 Positive Energy [...] Read more.
This Special Issue of Energies “Smart Cities and Positive Energy Districts: Urban Perspectives in 2020” introduce contemporary research on Smart Cities and on Positive Energy Districts. The topic highlights the variety of research within this field: from the analysis of 61 Positive Energy Districts cases to papers illustrating the Positive Energy Districts dimension or Smart Energy Communities supporting low carbon energy transition as well as selected Smart Cities Experiences. The focus is thus given on how RD&I stakeholders and Municipalities are facing sustainable urban development challenges. An overview of Horizon Europe RD&I program on sustainable urban areas is provided. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Towards 100 Positive Energy Districts in Europe: Preliminary Data Analysis of 61 European Cases
Energies 2020, 13(22), 6083; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13226083 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 448
Abstract
Positive Energy Districts and Neighborhoods (PEDs) are seen as a promising pathway towards sustainable urban areas. Several cities have already taken up such PED-related developments. To support such approaches, European countries joined forces to achieve 100 PEDs until 2025 through a comprehensive research [...] Read more.
Positive Energy Districts and Neighborhoods (PEDs) are seen as a promising pathway towards sustainable urban areas. Several cities have already taken up such PED-related developments. To support such approaches, European countries joined forces to achieve 100 PEDs until 2025 through a comprehensive research and innovation program. A solid understanding and consideration of cities’ strategies, experiences and project features serve as the basis for developing and designing the PED program. JPI Urban Europe has been collecting information on projects towards sustainable urbanization and the energy transition across Europe. The collected cases are summarized in a PED Booklet whose update was recently published on the JPI Urban Europe website. Results presented in this paper provide insights from the analysis of 61 projects in Europe and offer recommendations for future PED developments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Possibilities of Transition from Centralized Energy Systems to Distributed Energy Sources in Large Polish Cities
Energies 2020, 13(22), 6007; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13226007 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 417
Abstract
The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the possible transition routes from the existing centralized energy systems in Polish cities to modern low-emission distributed energy systems based on locally available energy sources, mainly solar energy. To evaluate these possibilities, this paper [...] Read more.
The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the possible transition routes from the existing centralized energy systems in Polish cities to modern low-emission distributed energy systems based on locally available energy sources, mainly solar energy. To evaluate these possibilities, this paper first presents the current structure of energy grids and heating networks in Polish cities. A basic review of energy consumption in the building sector is given, with emphasis on residential buildings. This paper deals with the evaluation of the effectiveness of operation of central district heating systems and heat distribution systems; predicts the improvement in the effectiveness of the energy production, distribution, and use; and analyzes the possible integration of the existing system with distributed energy sources. The possibility of the introduction of photovoltaic (PV) systems to reduce energy consumption by residential buildings in a big city (Warsaw) is analyzed. It is assumed that some residential buildings, selected because of their good solar insolation conditions, can be equipped with new PV installations. Electricity produced by the PV systems can be used on site and/or transferred to the grid. PV energy can be used not only for lighting and electrical appliances in homes but also to drive micro- and small-scale heat pumps. It is assumed that the PV modules are located on roofs of residential buildings and are treated as individual micro scale energy systems of installed capacity not larger than 50 kW for each of the buildings. In such a case, the micro energy system can use the grid as a virtual electricity store of 70% or 80% efficiency and can produce and transfer electricity using a net-metering scheme. The results show that the application of micro-scale PV systems would help residential buildings to be more energy efficient, reduce energy consumption based on fossil fuels significantly, and even if the grid cannot be used as a virtual electricity store then the direct self-consumption of buildings can reduce their energy consumption by 30% on average. Development of micro-scale PV systems seems to be one of the most efficient options for a quick transformation of the centralized energy system in large Polish cities to a distributed energy one based on individual renewable energy sources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Methodology for Quantifying the Energy Saving Potentials Combining Building Retrofitting, Solar Thermal Energy and Geothermal Resources
Energies 2020, 13(22), 5970; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13225970 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 562
Abstract
New technological, societal and legislative developments are necessary to support transitions to low-carbon energy systems. The building sector is responsible for almost 36% of the global final energy and 40% of CO2 emissions, so this sector has high potential to contribute to [...] Read more.
