Contribution of Smart City Solutions to Positive Energy Districts and Climate-Neutral Cities

A special issue of Smart Cities (ISSN 2624-6511).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 11175

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Carbon Neutral Solutions, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., 02150 Espoo, Finland
Interests: smart cities; sustainable urban development; carbon-neutral cities; evaluation; indicators; decision support tools; multi-criteria decision analysis
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Guest Editor
Institute for Renewable Energy, Eurac Research, 39100 Bolzano/Bozen, Italy
Interests: PED; urban planning; smart city strategies; climate-neutral cities; urban innovation; multiple benefits; appraisal and evaluation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As nations are lagging behind the globally agreed climate goals set in the Paris Agreement, there is a need for more ambitious solutions. Cities have become key players in climate action as they provide the right scale to implement policies into concrete actions in response to societal needs. In consequence, the following goals have been set in Europe: 100 positive energy districts (PEDs) by 2025 and 100 climate-neutral cities (CNCs) by 2030. These goals call for immediate concrete action and innovative new approaches.

Smart city interventions address urban challenges with integrated solutions that are expected to yield energy resource use efficiency, resilience towards climate change, as well as positive environmental, economic and social outcomes (i.e., multiple benefits). They thus have important potential for PED and CNC development.

In this context, this Special Issue is seeking contributions that show progress towards energy positiveness or carbon neutrality at the urban level. Submissions on the following topics are particularly welcome:

  • Case studies on positive energy districts (PEDs) and climate-neutral cities (CNCs);
  • Impact assessment methods and appraisal and evaluation tools related to PEDs and CNCs;
  • Indicators and sustainability frameworks for PEDs and CNCs;
  • Integrated environmental, economic, and social analyses of PEDs and CNCs;
  • Planning and decision support tools (including multi-criteria decision analysis and GIS-based spatial approaches) for PEDs and CNCs;
  • Simulation and modelling of and scenario-based approaches to PEDs and CNCs.

This Special Issue, promoted by the International Energy Agency Energy in Buildings and Communities Annex 83 “Positive Energy Districts” (Subtask-C) in cooperation with the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action EU PED-NET (WG3) and EU Smart Cities and Communities projects (Monitoring & Evaluation Task group) will focus on tackling the fundamental aspects of sustainability assessment in positive energy districts, proposing advancements within the field, and promoting a holistic approach aimed at breaking the silos of knowledge as the only way forward. Authors participating in the Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions - SSPCR 2022 international conference 18–22 July 2022 in Bolzano (Italy) (see https://www.sspcr.eurac.edu/) are invited to submit their papers to this Special Issue (see dedicated session “Towards a Sustainability Assessment of Positive Energy Districts: Methodologies, Case Studies and Applications" https://www.sspcr.eurac.edu/session-towards-a-sustainability-assessment-of-positive-energy-districts/).

Mr. Aapo Huovila
Dr. Adriano Bisello
Dr. Francesco Guarino
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Smart Cities 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.

Keywords

  • positive energy districts
  • climate-neutral cities
  • smart cities
  • assessment methods
  • key performance indicators
  • impact assessment

