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International Energy Agency

Technology Collaboration Programme on District Heating


and Cooling including Combined Heat and Power

REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS


A N D E N E R G Y CO N S U M P T I O N B Y
OPTIMIZING URBAN FORM FOR DISTRICT
ENERGY

A nnex X I Fi n al Repo r t

PREPARED BY
IEA DHC Annex XI:
COPlan4DE
N T E N T S Final Report

Plan4DE Final Report

This project has been independently funded by the International Energy Agency Energy Technology
Initiative on District Heating and Cooling including Combined Heat and Power (IEA DHC).

Any views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of IEA DHC.

IEA DHC can take no responsibility for the use of the information within this publication, nor for any
errors or omissions it may contain.

ANNEX XI FINAL REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2016


IEA DHC Annex XI:COPlan4DE
N T E N T SFinal Report

Plan4DE Final Report

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an intergovernmental organisation that serves as energy
policy advisor to 28 member countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for
their citizens. Founded during the oil crisis of 1973-1974, the IEA was initially established to coordinate
measures in times of oil supply emergencies.

As energy markets have changed, so has the IEA. Its mandate has broadened to incorporate the Three
Es of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development and environmental
protection. Current work focuses on climate change policies, market reform, energy technology
collaboration and outreach to the rest of the world, especially major consumers and producers of energy
like China, India, Russia and the OPEC countries.

With a staff of nearly 200 who are mainly energy experts and statisticians from its 28 member countries,
the IEA conducts a broad program of energy research, data compilation, publications and public
dissemination of the latest energy policy analysis and recommendations on good practices.

ABOUT IEA DHC

The Energy Technology Initiative on District Heating and Cooling including Combined Heat and
Power was founded in 1983. It organizes and funds international research which deals with the design,
performance, operation and deployment of district heating and cooling systems. The initiative is
dedicated to helping to make district heating and cooling and combined heat and power effective tools for
energy conservation and the reduction of environmental impacts caused by supplying heating and cooling.

P L A N 4 D E : R E D U C I N G G R E E N H O U S E G A S E M I S S I O N S A N D E N E R G Y CO N S U M P T I O N B Y O P T I M I Z I N G U R B A N F O R M F O R D I S T R I C T E N E R G Y | 3
CO N T E N T S

AC K N O W L E DG E M E N T S ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM

Plan4DE was developed through a collaborative design Ken Church and Raymond Boulter, Natural Resources
Canada
process by the following organizations:

Sustainability Solutions Group

GGLO

EA Energy Analyses

Government of British Columbia

International District Energy Association

Farallon Consultants Limited

Mary Ellen Richardson Consultants

ANNEX XI FINAL REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2016


CO N T E N T S

Acknowledgements 6.5.4 DEEM


Executive Summary 6.5.5 Balmorel
1 Introduction 6.5.6 District Energy Concept Advisor
1.1 Objectives and goals 6.6 Comparison of the models
2 Methods 6.7 Open source
3 Determinants of district energy 6.7.1 Benef its and challenges
3.1 District energy def ined 6.7.2 Examples
3.2 The inf luence of policy 6.8 Findings for Plan4DE
3.3 Social determinants 7 Plan4DE
3.4 Economic determinants 7.1 Model characteristics
3.5 Technical determinants 7.2 Analytical approach
3.6 The built environment 7.3 Model design
3.7 Findings for Plan4DE 7.3.1 Technologies
4 The built environment and energy density 7.3.2 Revenue generation
4.1 Energy and climate 7.3.3 Network length
4.2 Energy use and urban structure 7.3.4 DE system lifetime
4.3 Building morphology 7.3.5 Individual heating
4.3.1 Building envelope 7.3.6 Waste heat and industrial heat demand
4.3.2 Building compactness 7.3.7 Currency
4.3.3 Glazing ratio and orientation 7.3.8 Versions
4.3.4 Trade-offs at the building scale 7.3.9 Inputs
4.4 Building systems 7.3.10 Outputs
4.5 Occupant behaviour 7.4 Data
4.6 The block and neighbourhood scale 7.5 Current Limitations
4.6.1 Urban heat island effect and vegetation 8 Validation
4.6.2 Renewable energy potential 8.1 Applying Plan4DE to a neighbourhood
4.7 Future buildings archetype
4.8 Findings for Plan4DE 8.1.1 A neighbourhood archetype
5 The discipline of planning 8.1.2 Observations
5.1 Planning and energy consumption 8.2 Applying Plan4DE to the City of
5.2 Planning and district energy Ottawa
5.3 Findings for Plan4DE 8.2.1 Comparison of methods for calculating heat
6 Modelling the built environment density
6.1 Classif ication of model approaches 8.2.2 Evaluation of neighbourhoods in
6.2 Urban energy models Ottawa
6.3 District energy models 8.2.3 Observations
6.3.1 Assumptions and theory behind the 9 Dissemination
modelling approaches 9.1 Website
6.3.2 Spatial and non-spatial dimensions in the 9.2 Webinars
models 9.3 Presentations
6.3.3 Level of decision-making that the models are 10 D iscussion
designed to inf luence 10.1 Future steps
6.3.4 Methods used for modelling 10.2 Conclusion
6.3.5 Graphical user interface Glossary
6.4 Existing models Abbreviations
6.5 Review of models Figures
6.5.1 Rambll model Tables
6.5.2 COWI Varmeatlas Bibliography
6.5.3 RETScreen
P l a n 4 DE : R e d u c i n g g r e e n h o u s e g a s e m i s s i o n s a n d e n e r g y co n s u m p t i o n b y o p t i m i z i n g u r b a n f o r m f o r d i s t r i c t e n e r g y | 01
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

E XE C U TIVE SU MMARY

The role of cities in reducing GHG emissions in close proximity to other buildings, to merit a
is gaining increasing prominence. It has been district energy system.
highlighted by the work of the C40, a global
network of large cities committed to helping In taking decisions on land use, local governments
address climate change (Arup, 2011), the f irst unconsciously either rule in or rule out district
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change energy by enabling development that is either less
(IPCC) chapter on human settlements (Seto & than or greater than energy density thresholds,
Dhakal, 2014) and, a new reporting mechanism, generally the former. These decisions have long-
the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action 1 term implications as a result of the lock-in that
launched in December under the United accompanies the capital intensive and durable
Nations Framework Convention on Climate built environment. Energy density thresholds
Change (UNFCCC). As the IPCC reports, are dependent on many different variables that
Addressing climate change has become part ref lect the characteristics and use of the built
of the policy landscape in many cities, and environment.
municipal authorities have begun to implement
policies to reduce GHG emissions within their While there is a range of considerations that
administrative boundaries (2014, p. 970). contribute to the feasibility of a district energy
sy stem, the character of the built environment
These efforts ref lect a rapidly urbanizing is a foundational aspect. This project developed
world in which 54% of the population lives in a new model, Plan4DE, that enables planners to
urban areas, a total that increases weekly and is quickly and easily evaluate the impact of different
projected to climb to more than 60% by 2050 conf igurations of the built environment on the
an additional 2.5 billion people (United Nations, viability of district energy relative to individual
2014). Urban areas account for between 71% heating systems.
and 76% of CO2 emissions (Seto & Dhakal,
2014). This continual process of urbanization is Plan4DE was developed following an extensive
requiring and will continue to require massive literature review using an integrated design
investments in infrastructure, which, depending process that combined the expertise of planners,
on the approaches selected, will either impede engineers and architects. The Excel-based model
or enhance societys ability to reduce GHG has three different interfaces involving different
emissions. levels of complexity for different use cases or
practitioners with different levels of experience.
In the absence of consideration of heat density
by planners, proponents of district energy are The model uses inputs on characteristics of the
restricted to those areas of cities that through built environment to determine the capital and
historical accident have achieved a suff icient heat operating costs of district energy versus individual
density, or where there is a signif icant anchor load energy systems over variable lifetimes, as well as
environmental impacts in the form of greenhouse
1 See http://climateaction.unfccc.int/

ANNEX XI FINAL REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2016


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

gas emissions and criteria air pollutants. Planners


are then able to make informed decisions to enable
a built environment that supports district energy.

Unique characteristics of the model include an


algorithm for calculating the cost of a district
energy network and an optimization tool to select
district energy technologies.

Plan4DE is open source and while it is populated


with data for North American climate zones,
additional or different data sets can be readily
added.

The model was validated f irstly by developing a


neighbourhood archetype and applying a planning
process to this neighbourhood informed by the
use of Plan4DE. Secondly, Plan4DE was validated
using observed data for a Canadian city and then
used to evaluate district energy viability for a
range of neighbourhoods.

Plan4DE is open source so that users can adjust


assumptions or methods as required for particular
circumstances, climates or countries. The
model and a guidebook can be downloaded at
plan4de.ssg.coop.

P l a n 4 DE : R e d u c i n g g r e e n h o u s e g a s e m i s s i o n s a n d e n e r g y co n s u m p t i o n b y o p t i m i z i n g u r b a n f o r m f o r d i s t r i c t e n e r g y | 03
INTRODUCTION

1 . I NT RO DU CTION
1 .1 O B J E C T I V E S & G OA L S

Legislators in California, Oregon, British emissions, above transportation management, site


Columbia and most recently Ontario have and building design, and energy supply (Jaccard,
passed laws requiring municipal plans to include Failing, & Berry, 1997).
greenhouse gas emissions targets (Government of
Ontario, 2016; Oregon Legislative Assembly, 2010; There are a growing number of tools available to
Rutherford, S., 2009; Steinberg, D., 2008). These assess the impact of land-use planning decisions on
requirements signal a growing understanding GHG emissions and energy consumption. Four
of the relationship between the design of recent reports, one for the State of Washington
community settlements, energy consumption and (Fehr & Peers, 2009), two by the Lincoln Institute
greenhouse gas emissions, which also is ref lected (P. Condon, Cavens, & Miller, 2009; Holway et
in work by international agencies. Urban form al., 2012), one prepared for California Transport
has a determining inf luence on many sources of (Caltrans) (DKS Associates, 2007) and another
greenhouse gas emissions as density and land- by researchers at Imperial College London (James
use patterns affect distances travelled, modes of Keirstead, Jennings, & Sivakumar, 2012) provide
travel, building typology, possibilities for district detailed reviews of existing models. Both Fehr
energy systems, and carbon release and uptake by and Peers, and DKS Associates focus primarily
biomass. One aspect of this inf luence is known on the impacts of land-use on transportation and
as path dependence; where current decisions can categorize the available models by sophistication.
limit possibilities for future decision-making The Lincoln Institute report addresses available
(Erickson & Tempest, 2015). The combination of modelling tools and evaluates the relative climate
an expensive transition and the fear of forfeited change benef its of alternative development
investments compel one to maintain the path of scenarios at different scales. However, none of
least resistance despite ongoing disadvantages these tools specif ically consider the potential of
(Liebowitz & Margolis, 2009). district energy systems to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions from a land-use planning perspective.
Of all the energy-related decisions made
at a community level, it is likely that land- There are also a number of tools and models
use decisions have implications on the that can be used to evaluate the feasibility
communitys consumption of energy for the of district energy systems. From a land-use
longest time. Physical infrastructure and the perspective, they are responsive models as they
spatial organization of society can be seen as an are designed primarily to enable engineers to
important form of carbon lock-in (Erickson design a district energy system given a pre-
& Tempest, 2015), the process by which society existing built environment. Few assessment
becomes further entrenched in a dependent approaches stress the importance of identifying
relationship with fossil fuels. Land-use decisions the general conditions, with regards to community
therefore need to be prioritized in efforts to frameworks, required within a community for
reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas advancing district energy (Brent Gilmour &

Plan4DE
O B J E C T I V E S & G OA L S

Warren, 2007). Responsive models are therefore


limited by looking only at the feasibility of district
energy relative to a pre-existing built environment
condition. An approach that ensures consideration
of energy implications during the planning of the
built environment and development approvals
increases the scope for creating opportunities for
district energy.

In order to maximize the potential for district


energy to contribute to reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions, planners need to incorporate
district energy as a consideration in the
development of municipal plans, upstream from
the actual development of the built environment
(King & Bradford, 2013). Consideration of district
energy at this early stage in the development
process will build literacy on district energy in
communities, result in enabling land-use patterns
and create new district energy opportunities.

