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ENERGY CITIES' PROPOSALS FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION OF CITIES AND TOWNS

5.3 Ensure that new neighbourhoods are “100%” renewable
Urban planning as a way of reducing energy use

The problem at hand


In Europe, new neighbourhoods are being built on former industrial, port or military wasteland close to town centres or on the outskirts of towns. These neighbourhoods will still exist in 50 or 100 years’ time, when everything will be “100% renewable”. Building them in line with today’s designs means condemning them to planned obsolescence. Too often, we stick to existing legislation without considering that by 2020, the amount of energy used for heating new constructions will have to be as close to zero as possible.

Not integrating a 100% renewable objective from the start may lead to the neighbourhood being designed according to existing standards, with renewable energy sources having to be integrated as a second step. It requires additional capital investment. The inevitable conclusion will then be “this is not economically viable”. But is it always true?

Proposal

By targeting a “100% renewable” objective from the start, we stand a better chance of building very low energy consuming neighbourhoods.  
The higher cost of renewable energy is an incentive to reduce energy use. It makes necessary the improvement of building and equipment energy efficiency in order to achieve the objective.
Project costs are better controlled, and the experience of the most advanced countries shows that a virtuous project is not necessarily more expensive. It is simply a question of integrating all these elements at a very early stage.

Conditions for success


  • Visiting existing “100% renewable” neighbourhoods.
  • Gathering an international, interdisciplinary team.
  • Not setting the “100% renewable” objective as an absolute target, but trying to get as close as possible.
  • Integrating mobility in the energy objectives. A neighbourhood is not just a collection of buildings. It is an interconnected place where people live, work and travel.
  • Ensuring social and functional diversity in the neighbourhoods.
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Cities and towns that show the way

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