Energy efficient system in urban areas

The EUROPE 2020 Strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy highlight that territorial competitiveness is closely associated to sustainability and resource-efficiency.

Improving energy efficiency in buildings, the use of new technologies – such as low-temperature district heating and heat pumps, the recovery of waste heat and energy from industry, the exploitation of the potential of biomass: all these measures are essential to make our energy systems more efficient and less polluting. Building on the results of the Urban Energy Web project, IDEE intends to create a cross-border research network for the integrated assessment and planning of efficient and innovative urban energy systems. The network brings together the complementary competences of four research institutions and one public authority with the aim of developing a bottom-up framework for the assessment of urban energy-systems. That will enable an integrated interpretation of geo-referenced energy, environmental, building and economic data and generate a new basis for decision-making which local authorities can use to plan efficient investments. Indeed, the framework allows authorities to gain strategic information on the existing potential, the most innovative technical solutions applicable and their environmental impacts, while taking into account costs and the return on investment. The framework will be implemented in some pilot areas (Maniago in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Feltre in Veneto and the region of Salzburger Seenland), with a view to transferring it to other territories. The transition to a more circular economy, where the value of resources is maintained for the longest possible time, is leverage for a smart, sustainable and inclusive model of development. The Municipalities in the project areas have an enormous potential for the introduction of energy efficient technologies, whose development however is restricted by the initial investments costs required, the competition of existing technologies and the complexity of the decision-making process to be followed by local authorities.

IDEE will establish a cross-border network of research institutions, each holding complementary competences, with the aim of creating a shared body of knowledge to support local energy planning processes that can foster the growth of the local economies. The integration of different scientific backgrounds will enable the development of an integrated framework for planning energy efficient systems in urban areas, with a special focus on the interaction between thermal energy and electric energy. The framework will combine energy, building and economic data in territorial IT systems equipped with interpretational and decisional algorithms, which will allow users to choose the best energy investment for their specific needs (taking into account the existing potential, the most promising technological solutions, environmental impact and return on investment). The new integrated framework for planning energy efficient systems in urban areas promotes a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, in accordance with the EUROPE 2020 Strategy, the Flagship Initiative for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. IDEE supports the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) (Pillars 1 and 3) and the EUSALP action plan, in particular Thematic Policy Area 1 (Economic Growth and Innovation – Action 1 – Develop an effective research and innovation ecosystem) and Thematic Policy Area 3 (Environment and Energy – Action 9 Make the territory a model region for energy efficiency and renewable energy). As far as Italy is concerned, IDEE’s mission statement tallies with the National Energy Strategy and the Partnership Agreement (OTs 1, 4 and 6); in Austria it is compliant with STRAT.AT 2020 and the National 2020 Energy Strategy which call for more energy efficiency and less greenhouse gas emissions. Land Salzburg promotes the “Masterplan Klima+Energie 2020” which favours the security of energy supplies through innovative district heating network concepts. In the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the project follows several priorities set by the regional operational programme (OP) of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), namely: Axis 1, PI 1 and Axis 3 for the transition to a low-impact economy and “Axis 4- Urban Development”. It also complies with the regional smart specialisation strategies (housing system supply chain and industries focusing on cross-cutting issues linked to energy and ICT) and with the Regional Energy Plan (PER) which aims at cutting energy costs and polluting emissions. In the Veneto region, IDEE is in line with ERDF OP’s Axis 1, PI 1a, “Axis 3 – Production system competitiveness and attractiveness” and “Axis 4 – Energy sustainability” and promotes the key economic segments of Sustainable Living and Smart Manufacturing. IDEE is consistent with the smart settlement development pillars (one of the 5 topics of Land Salzburg’s research strategy) and with Programme IWB/ERDF 2014-2020, PI 1a. It promotes smart specialisation for smart data & services and smart buildings. It contributes to the European priority of developing KETs (Key Enabling Technologies).