PLAN4DE | 05
methods

2. METHODS

The intent of this project was to use novel research Following the IDP, a literature review was
methods to design and implement a model that completed, again using a collaborative drafting
meaningfully represents the relationship between process on the web-based platform, Google Docs.
characteristics of the built environment (an This approach enabled team members from both
independent variable) and the viability of district Europe and North America to contribute in real
energy (dependent variable). There is extensive time to the same document. The literature review
research on this relationship, which was identif ied took stock of the literature on district energy,
in a literature review described below; however, focusing on existing models and the inf luence of
the novel aspect of this project was to facilitate the planners. Aspects included a description of the
evaluation of the impact of the built environment mandate of planners and the f ield of planning,
on the viability of district energy from the consideration of the relationship between the
perspective of a city planner and to do so using built environment and energy intensity, and
a tool suitable to different contexts around the energy intensity and the feasibility of district
world. energy. An exploration of the tools available
to planners in considering the impacts of their
The construction of a model that is applicable work on district energy was undertaken, looking
for the discipline of urban planning while specif ically at the state of the modelling f ield
incorporating aspects of the f ields of systems with respect to district energy, and at methods to
modelling, architecture, urban design, civil generically characterize the built environment.
engineering, energy systems engineering and Finally, the co-benef its, or the ancillary benef its
economics is by def inition interdisciplinary. that may arise if planners decide to factor district
Building on past experience, the team elected to energy as a consideration into their planning
employ a technique developed in the design of decisions were considered.
high performance green buildings, the integrated
design process (IDP) (Keeler & Vaidya, 2016). With goals and objectives identif ied, the
An IDP focuses on broad involvement of the completion of an initial foray into the design
different disciplines of the team in the initial and implementation of the model, and the
design stages during which key decisions are taken completion of a detailed literature review, the
that determine the outcome of the project. To this team then divided into four sub-groups. A
end, the team was convened for a three-day design model development team developed iterations of
charette to set the stage for the interdisciplinary the model, with the rest of the team providing
collaboration that characterizes the IDP feedback on each new version. A data team
approach. The charette began at a high level with compiled relevant assumptions and inputs to
decisions on the goals and objectives, and became support the model for specif ic jurisdictions. A
increasingly specif ic, as model parameters were planning and design team began conceptualizing
identif ied and ultimately initial efforts at model how the model would be applied in the context
design and implementation were undertaken. of urban planning and design processes. Finally,

Plan4DE
METHODS

a dissemination team shared the proposed additional data specif ic to their jurisdiction if
concepts and approach more broadly to ensure available.
the relevance of the approach, in the form of
conference presentations and webinars. A process of data collection was undertaken
to provide key assumptions for the model
The full team congregated to address specif ic including specif ications for heating and cooling
design challenges or questions that emerged energy technologies, energy consumption and
from the sub-groups. For example, one question peak energy demand for building archetypes in
related to approaches to represent the length different climate zones, and capital and operating
and size of pipes in a distribution system in the costs for different district energy technologies.
absence of detailed spatial data. A team member
compiled characteristics of a sample of existing Once a functioning model was developed, an
district energy systems and used an analysis of extensive process of validation was undertaken
these characteristics to derive an algorithm that using sensitivity testing and the application of
calculated pipe length and size for different forms three case studies (neighbourhoods in the Cities
of development. of Copenhagen and Ottawa and an abstraction
of a neighbourhood in Seattle). In the case of
A process of data collection was undertaken to Copenhagen, the model results were compared
provide key assumptions for the model. Key with data from an existing district energy system
requirements for data included: in a particular neighbourhood in order to test
the predictive ability of the model. In the case
Individual and district energy heating of Ottawa, a comparison of the results of three
and cooling technologies including total different approaches to characterizing the energy
eff iciency, electric eff iciency, thermal prof ile of the built environment was undertaken.
eff iciency, lifetime, fuel source and capacity Finally, the process in Seattle was f irstly a test of
factor, usability from the perspective of the planning
profession and secondly of the f indings of
Financial assumptions including capital the analysis in a relatively mild climate. This
costs, f ixed and variable operating and validation process resulted in various iterations of
maintenance costs, fuel cost, carbon costs, the model to increase accuracy and usability.
system integration cost, network costs,
balancing costs and power revenue costs. The model was then evaluated in the process
of developing a neighbourhood (derived from
Emissions factors for each technology Seattle) as would be experienced by a planner and
including CO2, CH4, N20, NOX. subsequently a further iteration of the model was
developed as a result of insights in this process.
Building energy characteristics including
energy intensities, peak energy demand A user interface was developed and a guidebook
and total energy consumption for f ive on the use of the model was prepared prior to a
residential and f ifteen non-residential public launch of the model.
building archetypes for more than twenty
different climate zones.

Data was collected for the jurisdictions of


Denmark, Canada and the US drawing on the
expertise of the team members; the user can input

PLAN4DE | 07
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

Transformations in energy systems are long-term


change processes (decadal or longer) in technology, the
economy, institutions, ecology, culture, behavior, and
belief systems (Patwardhan et al., 2012, p. 1176).

3. D E TE R M INA N TS OF DISTRICT EN ERG Y


This section reviews the concept of district energy, are currently being satisf ied by employing
its opportunities and challenges, and the role of combustion of fossil fuels, which provides high
the built environment amongst the factors that temperature heat a mismatch. Similarly, the
inf luence the deployment of district energy. use of electricity for these heat loads means using
a high-quality energy source for a low-quality
heat demand. It is therefore preferable to use the
3.1 D I S T R I C T E N E R G Y difference between the high temperature heat
DEFINED and the low temperature demand to generate
electricity. However, this is not generally feasible
At its most basic level, district energy is def ined without a centralized system like district energy,
as an approach to energy provision in which which facilitates the capture of additional and
heat is produced centrally and hot water is piped signif icant eff iciencies (Rogner, 1993). The
to the buildings (Davies & Woods, 2009). improved eff iciencies translate into economic
District energy can provide either heating for benef its and reduced pollution. Further,
space heating and hot water, or chilled water district heating helps overcome three barriers
for air conditioning. District energy systems to the wider dissemination of renewable energy,
generally consist of three sub-systems including namely: periodic f luctuations associated with the
the collection and/or generation of thermal generation; the low energy density of renewable
energy, the distribution of the thermal energy energy carriers relative to fossil fuels; and,
from plant sites to a network of energy consumers, the limited utilization of renewable energy by
and the transfer of the thermal energy to the consumers, including provision, conversion,
energy consumer (B. Gilmour & Warren, 2008; storage, transport and use (Stremke & Koh, 2011).
Rodger, 2010). A district can consist of a small
neighbourhood or a large part of a community The United Nations Environment Program
(Rodger, 2010). (UNEP) identif ied the following policy goals that
cities hoped to achieve in applying district energy
There are many existing and future energy (United Nations Environment Program, 2014,
demands for low temperature heat that p.5):

Plan4DE
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Achieve and others. There is an equally large range of
rapid, deep and cost-effective emissions variables that determine the cost of a building-
reductions, with reduction of primary energy level heating or cooling system. In an assessment
consumption by 3045 per cent. of the potential for district energy expansion
in Europe, the key variables that were assessed
Improve air quality: Address indoor and included heat demands, settlement structures,
outdoor air pollution and their associated land-use priorities, excess heat activities, local
health impacts, by reducing coal and oil heat resources, and general geographic properties
consumption. of any given location (Connolly et al., 2013).
However, in addition to the economic factors,
Improve energy eff iciency: Achieve operational there are also externalities that inf luence the
eff iciency gains of up to 90 per cent, by using uptake of district energy.
district energy infrastructure to link the heat
and electricity sectors. A helpful distinction in understanding the
convergence of these and other factors, is to
Local and renewable resources: Harness local identify two specif ic contexts for district energy,
energy sources, including from waste streams, where:
reject heat, natural water bodies and renewable
energy. Pilot new technologies, such as thermal District energy is mature. These countries have
storage, to integrate renewables. relatively higher-priced fossil fuels, policies
which support district energy, mature and
Resilience and energy access: Reduce import extensive systems, extensive experience with
dependency and fossil fuel price volatility. the technical and f inancing aspects of district
Manage electricity demand and reduce the risk energy, and a history of public acceptance
of brownouts. of local energy infrastructure. This group
includes Scandinavian countries, Finland,
Green economy: Achieve savings from avoided France, and Germany.
or deferred investment in generation
infrastructure and peak power capacity. District energy is emerging. These countries
Create wealth through reduced fossil fuel have relatively lower-priced fossil fuels,
bills and generate local tax revenue. Create policies which tend to support energy systems
jobs for design, construction, operation and based on centralized utilities, few district
maintenance. energy systems, modest district energy
experience, and limited public acceptance
In a perfectly rational society with scarce of new energy infrastructure entering a
resources, district energy is installed when the community. This group includes Canada, the
cost of constructing and operating district energy United States, the United Kingdom, and most
is less than the cost of other technologies or developing countries.
strategies to provide the same service. The cost of
district energy is determined by a myriad of factors Evaluating the feasibility of district energy
including the scale of the installation, the density for countries in the f irst group is relatively
of heat demand, the availability of expertise, the straightforward, based on well-established urban
cost of energy generation, the cost of carbon, local planning policies, a high degree of certainty
geology and geography, the availability and type regarding the accuracy of capital and operating
of fuel sources, the design of existing buildings, cost estimates, and conf idence in public
the future planning regime, the legal context acceptance of new or expanded systems. These

PLAN4DE | 09
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

factors tend to reduce the risk of developing or energy by increasing the cost of the business-
expanding a district energy system. as-usual (e.g. fossil fuel) option (Johansson,
2000).
For a proposed district energy system in a country
belonging to the second group, the economic Streamlining the approval process for projects
and social advantages must be strongly positive that f it a local governments criteria
to overcome policy barriers and f inancial for sustainable development (including
uncertainty. Examples of such favourable developments associated with low carbon
conditions would include new, high-density forms of district energy) tends to support
developments in northern communities, where the district energy by reducing the developers
cost of conventional energy sources is high. costs (R. Bush, Bale, Taylor, & Gale, 2014).

These policies are designed to account for


3.2 T H E I N F L U E N C E and or address a broad range of externalities.
OF POLICY Municipalities are instrumental in the deployment
of district energy because of their inf luence
Policies that support district energy include over land-use and infrastructure. Municipal
regulations requiring local governments to governments are, however, required to deliver a
understand local energy needs and to plan to meet variety of public services and respond to direction
those needs with renewable sources. Examples of and mandates from higher order government.
such regulations that either indirectly or directly As a result, many competing budgetary interests
support district energy include: exist. Enshrining thermal energy priorities as
they relate to broader environmental, economic
The Merton Rule adopted by in the Merton and social objectives is necessary to validate
Council in the United Kingdom. The rule and support local governments investment and
requires new commercial buildings with an commitment to district energy development. This
area greater than 1,000 square metres to meet also helps garner public support. Additionally,
more than 10% of their energy needs with having a long-term vision for community energy
renewable sources (Pitts, 2008). infrastructure gives conf idence to developers and
investors (R. Bush et al., 2014).
The Heat Supply Law in Denmark, which
required local governments to identify their In many municipalities, urban planning is
energy needs and to recognize alternatives for fragmented among individual local governments
meeting those needs (Sovacool, 2013). and the regional government to which they
belong. In addition, plans for land use,
Regulations requiring public sector energy infrastructure, water infrastructure,
organizations to achieve carbon neutral transportation, sustainability and climate change
operations tend to encourage schools, are commonly developed by separate departments.
universities and hospitals to consider low This fragmentation presents a structural challenge
carbon forms of district energy. British to implementing district energy systems, the
Columbias Carbon Neutral Government planning of which requires engagement by
Regulation is an example of this kind of multiple disciplines (Dale, 2001).
regulation (Government of BC, 2008).
Local governments, however, occupy a unique
The cost of carbon taxes and carbon offsets position from which they can serve as one of, or
tends to support low carbon forms of district a combination of, the following: planners and

Plan4DE
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

regulators, brokers and facilitators, generators,


distributors, consumers and project coordinators. 3 . 3 S OC I A L
While federal, provincial or state programs may DETERMINANTS
supply targets or provide strategic direction, local
governments often are charged with implementing Social challenges to district energy include a
district energy solutions. Even in the case of general lack of understanding, and the necessity of
private sector district energy development, local engaging a large number of disparate stakeholders
governments typically provide support through that typically includes individuals, as well as
policy frameworks, franchise agreements, private and public institutions (M. R. Bush,
easements and zoning, taxation relief, some level 2013). District energy is simpler to implement in
of investment or capacity building with the communities that are aware of their air quality
public. issues (for example when pollution is caused by
open burning of wood waste). District energy
In North America, regulatory frameworks for planning and implementation is simpler when
energy are designed to address issues related to the local culture places a relatively higher value
centralized utilities, which can present barriers to on the greater good of the community and the
smaller, locally owned energy systems. Apart from environment, versus individual interests.
the regulations themselves, the cost, complexity
and duration of regulatory energy processes Public concern regarding new energy sources
present a barrier to district energy systems. entering the community can inhibit systems based
on biomass. If inadequate time and planning
In North America, utilities may have mixed is applied to identifying and addressing public
responses to district energy and distributed interests during the earliest possible stages of a
energy, based on concerns over loss of business, district energy project, the public consultation
increased burden of the cost of common process itself can fail to overcome public
distribution infrastructure (e.g. natural gas opposition to integrating low carbon forms of
pipelines and electricity distribution lines) on district energy into a community (Comeault, C.,
remaining customers, higher upfront costs, and 2011). Also, interest on the part some building
the necessity of complex partnerships (Cooper & owners and community members regarding
Rajkovich, 2012). climate change can be limited.