New technological, societal and legislative developments are necessary to support transitions to low-carbon energy systems. The building sector is responsible for almost 36% of the global final energy and 40% of CO2 emissions, so this sector has high potential to contribute to the expansion of positive energy districts. With this aim, a new digital Geographic Information System (GIS) platform has been developed to quantify the energy savings obtained through the implementation of refurbishment measures in residential buildings, including solar thermal collectors and geothermal technologies and assuming the postal district as the representative unit for the territory. Solar resources have been estimated from recently updated solar irradiation maps, whereas geothermal resources have been estimated from geological maps. Urbanistic data have been estimated from official cadastre databases. For representative buildings, the annual energy demand and savings are obtained and compared with reference buildings, both for heating and cooling. The GIS platform provides information on average results for each postal district, as well as estimates for buildings with particular parameters. The methodology has been applied to the Asturian region, an area of about 10,600 km2 on the Cantabrian coast of Spain, with complex orography and scattered population, qualified as a region in energy transition. High rehabilitation potentials have been achieved for buildings constructed before the implementation of the Spanish Technical Building Code of 2006, being higher for isolated houses than for collective buildings. Some examples of results are introduced in specific localities of different climatic zones. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smiling Earth—Raising Awareness among Citizens for Behaviour Change to Reduce Carbon Footprint
Energies 2020, 13(22), 5932; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13225932 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 452
Abstract
This paper describes Smiling Earth, a mobile app to increase citizens’ awareness about their own carbon footprint, by integrating energy and transport-related data. The main aim of our work is to explore the ways in which Information and Communication Technologies could help raise [...] Read more.
This paper describes Smiling Earth, a mobile app to increase citizens’ awareness about their own carbon footprint, by integrating energy and transport-related data. The main aim of our work is to explore the ways in which Information and Communication Technologies could help raise awareness and educate and motivate citizens about their actions and their consequences on the environment. Smiling Earth provides feedback to users by visualising data about their daily activities with the aim to motivate citizens to change their behaviour to reduce their CO2 emissions by adopting a healthier lifestyle. The value of the Smiling Earth for individuals, cities and communities is discussed. The feedback from an expert evaluation and how Smiling Earth could contribute to Positive Energy Districts are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation Framework for Energy Flexibility Technologies in Alkmaar and Évora
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5811; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215811 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 432
Abstract
As energy generation based on renewable resources does not always match energy consumption profiles, Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) should embody energy flexibility technologies to decrease possible negative impacts on existing grids due to, e.g., reverse power flows. As part of the EU H2020 [...] Read more.
As energy generation based on renewable resources does not always match energy consumption profiles, Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) should embody energy flexibility technologies to decrease possible negative impacts on existing grids due to, e.g., reverse power flows. As part of the EU H2020 Smart Cities and Communities project POCITYF, the cities Alkmaar (NL) and Évora (PT) aim to support the deployment and market uptake of such districts and in doing so demonstrate innovative and integrated technologies to enable flexibility in the energy system. This paper addresses implementation conditions for energy flexibility technologies that help cities to engender the expected impact and ensure replication of these technologies to other sites. It aims to guide both urban planners and technology solution providers through pitfalls and opportunities that can appear during the design and implementation of PEDs. Taking this into consideration, the RUGGEDISED innovation and implementation framework for smart city technology was taken as a starting point to describe and analyze the experiences in Alkmaar and Évora. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Energy in a Smart City: Utopia or Reality? Evidence from Poland
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5795; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215795 - 05 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
The main principles of the smart city concept rely on modern, environmentally friendly technologies. One manifestation of the smart city concept is investments in renewable energy sources (RES), which are currently a popular direction in urban transformation. It makes sense, therefore, to analyse [...] Read more.
The main principles of the smart city concept rely on modern, environmentally friendly technologies. One manifestation of the smart city concept is investments in renewable energy sources (RES), which are currently a popular direction in urban transformation. It makes sense, therefore, to analyse how Polish cities are coping with this challenge and whether they are including the implementation of RES facilities in their development strategies. The aim of the article is to analyze and assess the level at which renewable energy facilities are being implemented or developed in the urban space of cities in Poland as a pillar of the implementation of the smart city concept. This goal is realized on two levels: the theoretical (analysis of strategic documents) and the practical (analysis of the capacity of RES installations, questionnaire studies). The study shows that renewable energy installations are an important part of the development strategies of Polish cities, and especially of those that aspire to be termed “smart cities”. Moreover, it is shown that the predominant RES facilities are those based on solar energy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Development and Parameters of a Public Transport System Which Uses Low-Carbon Energy: The Evidence from Poland
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5779; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215779 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 397
Abstract
Efforts toward a low-emission economy constitute a common challenge for Polish cities. Solutions are being sought to support Polish, medium-sized cities, that is, cities with about 140,000 inhabitants, to implement and develop low-carbon energy in their public transport systems. This paper proposes and [...] Read more.