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

23 pages, 4138 KiB  
Article
Renewable Energy Communities in Positive Energy Districts: A Governance and Realisation Framework in Compliance with the Italian Regulation
by Riccardo Trevisan, Emilio Ghiani and Fabrizio Pilo
Smart Cities 2023, 6(1), 563-585; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities6010026 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4296
Abstract
Renewable energy communities, first outlined in the European Directives and recently transposed into the Italian regulatory framework, are introduced as innovative entities capable of fostering cooperation between active and passive users involved in the production, sharing, and use of locally produced energy according [...] Read more.
Renewable energy communities, first outlined in the European Directives and recently transposed into the Italian regulatory framework, are introduced as innovative entities capable of fostering cooperation between active and passive users involved in the production, sharing, and use of locally produced energy according to innovative management schemes. Renewable energy communities empower the end-customers. Citizens and legal entities are committed to a rational and economical use of energy to achieve the community’s climate neutrality goals and pursue the ecological and energy transition objectives defined in the national recovery and resilience plan. In the future, a significant number of energy communities different actors participating from the residential, industrial, commercial, and tertiary sectors are expected to develop within city districts or in suburban settings. This paper proposes and develops a methodology capable of bridging the complexity that can characterise the prototyping, implementation, and management of an energy community within a positive energy district. The approach presented here can also be extended to other application contexts in urban or rural settings. Requirements and best practices for administrative, technical, and technological management have been identified to achieve this goal. Italy is one of the first states to embed in its regulatory framework the European Directives regarding renewable energy communities. These will have a significant impact on network management models and will provide new ways for creating social inclusion that may help achieve climate sustainability goals. A governance model has been formalised for the empowerment of energy community members, outlining a framework useful for planning the proper implementation of a renewable energy community according to current Italian regulations. Full article
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23 pages, 2407 KiB  
Article
Planning Principles for Integrating Community Empowerment into Zero-Net Carbon Transformation
by Liwen Li and Klaus W. Lange
Smart Cities 2023, 6(1), 100-122; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities6010006 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2823
Abstract
The adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is a landmark in international sustainability politics. For example, Europe has set ambitious targets to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. However, numerous case studies from different countries have [...] Read more.
The adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is a landmark in international sustainability politics. For example, Europe has set ambitious targets to achieve 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. However, numerous case studies from different countries have found that accelerating the transition to net-zero carbon emissions is easily hampered by the lack of a coherent systems framework, and that implementation gaps remain at the community level. These barriers are often due to a lack of an adequate end-user (i.e., household) input and early planning participation. This work therefore aims to improve on conventional planning methods that do not reflect innovative technologies with uncertainty and may not be applicable due to the lack of community empowerment, which is a dynamic learning and intervention opportunity for end-users at different planning stages (i.e., outreach, survey, planning, implementation, management, and maintenance). Using the lessons learned from participatory action research, whereby the author was involved as a project director throughout the planning and design process, we identified a six-step cycle principle. The steps are (1) collective action commitments, (2) local values and resource identification, (3) carbon footprint inventory, (4) optimized integration of environment, economy, and energy action plans, (5) Flexible strategic energy system plans, and (6) digital performance monitoring. Ultimately, the outcomes provide application support for policymakers and planners and stimulate community engagement to contribute to the achievement of zero net carbon emissions. Full article
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18 pages, 1389 KiB  
Article
Positive Energy Districts: The 10 Replicated Solutions in Maia, Reykjavik, Kifissia, Kladno and Lviv
by Zarrin Fatima, Marielisa Padilla, Michal Kuzmic, Aapo Huovila, Gretel Schaj and Niklas Effenberger
Smart Cities 2023, 6(1), 1-18; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities6010001 - 20 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2683
Abstract
Cities have an undoubted significant role in climate change mitigation. Several cities across the globe have made commitments to sustainability transitions through green strategies. In the recent past, Europe has witnessed a surge in the development of smart cities and advancement towards creating [...] Read more.
Cities have an undoubted significant role in climate change mitigation. Several cities across the globe have made commitments to sustainability transitions through green strategies. In the recent past, Europe has witnessed a surge in the development of smart cities and advancement towards creating more sustainable cities. At the moment, the concept of Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) further encourages districts and cities to change their business-as-usual ways to be more carbon neutral. This paper looks at the five cities of Maia, Reykjavik, Kifissia, Kladno, and Lviv that are a part of an ongoing Horizon 2020 project. The purpose of the paper was to understand the steps the cities have taken to select the 10 solutions for replication. The information was collected through discussions, interviews and implementation plans developed by each city. It must be highlighted that each city’s circumstances differ in terms of political support, finances, technical expertise, and stakeholders’ interest, and this applies to all world cities when discussing the implementation of new efficient solutions. Cities across Europe and beyond may find themselves in a similar situation, and therefore, this paper also provides a story of the five Fellow Cities as they transition towards PEDs. Full article
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