Planning for district energy is inhibited by an Since design professionals tend to be


inadequate understanding on the part of urban commissioned to design individual buildings
planners, consultants and building owners on a single site, their focus is often limited
regarding energy in general and in particular to that site. Design professionals tend not to
the technological possibilities, the full business- look for opportunities to share energy and
as-usual costs of energy systems (including water with adjacent buildings or sites, or to
environmental and social costs of fossil fuel work cooperatively with municipal planners or
exploration and production), and the full cost of municipal engineers to f ind energy schemes that
providing energy (i.e. owning and operating the can help both the building site and the community
buildings boilers, and not just the cost of fuel) (Ronn, 2011).
(Hawkey, 2009).

P L A N 4 D E | 11
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

involve more opportunism, for example:


3.4 E CO N O M I C
DETERMINANTS Reducing the cost of the district energy
fuel source by relying on sources of waste
District energy requires a major initial investment industrial heat.
as well as ongoing operations and maintenance
costs. The economics of district energy are Reducing the cost of distribution piping by
improved by the relatively higher energy choosing routes through parks, through streets
consumption of buildings in colder climates, that must be renewed for other reasons, and
relatively higher costs of conventional sources of by sharing the cost of trenching with other
energy, larger scale projects that reduce the per utilities such as potable water, wastewater,
unit energy costs of systems, and the availability electrical utilities or communications utilities.
of district energy equipment (e.g. heat pumps,
biomass boilers and distribution piping) Finding owners of existing buildings with a
manufactured domestically, which reduces the cost greater interest in district energy because their
and complexity of importing materials. boilers need replacing, and f inding developers
of new buildings who recognize the value
Exploration subsidies for fossil fuels ($34 billion/ of re-programming utility space as revenue-
year in Canada and $600 billion/year worldwide) generating space.
interfere with market pricing by using public
funding to make fossil fuels less expensive The cost of energy from conventional sources
(Clements, B. et al., 2013). Since district energy is has a signif icant inf luence on the viability of
capital intensive, the cost of capital (i.e. interest district energy. The cost of providing energy to a
rate) is critical. Economies of scale limit the building includes the cost of conventional fuels,
viability of smaller systems, which have higher including taxes, carbon taxes, carbon offset costs
costs per unit of delivered energy. The current and the cost of converting fuel to energy, which
shale gas boom has increased the availability of oil is inf luenced by the eff iciency of the boiler, the
and natural gas, and decreased the price of fossil capitalization cost of the boiler (initial cost,
fuels. f inancing cost, and life expectancy), the cost
of utility operations, maintenance, insurance,
In countries where district energy is mature, the licensing, and the opportunity cost associated
economics of district energy are well understood, with the utility space in the building.
and the criteria for viability are well established.
The higher costs of business-as-usual energy The operating temperature also impacts the cost
sources, and the lower cost of widely available of the system. A low-temperature district heating
district energy infrastructure in these countries system reduces thermal stress on the pipes, results
combine to make the threshold for district energy in reduced heat loss in the network and storage,
viability relatively lower. increases the eff iciency of combined heat and
power, and increases the ease of renewable energy
In countries where district energy is emerging, integration (Rosa, 2012).
the economics of district energy can be marginal,
and since the advantages of district energy may
be less obvious to stakeholders, those involved in
planning systems must invest more effort and be
more creative to make systems viable. Lowering
the threshold for viability in these countries can

Plan4DE
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

3.5 T E C H N I C A L 3.6 THE BUILT


DETERMINANTS ENVIRONMENT
District energy systems are, like all technologies, Keeping the above variables in mind, it is clear
evolving rapidly. The f irst generation used steam that heat density has a signif icant inf luence
as a carrier of heat and was introduced in the late on the viability of district energy (The Energy
nineteenth century in the US. A second generation Saving Trust, 2008), with a positive non-linear
switched to pressurized hot water, to address the correlation between the increasing proximity of
heat loss, high operating and maintenance costs, heat demand and the cost of the system (Woods,
and safety issues associated with steam. A third 2012). Consideration of the extremes illustrates
generation used pressurized water with lower the nature of the relationship: when two heat
supply temperatures, twin pipe systems and plastic loads are in close proximity, it is relatively easy
pipes. The fourth generation is characterized as to connect them and heat loss is not a critical
low energy district energy and will supply new consideration, but when two heat loads are distant
low-energy buildings as well as buildings which from each other, the infrastructure cost becomes
have undergone deep energy retrof its (Rosa, 2012). prohibitive and the necessity of minimizing heat
loss mandates costly insulation. As a consequence,
The eff iciency of the district energy system there is, in any particular location, a threshold
depends on the eff iciency of conversion of fuels of heat density at which district energy is cost
to useful energy and energy losses throughout effective, but this threshold varies according to a
the system. The integration of energy storage wide range of variables. For example, in the UK
and electricity generation seamlessly with the that threshold has been measured at 200 MWh/
provision of thermal energy is also inf luencing ha (Woods, 2012) and 3,000 kWh/km2 (Davies
the eff iciency of the system (DFIC - Dr. Fromme & Woods, 2009). In terms of linear heat density,
International Consulting, 2016). areas with 0.20 MWh/m,year are considered to
be feasible in Denmark (Rosa, 2012) and 0.30
Load diversif ication tends to reduce the peak MWh/m.year elsewhere (Zinko et al., 2008).
capacity of a district energy system, and therefore Linear heat density is inf luenced not only by
its cost. Engineering modelling capability and energy density but also by the conf iguration of
capacity to optimize district energy networks the buildings within that area, as this inf luences
is now well established and widely available the length and size of the pipes required (Zinko
(e.g. Natural Resources Canadas RETScreen et al., 2008). Plan4DE will provide a more precise
International program). mechanism to develop heat densities thresholds
for specif ic contexts, according to the selection
New building technologies and new energy of technologies, the climatic zone, fuel costs and
technologies can make buildings energy self- building mix.
suff icient, which tends to reduce the need for
district energy. In the short term, the higher- Of the three levels of government, it is local
temperature design of energy systems in existing governments that have legal jurisdiction over
buildings requires higher-temperature energy land-use planning, which ultimately determines
sources (e.g. biomass combustion rather than the proximity of heat loads, or the heat density.
heat pumps) and higher-temperature distribution As Floater and Rode write, spatial planning
piping (e.g. steel vs. polymer), which increases provides a way to engage with the f lows of the city
both the capital and operating costs of district in pursuing the optimal sequencing, coordination
energy (Dalla Rosa & Svendsen, 2011). and integration of infrastructure investments

P L A N 4 D E | 13
determinants of district energy

(2014, p. 23). In order for district energy to be characterized by the use of heat maps or atlases
broadly successful, local governments need to (Mller & Nielsen, 2014), can be characterized
incorporate a consideration of district energy, and as reactive and inevitably results in signif icant
energy demand in general, into land-use decisions. portions of the building stock that cannot
In an analysis of community energy planning, be economically serviced by district energy.
Jaccard et al (1997) propose that of the various However, this type of energy planning is critical
powers available to local governments, land use is to developing an understanding of energy
the most critical as it has the longest durability, density and district energy feasibility. An
beyond policies on transportation management, upstream approach would include an assessment
site and building design, and energy supply, for of energy density as integral to the creation of
example. off icial city plans and approving developments
in the same manner that other variables such as
Land-use decisions result in lock-in, or path transportation, servicing and topography are
dependence. Lock-in happens when an activity considered.
or process continues even though it may not be
benef icial but is tied to previous investments Energy density is typically calculated at the
or commitments (Liebowitz & Margolis, 2009). building level on the basis of intensity, for
Signif icant investments in bricks and mortar example as GJ/m2/year or kWh/m2/year. At
are a consequence of land-use decisions and the community level, energy density is typically
it is diff icult to abandon those investments calculated as GJ/Ha/year or kWh/Ha/year. Energy
even if they are impeding other societal goals density is inf luenced by the climate; the energy
such as reducing GHG emissions. The pattern eff iciency of existing or planned buildings in
of development which cities plan and permit terms of kWh/m2/year, which is a function of
therefore determines the energy consumption the design and use of the building; the density
and GHG emissions into the future (Creutzig, of f loor space in relation to the footprint of the
Baiocchi, Bierkandt, Pichler, & Seto, 2014; World building, i.e. expressed as Floor Area Ratio (FAR)
Resources Institute, 2014). or Floor Space Ratio (FSR); and the use of the
building space (see Section 4 for more detail on
In taking decisions on land use, local governments these variables). For example, hospitals and other
unconsciously either rule in or rule out district health care facilities consume a signif icant portion
energy by enabling development that is either less of a communitys total energy for domestic hot
than or greater than energy density thresholds. water, the consumption of which is independent
These decisions have long-term implications as a of the building envelope design. In addition,
result of the lock-in that accompanies the capital domestic hot water is used throughout both
intensive and durable built environment. Energy summer and winter seasons, which improves the
density thresholds are, however, dependent system utilization and therefore the economics of
on many different variables that ref lect the district energy.
characteristics and use of the built environment.
A lower energy density can be achieved with an
In the absence of consideration of energy density anchor load, consisting of a single large energy
by planners, proponents of district energy are demand. First, economies of scale mean that
restricted to those areas of cities that through the unit cost of providing energy to the anchor
historical accident have achieved a suff icient heat load are likely to be the lowest in the system,
density, or where there is a signif icant anchor which provides an early indication of the likely
load in close proximity to other buildings, to viability of the district energy system, as well as
merit a district energy system. This approach, a cost benchmark for other connections. Perhaps

Plan4DE
DETERMINANTS OF DISTRICT ENERGY

more importantly, the energy managers of larger This effect of reducing the magnitude of peak
buildings (e.g. hospitals) are more likely to energy demand has a signif icant inf luence on the
understand their business-as-usual costs, as well capital and operating costs of a district energy
as the benef its of district energy. As a result, system. Higher peak demand requires larger
the effort required to persuade such managers capacities for energy generation, distribution
to commit to district energy is relatively lower. piping, and energy transfer stations capacity
In addition, the location of the anchor load which by def inition will be under-utilized
can have a positive inf luence over the decision majority of the time. In addition, because of the
regarding the location of the energy centre for relatively high capital cost of low-carbon sources
the district energy system. Locating the energy of heat (for example biomass boilers or heat
centre close to the largest loads will reduce the pumps), it is not practical to size this equipment
capital and operating cost of distribution piping. to meet peak demand. In low-carbon systems, peak
Finally, the commitment by an anchor load to a demand is typically met with conventional fuels,
new district energy system can reassure owners which increases the operating cost and greenhouse
of other, smaller buildings who may have less gas emissions of the system.
understanding of their business-as-usual costs and
the benef its of district energy (Davies & Woods, In addition to diversif ication in the timing of
2009; Rodger, 2010). demand, mixed use can result in diversif ication in
the form of energy consumed, such as temperature
Higher urban density improves the viability and end use. For example, hospitals in Canada are
of district energy as economies of scale mean designed to use 100% makeup air, which increases
that the district energy service providers cost energy consumption for space heating, but also
of connecting larger buildings is lower per unit presents an opportunity to recover energy from
of energy delivered. As the cost of distribution exhaust air. Further, in health care facilities
piping is one of the most signif icant components (e.g. hospitals, retirement homes) as much as
of a district energy system, shorter distances 40% of the total energy consumed can be used
between high-density buildings signif icantly for heating domestic hot water, which presents
reduces this cost. further opportunities for energy recovery and
energy exchanges with other buildings. Recovered
In addition to higher density, developments that energy which cannot be used by one building
include mixed uses also support district energy in can potentially be used by another in an energy
interesting ways. District energy systems must be exchange arrangement (Chu, Richardson, &
designed to meet the peak energy demand of the Rogowska, 2014).
system as a whole, and the ratio of peak demand
to average demand strongly affects the economics
of the system. If all buildings served by a district
3.7 FINDINGS FOR
energy system are of the same type (for example PLAN4DE
multi-family urban buildings), then the timing
of peak energy demand for every building will District energy can support societal objectives
be similar (e.g. early morning and early evening). related to greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution,
If, on the other hand, the connected buildings resilience and local economic benef it. There are
include a mix of homes and different types of various factors that inf luence a district energy
business, then the timing of peak demand will be project, beginning with the characteristics of the
diverse, which tends to reduce the ratio of peak built environment, but also including the policy
demand to average demand (Hawkey, 2009). context, economic factors, culture and geography.
While Plan4DE is explicitly intended to address

P L A N 4 D E | 15
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The built environment is defined as man-


made surroundings that provide the setting for
human activity, ranging from the large-scale civic
surroundings to the personal places (Moffatt & Kohler, 2008, p.
249).