Efforts toward a low-emission economy constitute a common challenge for Polish cities. Solutions are being sought to support Polish, medium-sized cities, that is, cities with about 140,000 inhabitants, to implement and develop low-carbon energy in their public transport systems. This paper proposes and explores a sustainable urban development card for a Polish city, namely, Zielona Góra, the use of which will enable the effects of a public transport system using low-carbon energy to be monitored. This research was based on the two main areas of analysis of a system of low-carbon energy and public transport and were formulated as: (1) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and (2) Indicators of the Satisfaction Rate of Public Transport Passengers (SPTP). This paper used literature studies to determine SDGs as well a questionnaire-cum-survey, which was conducted on a sample of 1022 public transport passengers in Zielona Góra, Poland, to determine SPTP. The results were verified by a real case study of a Polish city, which, in 2019, had the largest fleet of electric buses in Poland; a statistical analysis was also conducted using correlation coefficients. It was determined that the proposed approach allows for low carbon energy public transport to be constantly monitored and analyzed. In the long run, this could be a good benchmark as to how cities might improve their level of sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Testing Platforms as Drivers for Positive-Energy Living Laboratories
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5621; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215621 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 387
Abstract
The development of city-driven urban laboratories was considered a priority by the European Commission through Action 3.2 of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan. In this context, positive-energy districts laboratories could take the role of urban drivers toward innovation and sustainability in cities. These [...] Read more.
The development of city-driven urban laboratories was considered a priority by the European Commission through Action 3.2 of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan. In this context, positive-energy districts laboratories could take the role of urban drivers toward innovation and sustainability in cities. These urban labs can provide real-life facilities with innovative co-creation processes and, at the same time, provide testing, experimenting, and prototyping of innovative technologies. In this scope, the authors of this work want to share the very first results of an empirical study using the testing facilities provided by the members of the Joint Program on Smart Cities of the European Energy Research Alliance as positive-energy districts laboratories. Six climatic regions are studied as boundary conditions, covering temperate and continental climates. Four scales of action are analyzed: Building, campus, urban, and virtual, with building and campus scales being the most frequent. Most of these laboratories focus on energy applications followed by networks, storage systems, and energy loads characterization. Many of these laboratories are regulated by ICT technologies but few of them consider social aspects, lighting, waste, and water systems. A SWOT analysis is performed to highlight the critical points of the testing facilities in order to replicate optimized configurations under other conditions. This statistical study provides guidelines on integration, localization, functionality, and technology modularity aspects. The use of these guidelines will ensure optimal replications, as well as identify possibilities and opportunities to share testing facilities of/between the positive-energy district laboratories. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective
Sustainable Urban Areas for 2030 in a Post-COVID-19 Scenario: Focus on Innovative Research and Funding Frameworks to Boost Transition towards 100 Positive Energy Districts and 100 Climate-Neutral Cities
Energies 2021, 14(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010216 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Cities generate about 85% of the EU’s GDP. As such, they are key players in shaping and providing technological and social innovations but also environmental impact. Thus, they must urgently engage in unprecedented systemic transformational and bold transitions towards sustainability and climate neutrality. [...] Read more.
Cities generate about 85% of the EU’s GDP. As such, they are key players in shaping and providing technological and social innovations but also environmental impact. Thus, they must urgently engage in unprecedented systemic transformational and bold transitions towards sustainability and climate neutrality. The contribution—taking into account that the concepts of community resilience and urban transition have changed as a consequence of COVID-19—critically discusses innovative frameworks and funding opportunities that Horizon Europe will put in place to boost sustainable urban areas in Europe, driving a transition to 100 Positive Energy Districts and 100 climate-neutral cities by 2030. Full article
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