4 . THE BUILT EN V I R ONMENT & ENE R GY


DENSITY
the conf iguration of the built environment, it can function of the characteristics and use of the
also provide insight in f inances and policies and built environment. While these characteristics
act as an educational tool. represent design and planning decisions, they in
turn are driven by economic activity, fuel prices,
The built environment is def ined as man- climate and other variables (Creutzig et al., 2014).
made surroundings that provide the setting for The growing focus on the relationship between
human activity, ranging from the large-scale civic the built environment and energy demand is
surroundings to the personal places (Moffatt highlighted in Chapter 8 of the IPCCs Fifth
& Kohler, 2008, p. 249). While there are many Assessment Report and explicitly recognizes of
human activities that occur within and around the extent of urbanization anticipated, and the
the built environment, this project explores the idea that urbanization can itself be a greenhouse
implications of the built environment with respect gas emissions mitigation strategy that integrates
to the requirement for and provision of thermal multiple sectors (Seto & Dhakal, 2014). The
energy, using the strategy of district energy. To IPCC chapter specif ically references the urban
better inform these considerations, planners need form characteristics of density, land-use mix,
to consider a number of the factors that inf luence connectivity, and accessibility as drivers of energy
the intensity of energy consumption (kWh/m2) and GHG emissions.
and energy demand (kW/m2) at the land-use scale.
Data on energy consumption in buildings is
As buildings become more eff icient, through currently measured by the utilities that provide
the adjustment of the factors considered below, energy to these buildings, and is ref lected in
energy density decreases, and the viability of a utility bill. This data provides a reliable and
district energy therefore also decreases. Planners, accurate basis from which to understand the
when assessing future built environments, energy demands of the existing building stock
face a complex trade-off in that they need to and to model the energy demand of the future
contribute to and plan for decreased energy building stock. This data however is often hard to
density at the building level, while increasing come by, due to privacy constraints.
energy density at the land-use level to increase
the feasibility of district energy. To better inform Energy demand for buildings is expressed using
these considerations, planners need to consider energy intensity factors, such as GJ/m/yr or
a number of the factors that inf luence energy eKWh/m2/yr. Higher building energy intensity
intensity at the land-use scale. factors combined with higher built form densities
(i.e. more building f loor area) result in higher
Heating and cooling energy density are a
energy demands, increasing the potential benef it

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and feasibility of a district energy system. Figure scale are less frequently considered and have less
1, adapted from Ratti et al. (2005), Salat (2009), developed methods available for modelling in
and Miller (2013), illustrates the factors that affect comparison with those available at the individual
energy consumption in buildings; these are factors building scale (Miller, 2013).
that inf luence the heating and cooling energy
density. 4 . 1 E N E R G Y & C L I M AT E
Urban form or land-use planning plays a role in In general, energy demand is climate and context
building energy consumption in both building specif ic. For heating demand, the warmer the
morphology and urban structure, and in two climate the lower the operational energy due to
key ways: heat transfer and solar access (Miller, the reduction in heating energy required (Newton
2013). At the individual building scale, building et al., 2000). However, this does not necessarily
morphology refers to characteristics such as: imply that buildings in warmer climates use less
size and shape of a building, surface to volume energy overall, as warmer climates may result
ratio (S:V), plan depth, building height, and in increases in energy demand for mechanical
faade design characteristics (glazing ratios and cooling. The most prevalent working f luids in
distribution, building orientation, and envelope mechanical cooling systems on the market today
performance). At the block or neighbourhood are hydrof luorocarbons (HFCs), which contribute
scale, urban structure refers to the arrangement to climate change.
and spacing of buildings, streets, and open space,
which include measures such as density (f loor area Urban form or land-use planning plays a role in
ratio or FAR), land coverage, and spacing between building energy consumption in both building
buildings. The neighbourhood scale also captures morphology and urban structure, and in two
the cumulative impact of the relationships key ways: heat transfer and solar access (Miller,
between multiple buildings (building massing, 2013). At the individual building scale, building
heights, arrangements and spacing), and their morphology refers to characteristics such as:
impact on energy consumption. The impacts size and shape of a building, surface to volume
of urban form on energy at the neighbourhood ratio (S:V), plan depth, building height, and
scale are less frequently considered and have less faade design characteristics (glazing ratios and
developed methods available for modelling in distribution, building orientation, and envelope
comparison with those available at the individual performance). At the block or neighbourhood
building scale (Miller, 2013) scale, urban structure refers to the arrangement

and spacing of buildings, streets, and open space, The mechanical cooling load is also dependent
which include measures such as density (f loor area upon building design and whether non-mechanical
ratio or FAR), land coverage, and spacing between cooling methods, such as operable windows, are
buildings. The neighbourhood scale also captures implemented. Climate has a signif icant impact on
the cumulative impact of the relationships heating and cooling energy consumption, and the
between multiple buildings (building massing, extent of this inf luence is determined by the way
heights, arrangements and spacing), and their in which the built environment responds to the
impact on energy consumption. The impacts climate, through design, or the lack thereof.
of urban form on energy at the neighbourhood

URB AN B UILDING B U ILD ING OCCU PA NT E N ER G Y


CLIMATE ST RUC T URE/ MO RPH OLOG Y SY ST E MS B E H AVIOU R CO N S U M P TI O N
CO NT EXT

Figure 1: Factors influencing energy intensity in buildings

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an apartment being less than half of a typical


4.2 E N E R G Y U S E & detached house. However, when comparing
URBAN STRUCTURE energy per person (by taking into account people
per unit), the energy usage for apartments is
Density is a measure of the concentration of signif icantly lower than for detached houses,
development (residential, commercial, industrial, as the occupancy per square meter is higher for
etc.) per unit of land. Density is measured in a apartments than for detached houses.
number of ways including people per hectare/
acre, dwelling units per hectare/acre (for In contrast, models examining increased density in
residential), and f loor space ratio (FSR) or FAR. commercial buildings have shown potential overall
FSR and FAR are a measurement of the ratio of increases in energy consumption per area from
a buildings f loor area to the area of the lot on increased cooling demands, due to high levels of
which the building is built (Senbel et al., 2010). As internal heat gains present in these buildings.
density increases, total energy demand increases
(i.e. the energy intensity factor is applied across
a greater f loor area). It is important, however,
4.3 BUILDING
to understand how energy-intensity factors, M O R P H O L OG Y
particularly for residential and commercial uses,
change as building density changes. 4. 3. 1 B U I L D I N G E N V E L O P E

As Doherty et al. (2009) explains, the concept of The building envelope (i.e. the physical
density is plagued by several def initions that vary separator between a conditioned indoor space
depending on the purpose, and confusion arises and unconditioned outdoor space) and its
partly because density can refer to either dwellings performance have a signif icant impact on building
or people per unit area, as noted above. Where energy consumption. As the majority of energy
calculations of people per unit area are used, consumed in buildings is for space heating and
these are based on an assumed average number of cooling, heat transfer between interior and
people per dwelling/unit. Most def initions are exterior space determines the level of energy
linked as they attempt to identify low-, medium- required in a building to maintain comfortable
and high-density categories in a relative sense for levels of heating and cooling. Improving the
planning purposes, but the precise meaning of thermal performance level of a dwelling can have a
such categories varies signif icantly both within dramatic effect on its heating and cooling energy
and between countries. consumption. In general, energy use decreases
as thermal performance increases (Newton et
A variety of researchers note that as density al., 2000). However, results also show that as
increases, buildings typically consume less envelope performance increases in certain cases,
energy on a per capita or per area basis (Salat, heating demand decreases while cooling demand
2009; Steemers, 2003). That is, energy intensity increases (Miller, N., 2013). This is in part due
factors decrease as building density increases. to other factors such as glazing ratio, building
Shared walls and f loors/ceilings and shared compactness, and local shading.
building mechanical systems contribute to lower
heating and cooling loads (Senbel, M, et al, 4. 3. 2 B U I L D I N G CO M PAC T N E S S
2010). Newton et al. (2000) show that annual
A buildings compactness refers to the surface-to-
heating and cooling energy per square metre
volume ratio of a building, or the ratio between
for apartments are very similar to those for
total building surface area and total enclosed
detached houses, despite the total f loor area of
building volume. In general, as building density

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ENERGY DENSITY

increases (and building height increases), more the day when temperatures are at a maximum and
building volume is enclosed by building surface, buildings are already heated (Baker & Steemers,
resulting in a lower surface-to-volume ratio 2000).
(S:V), making a building more compact. The
predominant effect of compactness is reducing
4. 3. 4 T R A D E O F F S AT T H E B U I L D I N G S C A L E
heat transfer, as more compact building shapes
enclose more building volume with less surface While increasing compactness and building
area through which heat can escape (Miller, 2013). density generally reduces heat loss, increasing
these characteristics does not guarantee overall
building energy reductions. The trend for
4.3 .3 G L A Z I N G R AT I O & O R I E N TAT I O N
increased glazing as building density increases
Glazing ratio refers to the proportional amount counteracts some of the thermal performance
of glazing (including windows) on a building, benef its of more eff icient surface-to-volume
that is, the ratio between total glazing area and ratios and shared walls and f loors, increasing
total building area. Heat loss through glazed energy demand (Miller, 2013). Minimizing heat
surfaces is higher than typical wall assemblies, and losses during the winter requires minimization
as such is a signif icant factor in overall envelope of the surface-to-volume ratio; but this implies
performance and building energy demand. In a reduction of the building envelope exposed
general, higher glazing ratios result in higher to the outside environment, thus reducing the
heating and cooling demand, counteracting much availability of daylight and sunlight and increasing
of the benef it of eff icient surface-to-volume energy consumption for artif icial lighting and
ratios (Miller, 2013). During cold weather, heating natural ventilation (Ratti, Raydan, & Steemers,
demand increases with increased glazing due to 2003).
loss of heat through the less thermally resistive
glazing components of the building envelope. The relationships between compactness,
However, increased glazing allows for passive solar building density and building energy are further
heating opportunities, where heating demand complicated by differences between residential
is decreased as passive zones (areas adjacent to and commercial uses (Miller, 2013). For residential,
glazing) experience heat gain from sunlight. The increasing building density from detached housing
loss of heat, however, generally outweighs passive to apartments can reduce heating energy demand.
heating effects during cold weather. In contrast, However, such density increases typically require
cooling demand primarily increases with increased increased building depth, increased building
glazing due to the increase in solar gains during height or reduced building spacing that limit
warm weather (Miller, 2013). Buildings with access to passive heating and daylighting. In
excessive glazing ratios and untreated faades certain contexts, low-density residential design
(symptomatic of high-rise buildings) make them with high surface-to-volume ratios maximized
particularly vulnerable to overheating during for passive solar heating may provide greater
the summer and to heat losses during the winter opportunities than density for reduced energy
(Salat, 2009). demand (Steemers, 2003). For commercial
buildings, increasing the building depth of off ices
A buildings orientation, and the distribution of reduces the availability of natural ventilation
glazing, relative to the suns position, also impacts and daylight, resulting in an anticipated increase
a buildings opportunities for passive heating. For in mechanical ventilation and artif icial lighting.
space heating, glazing oriented to the east and However, heat losses are likely to decrease as the
south (for buildings in the northern hemisphere) surface-to-volume ratio decreases with increasing
provides the most useful gains. In comparison, plan depths (Steemers, 2003). In contrast,
western orientations provide solar gains late in however, commercial buildings with high cooling

P L A N 4 D E | 19
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demands may benef it from higher surface-to- Commercial buildings also consume more energy
volume ratios, which can assist in reducing cooling per square metre than both residential and
demand (Steemers, 2003). industrial land uses (Steemers, 2003). Differences
in space heating and cooling requirements vary
Notwithstanding the complexity discussed above, climatically, particularly latitudinally (Doherty
Miller (2013) notes that the impacts of building et al., 2009). As a general rule, the warmer the
compactness, density and glazing ratios on heating climate, the lower the operational energy, because
demand are reduced as envelope performance of the reduction in heating energy required
improves. This suggests that at the building (Newton et al., 2000). Heating is the major driver
scale, there should be a greater focus on envelope of energy consumption, ahead of cooling and
performance than on other factors. Steemers refrigeration (Doherty et al., 2009).
(2003) notes that the arguments for and against
density for building design are f inely balanced Different building-use activities require
and dependent on local contexts. different types of heating and cooling systems
and equipment, lighting and hot water systems,
with large variations in capacity and eff iciency.
4.4 B U I L D I N G In general, as systems and equipment eff iciency
SYSTEMS decreases, energy demand increases. Also,
buildings containing different activities do not
The operational energy consumed in buildings is use energy at the same rate and at the same time
predominantly used in space heating and cooling, of day. In general, commercial and industrial uses
and in running appliances, including heating hot consume more energy during working hours,
water and lighting (Doherty et al., 2009). Energy whereas residential energy consumption peaks in
consumption changes for different building uses the morning and evening, before and after regular
or activities. In general, residential dwellings are working hours, respectively.
dominated by space heating, while commercial
buildings have signif icantly larger requirements
for space cooling and lighting.

Figure 2: End-use of energy in buildings (OECD/IEA, 2013)

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their respective consumption are more inclined to


4.5 OCC U PA N T save energy, especially where energy is expensive,
B E H AV I O U R compared to occupants who consume energy from
collective systems.
Occupant behaviour affects building energy use
directly and indirectly; opening/closing windows, In a study completed by Hong & Lin (2013),
turning on/off or dimming lights, turning on/ results showed that occupants of private off ices
off equipment and electronics, turning on/off who are proactive in saving energy consume up to
heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) 50% less energy, while occupants who are wasteful,
systems, and setting indoor thermal, acoustic consuming energy at will and lacking motivation
and visual comfort criteria (Hong, 2014). Grey to reduce energy use, consume up to 90% more
and Gleeson (2007) discuss occupant behaviour energy.
factors that tend to increase energy demand. These
include: increasing aff luence or household income
(related to larger residential homes and increasing
4 . 6 T H E B L OC K &
area per person), uptake of more electronic and N E I G H B O U R H OO D
consumer goods due to declining prices, and,
where applicable, low energy prices. SCALE
As discussed earlier, arguments for and against
Hong and Lin (2013) note that occupant
density, balancing the need to reduce heat loss
behaviour is one of the most signif icant sources
with the need for solar access (resulting in passive
of uncertainty in the prediction of building
heating) are complex and affected not only by
energy use by simulation programs due to the
factors of building design and use, but also local
complexity and inherent uncertainty of occupant
context.
behaviour. Ratti et al. (2005) argue that occupant
behaviour and its effect on energy performance
At the block or neighbourhood scale, building
can vary by a factor of 2 between buildings, even
energy consumption is inf luenced primarily by the
among buildings with comparatively similar
shading of adjacent buildings, which limits solar
functions. They theorize that occupants could be
access. This substantially reduces opportunities
more likely to adopt energy eff icient behaviour
for passive solar heating and natural daylight,
if they live in an energy eff icient house and are
increasing overall heating and lighting demand
aware of its eff iciency measures. Similarly, Baker
(Miller, 2013; Ratti et al., 2005; Steemers, 2003).
and Steemers (2000) argue that good urban form
These same shading effects, however, also reduce
design may result in better occupant behaviour.
overall cooling demand (Miller, 2013).
In contrast, Salat (2009) suggests that if occupants
are aware that the building they occupy is very
Solar access is inf luenced primarily by building
well insulated, they might feel less incentivized to
spacing and arrangements, which are dependent
monitor their heating consumption.
upon a number of urban pattern elements such
as street widths, parcel size, building setbacks,
Research conducted by Salat (2009) shows that
building heights, and the distribution of open
for buildings heated by electricity, occupants
spaces. A measure of building spacing and
consume only half their theoretical heating needs,
arrangement (used in research by Steemers, 2003;
whereas occupants who receive heat through
Ratti et al., 2005; and Miller, 2013) is urban
district energy generally consume 30% more than
horizon angle (UHA). The UHA is the average
their theoretical needs. Salat (2009) concludes that
angle of elevation of surrounding buildings from
occupants who receive individual pricing based on
the centre of a given faade, and is affected by

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the height of and distance between structures. glazing ratios, high-rise buildings with lower
The UHA accounts for building shading and envelope performance requirements, and increased
signif icantly affects solar access, particularly in the shading effects due to high UHAs. Particularly
winter when the sun is lower in the sky (Baker and when it comes to local shading, it is important
Steemers, 2000). to understand that there will be trade-offs;
implementing high-density development may
The predominant (yet limited) literature reviewed decrease heating demand (per area or per capita)
in this area is by Steemers (2003) and Miller for the new building, in comparison with a lower-
(2013) who conducted research in the UK and density development. But it may also increase
Vancouver, BC, respectively. It is important to shading on adjacent buildings, causing increased
note that their f indings are context and climate heating demand. At the block or neighbourhood
specif ic. Steemers (2003) shows that the UHA can scale, positive impacts for one building may have
affect heating energy demand by as much as 30%, negative impacts for another.
cooling demand by 20%, and lighting demand
by 150%, with the greatest impacts occurring
4. 6. 1 Ur b a n h e at i s l a n d e f f e c t a n d
for south-facing faades. Miller (2013) found
v e g e tat i o n
that increased UHA results in increased heating
demands and decreased cooling demands, higher Urban areas in many parts of the world are
density urban patterns tend to require less heating subject to the urban heat island (UHI) effect.
energy and more cooling energy per capita and per Increased densities are generally accompanied by
unit of building area, and residential buildings increases in built materials and paved areas, and
will experience larger increases in heating energy decreases in natural land cover (e.g. vegetation
demand and smaller improvements in cooling and bare soil). These conditions exacerbate UHI,
demand with high UHA conditions. resulting in higher temperatures in denser city
centres, which lead to increased cooling demand
Millers overarching f inding is that, for the urban (Doherty et al., 2009). Miller (2013) argues that
patterns and development context chosen for UHI increases cooling demand, but decreases
analysis, there is relatively little variation in energy heating demand, resulting in a net reduction in
performance among patterns of similar density energy consumption. Doherty et al. (2009) discuss
but distinctly different urban forms, suggesting further how vegetation can play a signif icant role
that urban form may not have the potential in regulating the urban microclimate and can
for the factor of 2 impact on building energy inf luence operational energy demand through
suggested by Ratti et al. (2005). The type and mix solar absorption and the cooling effects provided
of building activities included in buildings, for by shade and evapotranspiration.
otherwise similar urban forms and patterns, play a
larger role in heating and cooling demand. 4. 6. 2 R e n e wa b l e e n e r g y p ot e n t i a l

Research by Sarralde et al. (2011) explores renewable


Millers research supports the general assertion
energy potential (REP), that is the potential to install
of urban-form building-energy literature, that
several renewable energy technologies (RET) in existing
higher-density development provides the benef it
neighbourhoods and cities. The RETs reviewed include
of reduced heating demand through more compact
Diffuse RET those technologies that once installed
building shapes and more eff icient use of f loor
will not block any urban space that could be used
area (e.g. smaller residential units). However,
for other purposes (e.g. buildings or infrastructure)
this research also identif ies several key urban
and that will not require any further material f lows
form factors tied to increased density that work
for their functioning, including photovoltaic panels
against heating demand benef its, such as high
(PV) installed on roofs or faades, or meso-scale

Plan4DE
THE BUILT

ENVIRONMENT &

ENERGY DENSITY

wind turbines installed on rooftops; and Concrete


RET those options that use extra urban space and/ 4.7 FUTURE
or generate material f lows, such as biomass-fuelled BUILDINGS
combined heat and power (CHP) systems or macro-
scale wind turbines, which might require a non-built The introduction of new policy measures to
safety area around them. increase the energy eff iciency of buildings as well
as the adoption of voluntary standards such as
Sarralde et al. (2011) concluded that lower PassivHaus will likely result in signif icantly lower
building density is benef icial for REP in existing energy density, and indeed major eff iciency gains
neighbourhoods and cities. Higher building density will be required to limit climate change.
means that fewer portions of land are freely available
for installing RET; however, this may not necessarily As of 2020 in Europe, nearly zero-energy
mean that the f inal renewable energy output will be buildings are assumed to be the norm due to
lower, since it will depend on what types of RET can the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
be installed. While high density can be detrimental for (Vandevyvere & Stremke, 2012a). An IEA report
some types of RET, it can be benef icial for others. For documents low carbon or zero emissions building
example, a high-density area might not be optimal for policies in ten countries, with targets between
installing wind turbines or domestic shallow ground 2020 and 2050 (OECD/IEA, 2013).
source heat pumps (GSHPs), but it can be very good
for the installation of building-mounted PV, due to a In response to a saturation of district energy in
larger proportion of envelope area. countries where district energy already connects
the buildings with higher heat density, a major
In subsequent research, Sarralde, Quinn, Wiesmann, study (Zinko et al., 2008) identif ied a wide range
& Steemers (2015) show that while there is more room of strategies to reduce the cost of district heating
for improvement in increasing the amount of solar to increase the feasibility of low heat density areas.
radiation received on faades (by modifying variables These strategies sought to reduce investment
such as plot ratio, distance between buildings and and heat losses, for example, by reducing the
building heights), this is still a small portion of what pipe dimensions, increasing insulation with new
can be achieved on roofs. Miller (2013) explores the role piping systems, decreasing the size of the trench,
that roof shape plays in the solar potential of urban integrating the install with other infrastructure
patterns (i.e. local energy generation potential), and projects, identifying new energy services such
concludes that f lat roofs provide the greatest benef it as absorption chillers, washing machines,
for solar potential due to their reduced dependence on dishwashers and dryers, the notion of branching
building and roof orientation. Where building height out beyond the provision of energy for heating
varies (generally associated with higher densities), (Spth, 2005). There is also an opportunity for
reduced solar potential occurs for shorter buildings individual buildings to become energy generators
within the urban structure, while taller buildings and traders as part of a district energy network
maintain maximum solar potential due to limited (Nystedt, Shemeikka, & Klobut, 2006).
shading on roof surfaces. This effect can, however,
be minimized if building heights are kept relatively District energy systems can create perverse
consistent. incentives that result in the avoidance of
successful energy savings strategies, as well as
legal requirements that can inhibit more eff icient
dwellings or buildings another form of path
dependence. One option is to design a tariff
structure that ref lects ecological impact, analogous

PLAN4DE | 23
THE BUILT

ENVIRONMENT &

ENERGY DENSITY

to a carbon tax so that low-energy dwellings are


not penalized (Spth, 2005). The development
of highly eff icient buildings increases the focus
on urban planning to maximize the viability of
district energy.

Finally, in addition to the decreased heating and


cooling demand due to design eff iciencies, there
is also the impact of climate change on heating
degree days and cooling degree days, both of
which drive energy consumption (Aebischer,
Catenazzi, & Jakob, 2007; Christenson, Manz, &
Gyalistras, 2006).

4.8 F I N D I N G S F O R
PLAN4DE
The viability of district energy systems relies
in part on the total energy demand for the area
to be serviced the general approach being to
maximize the total energy demand. This total is
calculated by multiplying energy intensity factors
for different types of building use (expressed as
GJ/m/yr) by the total f loor area of that use (a
function of building or development density). It
follows therefore that maximizing total energy use
involves maximizing the energy intensity factor,
the density, or both.

In general, as density increases (and building


characteristics improve), energy intensity factors
improve (i.e. decrease), which counteracts the
intent to establish a maximized total energy
demand. There are also a wide range of factors
that inf luence energy requirements, including
shape, size, occupant behavior, location, building
mix and others. Plan4DE needs to provide insight
on these factors to facilitate the optimal built
environment given broader societal parameters
such as existing built environment conditions,
demographics and economic context.

Plan4DE
THE DISCIPLINE OF PLANNING

Urban design, including the clustering of buildings


and mixing of different building types within a given
area greatly affect the opportunities for and cost of
district heating and cooling systems (Levine & rge-Vorsatz,
2007).

5 . T H E DIS CIPL IN E OF PL AN N IN G
A key task in designing a model for city planners as politics and economics may have a strong
is thoroughly understanding the role of urban inf luence on zoning control and patterns, and
planning as it relates to district energy. Planning therefore the resultant urban form.
is empowered by a legal and regulatory framework
and is implemented through an administrative
system, both of which vary considerably from
5. 1 P L A N N I N G
country to country (Newman & Thornley, & ENERGY
1996). In general, planners have inf luence on
urban form through: the direct administration CO N S U M P T I O N
or implementation of zoning control in
A buildings energy performance is inf luenced by,
existing areas; the changing of zoning control
and under the control of, different professional
(through amendments) in existing areas; and the
actors in the urban context, at building and
development of new zoning controls alongside
neighbourhood scale, namely: planners with
urban design and street pattern, for new urban
respect to urban structure, architects/designers
developments.
with respect to urban and building morphology,
systems engineers with respect to building
In these settings, the planners role is either as
systems, and occupants/building owners with
administrator of an existing control framework, or
respect to occupant behaviour. The division
developer and/or proponent of new or different
between the private and public sector in the
control framework. Generally speaking, major
actual construction of the built environment
inf luence or change to urban form comes through
varies by jurisdiction, but local governments
the development of a new set of principles or
have a signif icant inf luence, as is illustrated in
control that is then followed by development.
the case studies and policy catalogue developed
In this instance, planners tend to play either
in IEAs Annex 51 (Strasser et al., 2011). Local
an expert role (making recommendations on
governments can carry their policies relating to the
appropriate changes) or a facilitation role
urban structure through to building morphology,
(consolidating widespread recommendations,
building systems and even to occupant behaviour.
achieved through engagement, on what should
be changed). These recommendations and expert
As discussed above, planners have the most
opinions are often grounded in the contextual
inf luence and control over urban structure, form
planning approach. It is very seldom, however,
and density. However, through zoning control,
that planners have ultimate decision-making
some aspects of planning can also inf luence
authority, as this is typically retained at the
building morphology, such as height (Wende,
political level. In the political realm such factors

PLAN4DE | 25
THE DISCIPLINE OF PLANNING

Huelsmann, Marty, Penn-Bressel, & Bobylev, and regulations, local and/or federal politics,
2010). At the building scale, architects and economics, and approaches to environmental
engineers are bound to not only follow zoning sustainability.
and bylaw requirements, but also building-code
requirements. Building code can (and often
does) have an inf luence on energy consumption,
5. 2 P L A N N I N G &
particularly as it relates to envelope performance. DISTRICT ENERGY
Another way to conceptualize the different Planners and other local authorities have a number
spheres of planning operations refers to of tools to encourage district energy development
geographic scale (Vandevyvere & Stremke, 2012b). and connection, using bylaws and local building
Interventions at the building level are the micro codes to ensure building design and systems are
scale, interventions in the larger scale energy compatible with district energy.
infrastructure occur at the macro scale, whereas
the discipline of planning focuses primarily, but Green building or neighbourhood standards
not exclusively, on the built environment, which can be set to establish various targets for energy
could be considered the meso scale. eff iciency. For example, a standard that sets an
electricity conservation target will naturally
When considering energy consumption in discourage the use of electric heaters, and a
the context of urban form, zoning control, renewable energy procurement target will
urban pattern and building-code regulations naturally discourage the use of fossil-based fuels
need to work together (van den Dobbelsteen, (King & Bradford, 2013).
2007). Dwelling density can increase as a result
of deliberate policies under a compact-city The ability of local government to encourage
philosophy. However, if building code and energy or, in some cases, require district energy ready
performance standards are not improved, overall (DE-R) buildings varies considerably across
energy eff iciency may not be achieved. jurisdictions. In parts of Europe and Asia (e.g.
Denmark, South Korea), local governments can
Urban form refers to the spatial and physical mandate energy utility services across districts.
pattern or structure of developed areas, and the The Canadian context provides both a legal
distribution and relationship of uses within framework and environmental values that help
this structure. Urban patterns are made up of support the development of district energy. The
a number of elements (buildings, parcels, open City of North Vancouver in British Columbia
spaces and streets) that are linked by a consistent, established a Hydronic Heat Energy Service
repeated set of systematic relationships (Miller, Bylaw to create a district heating service area for
2013). Variations to these elements and their the Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood. The bylaw
functions or uses generally occur within an requires all new or retrof itted buildings greater
organized set of principles or control, which than 1,000 square meters be connected to and use
ref lect the development approach (Table 1). the district energy system.

Urban forms, and approaches to urban form,


vary depending on context, across different
jurisdictions, countries, and climates, due
to a number of elements. These include
differences in architectural style and building
materials, planning approaches, policy, codes

Plan4DE
THE DISCIPLINE OF PLANNING

Table 1: Description of common planning strategies that influence urban form

P L A N N I N G S T R AT E G Y DESCRIPTION

Zoning Control What gets built on a parcel of land is generally determined by the zoning control and other
regulatory requirements that apply to that land.

Land Use Residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, recreational, open space, agricultural, right
of ways (roads, rail, utilities).

Density Number of residents, households, employees, units, or building area per total parcels (e.g.
f loor space ratio (FSR), dwelling units per area).

Setbacks (which can also be Inf luences the distance, and therefore spacing pattern, between buildings and between
a function of density) buildings and streets.

Building typology (which E.g. detached houses, semi-detached houses, apartment blocks.
can also be a function of
density)

Building geometry Vertical and horizontal distribution height, volume, perimeter distance.

Building character Architectural look and feel in certain contexts, this can be prescribed through control,
in other circumstances, designers are given more artistic freedom to create individualistic
designs.

Urban geometry How parcels of land f it together within a developed area is determined by street pattern and
block sizing.

Street patterns Street patterns make up the spatial structure of urban areas. This includes the street width
and geometric layout.

Block sizing Block sizes determine the length of a block (or collective parcels) of land between intersecting
streets, and therefore, a corresponding length in street. No one street pattern is associated
with a particular block size block sizes can vary within the same street pattern. For example,
a traditional grid street pattern may have 100m x 50m blocks, or 100m x 100m.

5.3 F I N D I N G S F O R
PLAN4DE
Although planners do not develop district energy,
they have a wide range of tools that can either
enable or inhibit district energy through their
inf luence on the built environment. Planners
increasingly have a mandate to incorporate
strategies to reduce energy and emissions of which
district energy is one.

PLAN4DE | 27
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

A model is not a piece of absolute and universal


science but the expression of a point of view that will
take place in a social context where it will more or less
be relevant (Bouleau, 1999, p. 340).

6. MODELLING THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT


In order to understand relevant modelling checking that the ex-ante reasoning makes sense,
approaches and strategies, a scan of the existing testing theory and method, and exploring design
modelling ecosystem was undertaken, focusing on alternatives and design decisions (Devisme, Bosse,
the built environment, urban energy systems and Dumont, & Ouvrard, 2011).
district energy.

What is a model? In this project, a model


6 . 1 C L A S S I F I C AT I O N
is def ined as a conceptual abstraction of an OF MODEL
existing or proposed real system that captures
characteristics of interest, consisting at its essence A P P R OAC H E S
of inputs, calculations and outputs. There are two
Modelling of urban systems has been evolving
streams of modelling of interest to this project:
rapidly, driven by urban theory and computing
urban energy modelling and district energy
abilities, but the history of their use is relatively
modelling. There is overlap across these two
short, spanning f ifty to sixty years (Oryani
streams as those interested in district energy seek
& Harris, 1997). The earliest land-use models
to characterize the heating and/or cooling demand
attracted signif icant interest and effort as a
of the built environment to investigate the
strategy to understand and manage the rapid
feasibility of district energy, and those interested
growth in automobile use. Douglass Lee (1973)
in energy f lows within the built environment also
published a watershed paper in 1973 titled
seek to understand heating within buildings.
Requiem for large-scale models in which he
identif ied major weaknesses. Following this paper,
A model, if designed to address the capabilities
interest waned and the focus shifted to short-term
and context of a user group, in this case city
problem solving for more than a decade (Pinto
planners, can facilitate an enhanced understanding
& Antunes, 2007). The emergence of GIS in the
of cause and effect and therefore improved policy
1980s increased computer power, and increased
outcomes that support energy eff iciency and
data availability reinvigorated the relevance
greenhouse gas emissions. A workshop under
of models as signif icant tools for urban policy
the auspices of the Organisation for Economic
decision-making (L. Li, Sato, & Zhu, 2003).
Co-operation and Development (OECD) that
explored the development and state of urban
Of the urban systems that can be modelled,
models globally, identif ied motivations for using
transportation has attracted the most interest,
models as: exploring and discussing policy scenario
evolving from the classic four-stage model which
development and alternative futures, informing
used a sequential analysis of trip generation, trip
policy decisions, convincing professionals,

Plan4DE
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

distribution, modal split and trip assignment to One framework evaluated nineteen models
generate traff ic f lows to cellular automata, which against three axes representing temporal,
simulate individual or household behaviour spatial and human decision-making complexity
(Kane & Behrens, 2002) and employs complexity (Agarwal, Green, & Grove, 2002). The authors
theory to generate unpredictable outcomes. In indicate that the relationship between human
addition to these resource-intensive models, a and environmental systems contains many
new generation of sketch-planning-type models nonlinearities and spatial and temporal lags which
has been developed which range from full-scale are not captured by statistical techniques, creating
simulation to diagnostic-indicator-like approaches a signif icant challenge for modelling. Nonlinear
(Batty, 2004). The overall result of the various dynamic models respond to this challenge, using
streams of urban systems model development over stock variables (for example, capital stock in an
the past forty years is a very diverse ecosystem economy), f low variables (annual investment in
of different approaches that are diff icult to capital) and parameters to create a model that
categorize or standardize. is not dependent on historical data and that
generates emergent, unpredictable outcomes. It
The most critical question in terms of model is, however, still diff icult to tune these models to
structure is the question of what is generated local contexts (Batty, 2004). In another approach
within the model (endogenous) and what the to classif ication, Table 2 identif ies nine different
inputs from other sources (exogenous) are. families of characteristics of energy models (Beeck,
Any agent or process whose attributes and/or 1999).
behaviour are determined within the model is
considered endogenous to the model, and factors Finally, a review of models for analyzing the
which affect system performance, but whose GHG impacts of land-use decisions classif ied
values are provided as inputs, are called exogenous eleven models by scope, methodology, scale
factors. The boundary of the model is one factor and support for policy making (P. M. Condon,
that determines which variables are inputs and Cavens, & Miller, n.d.). Methodological categories
which variables are the subject of evaluation in included spatial/nonspatial, top-down/bottom-
the model. Keirstead et al. (2012, p. 5) noted three up, simulation/end-state and observation-
different boundaries of urban energy systems, each based/process-based. Of these options for GHG
with signif icant implications for the type of model modelling, the authors indicated that a spatial
employed: dimension is advantageous as it interprets the
physical organization of a city and more effectively
Pure geographic, i.e. the urban energy system communicates the implications of decisions.
consists only of those technologies that lie Simulation models generate outcomes based on
within a citys administrative boundaries; a series of rules, whereas the end-state method
describes a future condition and work backwards.
Geographic-plus, i.e. everything within the In terms of this classif ication schema, Plan4DE is
administrative boundaries plus easily traceable intended to be spatial in that considers the spatial
upstream f lows, like electricity consumption; conf iguration of the built environment, bottom-
up in that it derives results based on individual
Pure consumption, i.e. the energy system unit, or specif ic buildings and end-state oriented
encompasses all energy activities of a citys in that it doesnt seeks to describe the evolution
occupants wherever they occur. For example, of the built environment, but rather a specif ic
attributing a resorts energy consumption and outcome.
emissions to the home cities of the visiting
tourists.

PLAN4DE | 29
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Table 2: Characteristics of energy models

A P P R OAC H C AT E G O R I E S

1. Purposes of energy models General: forecasting, exploring, backcasting

Specif ic: energy demand, energy supply, impacts, appraisal, integrated


approach, modular build-up

2. The model structure: internal assumptions Degree of endogenization, description of non-energy sectors, description
& external assumptions of end-uses, description of supply technologies (how many variables are
generated within the model vs. captured from other sources)

3. The analytical approach Top-down (i.e. deconstructs the economy to understand households)
or bottom-up (i.e. constructs a city transportation system based on
household behaviour)

4. The underlying methodology Econometric, macro-economic, economic equilibrium, optimization,


simulation, spreadsheet/toolbox, backcasting, multi-criteria.

5. The mathematical approach Linear programming, mixed-integer programming, non-linear


programming

6. Geographical coverage Global, regional, national, local, or project

7. Sectoral coverage Energy sectors or overall economy

8. The time horizon Short, medium, long term

9. Data requirements Qualitative, quantitative, monetary, aggregated, disaggregated

assess urban heating demand, employs LiDAR


6 .2 U R B A N E N E R G Y (airborne laser scanning) to identify three-
MODELS dimensional prof iles of buildings. A transmission
heat-loss method is then used to identify heat
Urban energy models seek to track the spatial and demand (Strzalka, Bogdahn, & Eicker, 2010).
temporal variation in urban energy demand. In Another approach divides a city into typologies
general these models are developed for a particular of relatively homogeneous built environment
location or set of circumstances, although there characteristics, assigns resource consumption to
are more generic approaches emerging such as each typology and calculates energy and other
SynCity (J. Keirstead, Samsatli, & Shah, 2010). resources used a top-down method (Juan Jos
A sub-stream of this broader category seeks to Sarralde, Quinn, & Wiesmann, 2011). Similarly,
quantify GHG emissions associated with urban but more precisely, both the Energy and
areas in order to guide local governments in their Environmental Protection Model (Cf, 2001) and
mitigation efforts (Devisme et al., 2011). The the Urban Archetypes Project (Webster, 2008)
techniques and strategies employed to quantify classify buildings into one of twenty types and
energy vary widely. One approach, seeking to attach them to a particular spatial location to

Plan4DE
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

enable calculation of building and transportation energy cooling and heating, including network
energy consumption. Common to all of these costs;
approaches is the use of GIS, essentially a
manipulatable database of spatial information. Comparison of base case (individual heating or
But the rise of big data gives rise to a whole new cooling) with district energy.
range of as yet untapped sources of data (Martino
et al., 2010.). For example, Googles NEST, a This approach is shown in Figure 3 on the
learning thermostat, not only tracks energy following page.
consumption online but also the behaviour of
residents over time (Barker, Mishra, Irwin, &
6. 3. 1 A S S U M P T I O N S A N D T H E O R Y B E H I N D
Cecchet, 2012).
T H E M O D E L L I N G A P P R OAC H E S

One notable stream of effort within the urban The most common methodology used for
energy modelling world is that of urban comparing different individual solutions for
metabolism. The urban metabolism method seeks heating and cooling with district energy systems
to track the f lux of energy or carbon, and/or other is to make a calculation of the net present value
resources through the urban system including of the costs for the different scenarios over a
changes in storage (Sahely, Dudding, & Kennedy, planning period (typically twenty years) and
2003), a complex but systematic approach that compare the individual solution with district
includes embodied as well as operational energy. energy (F. Li, 2013).
In their literature review on the subject, Holmes
and Pincetl (2012), note that urban metabolism An overview of typical assumptions is shown in
provides a complete picture of actual and Figure 4 on the following page. .
embedded energy use over short- and long-term
time scales. 6. 3. 2 S PAT I A L A N D N O N - S PAT I A L
DIMENSIONS IN THE MODELS
New strategies for validating models include
actual measurements of carbon f luxes, although None of the models studied has a focus on the
there are challenges extrapolating the accounting spatial dimensions of the area in the analysis. The
framework against actual location-based emissions user typically specif ies the number of buildings,
(Christen et al., 1990). the area of the buildings, the length of the needed
pipes in the district energy network, as well
as other related infrastructure. This approach
6 .3 D I S T R I C T E N E R G Y requires that the user have detailed knowledge of
MODELS district energy systems and the related technology
and cost data. However, in two of the models
Typically, all the studied models used for analyzing discussed below (the COWI Heat Atlas and the
the feasibility of district energy projects include study using Balmorel) a GIS database has been
the following elements for the analyzed area: used as input for the district energy model to
calculate energy density and the rough layout of
Calculation of consumption of heating or the district heating network. A further model,
cooling for all customers; the District Energy Concept Advisor provides
guidance to urban planners and developers at
Technical and economic calculations for an early stage of the development of the built
individual cooling and heating; environment, but it is not grounded in a specif ic
community (Erhorn-kluttig, Erhorn, Weber,
Technical and economic calculations for district Wssner, & Budde, 2013).

P L A N 4 D E | 31
MODELLING THE

BUILT EN V I R ONMENT

technical
& e co n o m i c
c a l c uat i o n s
f o r i n d i v i d ua l
h e at i n g & coo l i n g

technical
definition of & e co n o m i c
analyzed area: co m pa r i s o n o f b a s e
h e at i n g & coo l i n g c a s e ( i n d i v i d ua l
n e e d s , g e og r a p h y , coo l i n g & h e at i n g )
energy density with a district
energy system
technical
& e co n o m i c
c a l c uat i o n s
for district
energy system:
production &
N e t w o rk co s t s
c a l c u l at i o n s
Figure 3: Modelling of District Energy

specifics inputs for data f o r


district energy area r e l e va n t e n e r g y
production units
Archetypes for building areas:
- i n d i v i d ua l &
inputs on general district energy
Number, size and types of
f r a m e w o rk solutions
buildings -> energy density,
installation costs Size
Fuel prices, power prices,
taxes and subsidies Consumption prof ile (seasonal, Technical & economic
diurnal load variations daat: eff iciencies,
Lifetime and interest rate variable & f ixed O&M
for investments costs, investments, etc.
Network costs & losses
Emissions data
Local sources for cooling or
heating: sea water, ground Technical constraints
water, geothermal energy,
industrial surplus heat, etc. Political constraints

Figure 4: Assumptions in district energy models.

Plan4DE
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

6 .3 .3 L E V E L O F D E C I S I O N - M A K I N G T H AT T H E need to be optimized at the same time, taking


M O D E L S A R E D E S I G N E D TO I N F L U E N C E into account the dynamics of the regional power
system.
The studied models are all designed to inf luence
decision-making at the level of politicians or
planners. However, most of the models require the 6. 3. 5 G R A P H I C A L U S E R I N T E R FAC E
insight of technical staff to set up the necessary The user interface of the models is typically made
inputs and interpret the calculations and results. up of tables and graphs in the spreadsheet, an
approach that is easily accessible for those familiar
6 .3 .4 M E T H O D S U S E D F O R M O D E L L I N G with spreadsheets and f inancial analysis.
Four of the f ive studied models use spreadsheets
as the model platform. The mathematical model 6.4 EXISTING MODELS
structure is simple and employs basic theory for
energy balances and f inancial calculations. One There are a large number of quantitative models
model is based on linear programming, using the used for different aspects of the district energy
model language GAMS, but this model is only lifecycle. The models can be divided into different
necessary if a number of district energy areas types that serve different purposes, as illustrated
in Table 3.

MODEL TYPE DESCRIPTION EXAMPLES

Hydraulic models Models of district heating networks, pressure losses, f lows and pumping Systemrrnet, Termis

Energy system models Models that explore the role of district heating in the energy system. Balmorel, EnergyPlan,
Simple representation of district heating networks (demand, production, Times, SUNTool
fuel use).
Models of load dispatch Models that calculate hour by hour dispatch of production units and heat EnergyPRO
in single district heating storage.
systems
Costing models Models for calculating costs of district energy systems, dimensioning and RETScreen
layout of pipes. May include GIS applications.

Decision models for Models that evaluate the feasibility of district energy taking into account Rambll model
district energy projects investments in district heating network, heat/cooling production price developed for the
and energy density. Some models use GIS tools. Danish Energy Agency,
COWI Heat Atlas
(combination of
models), RETScreen,
DEEM, Balmorel.
Urban planning mode Decision models for district energy also including planning of urban None identif ied. This
structure to f it with district energy systems is the target use case for
Plan4DE.

Table 3: Model characteristics

P L A N 4 D E | 33
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

of buildings, distance to nearest district heating


6 .5 R E V I E W O F network, costs and environmental impact of
MODELS nearest district heating network (choice between
3 levels of costs), and specif ication of individual
Models used to evaluate the feasibility of district heating alternatives.
energy are used by most consultants and some
industrial companies working in the f ield of Based on these inputs the model calculates
district energy. Many of these are proprietary the costs of the individual and district heating
models, which means that developing an alternatives and makes a comparison of the two.
exhaustive list is diff icult. The models studied The model includes both a calculation of the
include the following: consequences for the users (including taxes and
subsidies) and a socio-economic calculation.
Rambll
6 .5 .1 COW I VA R M E AT L A S
COWI Heat Atlas
In 20132014, the Danish consultancy companies
RETScreen COWI and Ea Energy Analyses carried out an
analysis of the future for district heating in
DEEM Denmark for the Danish Energy Agency. This task
included an analysis of the optimal split between
Balmorel district heating and individual heating in Danish
buildings. Today district heating has a share of
District Energy Concept Advisor about 50%, but the analysis showed that it is
economically feasible to increase this to about 60
One model that was not studied but is notable is %. As part of the project an Excel-based model was
the SUNtool, a highly technical simulation model developed to analyze the competition between the
that includes urban planning dimensions and individual and district heating alternatives. The
district energy (Robinson et al., 2007). However, model includes data for all buildings in Denmark
it does not appear to be currently available. based on the Danish National Building and
Houses Database (BBR) and COWIs existing GIS
tools. The buildings were grouped in about 4,000
6. 5 . 1 R A M B L L M O D E L town areas with data for energy consumption of
In recent years many municipalities in Denmark the buildings, energy density and distance to the
have started working more systematically with nearest existing district heating network.
cross-cutting strategic energy planning including
energy eff iciency measures, heat planning, Based on assumptions for fuel prices, taxes and
transportation and other variables. To support subsidies, CO2 prices, power prices and technical
this work the Danish Energy Agency has developed and economic data for heating technologies, the
guidelines and tools to be used in planning. One costs for individual heating of the buildings were
of these tools is an Excel model for evaluating the calculated. Costs for the heat production in the
feasibility of district heating in new developments district heating networks were computed with
in towns and cities. The model includes an input the energy market model Balmorel and fed into
sheet, an output sheet and a number of calculation the Heat Atlas model. It was also possible to
sheets. The inputs from the user include: number calculate the district heating costs for alternative
and area of different types of buildings (i.e. single land uses and use these results as inputs into the
family, multi-storey, off ices), energy standard model. Finally, the model included inputs and
calculations of the costs for connecting buildings

Plan4DE
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

to a district heating network dependent on the the district energy case. The outputs from the
energy density and the distance of the buildings to model include a cost analysis, a f inancial analysis
existing district heating networks. and an emissions analysis in which the district
energy system is compared to the base case.
The results of the model include the costs
for individual heating systems and district
6. 5 . 4 D E E M
heating for all existing buildings in Denmark
and a comparison between the costs of the two The District Energy Economic Model (DEEM)
alternatives. Based on these results the optimal is a spreadsheet tool designed specif ically
split between individual and district heating for a to help developers, engineers and municipal
particular jurisdiction can be evaluated depending planners forecast how the benef its of a district
on the input assumptions. energy system translate into revenue, savings
and jobs for a specif ic community. The tool has
been developed by Natural Resources Canadas
6 .5 .3 R E T S C R E E N
CanmetENERGY and the focus of the tool is
RETScreen is a software system used to evaluate district energy in Canada.
energy eff iciency, renewable energy and
cogeneration project feasibility, and ongoing The model includes f ive input sheets where the
energy performance. The RETScreen software is a user specif ies data for a business as usual case
unique decision support tool developed with the (individual heating or cooling) and the district
contribution of numerous international experts energy case. The required inputs are detailed
from government, industry and academia, and and include data for the number and energy
is provided free of charge for worldwide use. consumption of buildings, and economic and
RETScreen evaluates energy production and technical data for the two cases. The model then
savings, costs, emission reductions, f inancial calculates the costs of the two cases and completes
viability, and risk for various types of renewable- a comparison. The model includes a number
energy and energy-eff icient technologies (RETs). of alternative perspectives and calculations to
The software (available in multiple languages) show the range of economic benef its of district
also includes product, project, hydrology and energy including wages and salary earnings, gross
climate databases, a detailed user manual, and a domestic product, taxes, jobs and environmental
case studybased college/university-level training impacts.
course, including an engineering e-textbook.
6.5.5 Balmorel
The software has quite a broad scope and the
analysis of district energy systems is one of a The Balmorel model simulates investment and
number of applications of the model. It is a operations of a combined electricity and CHP
spreadsheet model where the user can choose the system from an international perspective. It
type of project analyzed, i.e. energy eff iciency, permits integrated analyses of demand and supply
power production, heating, combined heat and of electricity and heat while balancing operations
power, and others. The possible project types against investment, local electricity generation
include district energy systems and the user against import/export of electricity, and price
needs to specify inputs including the number, elastic demand against generation and investment.
area and energy consumption of buildings, It represents demand of electricity and heat in
the required temperature, the pipe size and a number of geographical locations, each with
length of the district heating network, as well as individual time variations over the year.
detailed technical and economic data for the heat
production technologies in the base case and in Key inputs are existing electricity and heat

P L A N 4 D E | 35
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

generation capacities, electricity transmission possibilities for building service systems (space
capacities and demand. Additional key heating, hot water generation, ventilation,
assumptions relate to fuel prices, CO2 costs, cooling) and the integration of renewable energy
taxes and support schemes. The main outputs sources (Erhorn-kluttig et al., 2013).
are consumption, production, electricity
transmission, emissions and other characteristics
of the energy system.
6 . 6 CO M PA R I S O N O F
THE MODELS
The model is formulated as a deterministic linear
optimization model in the General Algebraic Table 4 provides an overview of a comparison of
Modeling System (GAMS) modelling language. the models.
This permits changes and adaptations of the
model to specif ic applications that are not
presently covered by the standard version of the
model. The models GAMS code is available under
open-source conditions at www.Balmorel.com.

In the study The role of district heating in the


future Danish energy system (Mnster et al.,
2012) the Balmorel model was adapted in order to
analyze the competition between district heating
and individual heating of buildings. In this version
of Balmorel, approximately 400 Danish district
heating areas were grouped into 25 aggregated
areas. For each of these areas the potential for
expanding the district heating networks into areas
with individual heating and the related costs of
the network expansions was calculated using a
heat atlas from Aalborg University. Based on this
input the Balmorel model was able to optimize the
expansion of district heating based on the costs
for individual heating, and the costs of district
heating production and network expansion.

6 .5 .6 D I S T R I C T E N E R G Y CO N C E P T A D V I S O R

The District Energy Concept Advisor was


developed as part of International Energy Agency
Annex 51 Energy Eff icient Communities. The
program is designed for urban planners, housing
companies, developers and local political decision
makers in the very early planning stages of the
energy supply of neighbourhoods. The tool is
populated with national building archetypes with
a f ixed geometry, a usage prof ile and U-values of
the building envelope (related to the age of the
building). The user can explore a wide range of

Plan4DE
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Table 4: Comparison of models reviewed

MODEL C H A R AC T E R I S T I C S CO M P L E X I T Y OPEN
SOURCE OR
P R O P R I E TA R Y
Rambll Spreadsheet model. Simple input structure. Low Open source

COWI Varmeatlas Spreadsheet model. Not very user-friendly. Medium Proprietary


The strength of the model is that it is able to
analyze a number of district energy systems at
the same time. It is not very detailed on the
level of each individual DH system.
RETScreen Spreadsheet model. The model includes the Medium Open source
possibility to analyze a number of different
renewable-energy and energy-eff icient
technologies (RETs) and district energy is
just one. The many details needed in the
input structure set high demands for the
technical insight of the user.
DEEM Spreadsheet model. Many details needed Low Open source
in input. Includes a broader view on the
benef its of district energy and includes
economic benef its such as GDP, taxes, jobs,
etc.
Balmorel GAMS model. Complex input and model High Open source
structure. Not suitable for analyzing
district energy in a single area but useful for
analyzing the role of district energy in the
energy system of a country or region.
District Energy Users can choose from databases of building Medium Proprietary
Concept Advisor types and customize the buildings, select
technologies and evaluate different options
using an interface.

P L A N 4 D E | 37
MODELLING THE

BUILT ENVIRONMENT

6 .7 O P E N S O U R C E 6.8 FINDINGS FOR


A number of the models reviewed are open source. PLAN4DE
Open source referred initially to a way of writing
There are many examples of different modelling
and distributing software in which it was given
strategies to support decision making related
away for free, in direct contrast to the traditional
to district energy. No models, however, were
approach in which software is developed as a trade
identif ied that support planners in optimizing
secret and sold (Healy & Schussman, 2003). The
the built environment for district energy. The
formal def inition requires that the source code
models vary in focus, complexity and accessibility
for the program must be available at little or no
according to their positioning relative to their
charge, redistribution of the program, in source
stage in lifecycle of the development of district
code or other form, must be allowed without fee,
energy. Plan4DE is uniquely positioned upstream
distributions of modif ied software must be allowed
as an intervention in the development of the
without discrimination, and the distributions of
built environment, prior to the articulation
those modif ications must be permitted on the same
of a particular district energy project. The
terms as the original program (Lerner & Tirole,
implication of this positioning is that Plan4DE
2005).
must have a bottom-up orientation, deriving
energy consumption from the characteristics or
6 .7.1 B E N E F I T S A N D C H A L L E N G E S
properties of specif ic buildings by type; it must
Successful open-source projects rely on a be spatial in order to understand the effects of
community of users who are willing to innovate different conf igurations of buildings on the costs
and share their innovations so that the software is of providing district energy networks; it must be
enhanced based on the users direct experiences. able to compare different scenarios, specif ically a
Participants in an open-source process may district energy scenario and an individual heating
accrue social benef its in contrast to atomized scenario; it must be able to identify or specify
agents relying on price signals to make decisions, an optimal district energy technology mix for a
community participants should be well-connected particular location given a particular combination
(pervasively networked) and information should of energy demands. Plan4DE must therefore
f low well between them, as well as the practical integrate considerations of the built environment,
benef its of having software that works properly, energy demand, consumption and supply and
the increase in reputation that comes from being f inancial implications. Because it is future-
associated with a successful project, and the oriented, it is not as concerned with precision of
potential [for] further commercial opportunities the assumption, but rather the relative impact
(Healy & Schussman, 2003, pp. 67). In their of different technology choices for for different
analysis, Healy & Schussman conclude that the contexts on the viability of district energy for a
more successful a project, the more professional its specif ic built environment. Plan4DE also needs to
core contributors will be, that a strong hierarchy is enable easy adjust of built environment parameters,
necessary and that successful projects will have core in order that planners can easily test possible
participants mobilized in a very similar manner to futures.
core participants in a social movement.
A number of models are open source, a mechanism
6 .7.2 E X A M P L E S to increase the accessibility to the model, the
Many urban energy models use open-source licenses transparency of its assumptions and to create
including UrbanSim (Waddell, 2010), LEAP a pathway for ongoing evolution. Plan4DE
(Heaps, Clark, & Howells, n.d.), SPRAC (York, will benef it from these attributes, which are
2012), Urban Footprint (Calthrope Associates, 2011) conditional on the development of an active user
and others. base.
Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7. P L A N4DE
The preceding sections have identif ied the role of for city infrastructure. Because planning
energy density amongst other factors that enable typically involves participatory processes and
or hinder district energy (Section 3), the aspects engagement of elected off icials, a tool which
of the built environment that inf luence energy integrates district energy into planning will
density (Section 4), the role of planners in shaping likely prompt discussions between planners,
the built environment (Section 5), and existing politicians and engineers.
tools or models that are used to explore different
aspects of district energy (Section 6). This section Practical: Plan4DE enables land-use planners,
describes the results that emerged from this through iteration to create a built form that
analysis and the integrated design process; the is condusive district energy, using language,
objectives, structure and methods that constitute concepts and practices that are directly
Plan4DE. relevant and applicable.

Objectives were established for Plan4DE that Enabling: Plan4DE serves as a decision gate,
are broader than the technical task of developing a binary tool that describes whether or
equations that illustrate the relationship between not district energy is viable for a specif ic
the built environment and district energy; they combination and conf iguration of buildings
also address social determinants. Plan4DE was and then enabling the use to explores the
designed to be: variables that enable or disable that option.

Persuasive: Plan4DE clearly and simply Educational: Plan4DE enables professionals


communicates to planners, engineers and who dont normally think about or consider
elected off icials the benef its of urban form energy to incorporate energy into their plans.
that support district energy, both in terms of It helps unveil the energy implications of land-
the benef its resulting from district energy and use decisions to those making the decisions.
co-benef its.
An unanticipated insight emerged from the design
Cross-disciplinary: Plan4DE builds linkages process: that the process of applying Plan4DE was
between disciplines including planners and as important as the results, in that it fostered the
engineers, and planners and politicians, questions and discussion that give rise to more
by enabling and encouraging bridging eff icient communities.
discussions. Because district energy is not the
traditional remit of planners, they will likely
consult or engage with engineers responsible

P L A N 4 D E | 39
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7.1 M O D E L C H A R AC T E R I S T I C S
Key characteristics of Plan4DE were determined during the design process. The model was designed for
specif ic countries, with the potential to be expanded to other locations as a result of accessibility to data
and the teams knowledge of those countries. In keeping with the imperative of inf luencing the design
and development of the built environment, the model was designed to accommodate geographies that are
common in the world of city planning; both the city and the neighbourhood. Consideration was given to
both greenf ield sites in which buildings are constructed on a blank slate, and existing built environments
which are confronting change in the form of new developments or intensif ication. The audience for
Plan4DE was identif ied as city planners and those who have a signif icant inf luence over the built
environment.

Table 5: Characteristics of Plan4DE

PA R A M E T E R MODEL DESCRIPTION
Geographic The tool will be applicable for all IEA countries. Initial data catalogues will be
provided for Denmark, Canada and the US.
Application Applicable for community plans, secondary plans and/or neighbourhood
plans.

Greenf ield or intensif ication projects- can address contexts with new
construction and/or existing buildings.
Audience The primary target audience with be land-use planners and educators in
universities.

Secondary audience includes politicians, bridging to developers and engineers


as well as consultants supporting the planning community.

There were many implications of these decisions for Plan4DE. The requirement to address broadly
different spatial contexts (neighbourhood to city) in combination with the need for an accessible platform
resulted in the decision to use Excel as the modelling platform and to undertake spatial analysis separately
in a GIS platform. Given that most planners have limited modelling experience, there was an imperative to
ensure that Plan4DE was simple to use, with a concern that the richness of the model would be lost in the
simplicity. As a result, three different interfaces were developed to enable its application with different
levels of technical ability.

On a district energy feasibility trajectory, Plan4DE was def ined as pre-pre-feasibility; pre-feasibility
was def ined as an initial scan to identify whether or not a feasibility study (a detailed assessment of
the economic parameters of a project) is merited. As a pre-pre-feasibility assessment, Plan4DE is not
concerned with the details of a particular project, but rather whether or not the existing or proposed built
environment could be optimized to enhance the feasibility of a generic district energy system.

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

Pre-Pre-
Pre-Feasibility Feasibility Design Tender
Feasibility

Scope of Options

Engineering Detailed
Plan4DE RETScreen
Models Costing

Before Construction 5-30 Years 3-5 Years 2-3 Years 1-2 Years 0-1 Year

Cost Estimates +/- 20-50% +/- 20-50% +/- 15-30% +/- 5-20% +/- 3-10%

Figure 5: Plan4DE relative to other tools

P L A N 4 D E | 41
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7.2 A N A L Y T I C A L A P P R OAC H

DEFINE URBAN
DISTRICT

E S TA B L I S H DEFINE &
THE C A L C U L AT E
FEASIBILITY REFERENCE
OF DISTRICT ENERGY
ENERGY SOLUTION

CO M PA R E DEFINE &
REFERENCE C A L C U L AT E
& DISTRICT DISTRICT
ENERGY ENERGY
SOLUTIONS SOLUTION

Figure 6: Key tasks in applying Plan4DE

The f irst task in applying Plan4DE is to def ine the district in order to improve the conditions for
the district including its size, whether it is a district energy or to test other variables.
greenf ield or redevelopment project, how the
district is conf igured, the number of buildings,
the type of buildings and the density of buildings.
7. 3 M O D E L D E S I G N
These calculations can be performed in GIS or Plan4DE was implemented in Microsoft Excel
estimated according to the use case of the analysis. to enable broad access and easy adaptability.
Subsequently, the reference case for thermal Figure 7 illustrates the model structure. A general
energy is def ined; what technologies are used to framework includes catalogues of technologies and
heat or cool the buildings and with what fuels? assumptions on prices and emissions. A district
The next step is to def ine tahe district energy is def ined in terms of buildings and a network.
system including whether technologies will be Constraints of various forms are applied to the
optimized according to cost, or whether specif ic technologies, costs, buildings and other variables
technologies will be selected based on available based on the specif ic circumstances of a particular
fuels or policies. The economics of the reference project. With the above considerations, the model
case and the district energy solution are then calculates heat generation costs, network costs
compared; based on the results, the user can go and the total heat supply costs. The outputs
back into the model to ref ine the characteristics of

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

are a comparison of district energy costs versus combination of district energy technologies required to
individual heating costs and environmental supply heat for a particular combination of buildings.
impacts in terms of air pollutants and greenhouse A second linear cost curve represents the cost of
gas emissions. individual heating systems and this cost is constant.
The desirable outcome is to identify a heat density at
At the heart of the model is a cost curve for district which point the cost of district energy is lower than the
energy, which is calculated for each district based cost of the individual heat supply, indicated as You
on the optimization of technologies or user-selected win in Figure 8.
technologies. The district energy cost curve is
generated specif ically for each conf iguration of the
built environment, varying according to the optimal

GENERAL FRAMEWORK L OC A L D I S T R I C T A R E A
Technology def initinons Building typology
Fuel prices, emission costs
Network typology
Detailed information (possible
to modify)

D E F I N I T I O N O F R E L E VA N T
G E N E R AT I O N U N I T S

Model guidance on technology


Technical constraints
Political constraints
Options for individual supply

MODEL ENGINE OUTPUT


Calculation of heat generation
costs Comparison District
Energy vs. Individual
Option for optimization
Cost
Calculation of network costs
Calculation of total heat Environmental indicators
supply costs

Figure 7: Model structure

P L A N 4 D E | 43
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

DO N T B OT H E R
CO S T

T R Y AG A I N
I N D I V I D UA L H E AT S U P P L Y

YO U W I N

H E AT D E N S I T Y
Figure 8: Illustration of cost curve concept

If the cost of individual heating is lower than the cost of district energy, in the try again circle, the user
can adjust variables in the built environment to increase the heat density.

Table 6: Costs included in Plan4DE

D I S T R C T E N E R G Y CO S T S I N D I V I D UA L S Y S T E M CO S T S

Generation capacity (capital costs) Generation capacity (capital costs)


Operations and maintenance Operation costs and maintenance
Fuel costs Fuel costs
Environmental costs Environmental costs
Network costs
Electricity generation (sales)

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

Cost for the district energy system includes capital, f ixed and variable operation and maintenance (O&M),
fuel, carbon & other emissions costs, power revenue (in the case of combined heat and power (CHP)), and
network/infrastructure costs. Similarly, the cost for individual heating (reference case) includes capital,
f ixed and variable O&M, fuel, carbon & other emissions, but excludes power revenue and network costs.

The total cost for both district energy and individual heating are annualized based on a user-chosen
system lifetime in years. The annual cost to supply the total annual heat demand through an optimized
district energy system is compared with the cost to supply that same heat demand through individual
heating.

District energy is considered viable when the annual cost of district energy is more costeffective than
individual heating.

Table 7: Technologies addressed in Plan4DE

D I S T R I C T H E AT I N G I N D I V I D UA L H E AT I N G
Large CHP-coal Boiler- natural gas, single family

Large CHP- natural gas Boiler- biomass, single family

Large CHP- wood pellets Boiler-oil, single family

Medium CHP- natural gas Air to air heat pump, single family

Medium CHP- wood chips Ground source heat pump, single family

Medium CHP- straw Air to water heat pump, single family

DH boiler- natural gas Solar heating, single family

DH boiler- wood chips Electric heating, single family

Figure 9: Cost data for various technologies

P L A N 4 D E | 45
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

Through cost optimization, the model selects the most cost-effective combination of district energy
technology to supply the total heat demand. However, the user can turn off optimization and select the
district energy technology they wish to explore. System costs are generated for the district energy system.

Figure 10: Sample optimisation duration curve for a district energy system

7. 3 .2 R E V E N U E G E N E R AT I O N

If the user is interested in considering revenue generation (from electricity generated through CHP),
the model is able to take this preference into consideration when optimizing technology and calculating
overall system cost. Annual revenue generated is deducted from the annual system cost.

7. 3 .3 N E T W O R K L E N G T H

The model includes the functionality to estimate the network length to supply the district area if network
length is unknown; alternatively, network length can be calculated in GIS and entered into Plan4DE.
If network length is not available, an algorithm was developed to give an estimate of the cost of district
energy distribution piping and energy transfer stations, using inputs including number of buildings and
total area.

Table 8: Inputs and outputs of Plan4DE

INPUTS OUTPUTS
Total plan area Trunk piping from energy centre
Number of buildings in the plan area Trunk piping to primary lines
Number of clusters in the plan area Primary distribution piping
Total energy consumption Secondary distribution piping
Excess capacity (for future growth) Connection piping
Ration of peak to average power demand Energy transfer station costs
Temperature of DES
Location of energy centre
Price modif ier

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

The algorithm was derived by analyzing the relationship between plan area, number of buildings
connected and total network length for twenty-three different district energy systems. The total length of
pipe was found to be proportional to the square root of the number of buildings and to the square root of
the system area; the results of this analysis are indicated in Figure 11.

Figure 11: Actual vs modelled network length

7. 3 .4 D E S Y S T E M L I F E T I M E

The annualized cost of the DE system is driven by the expected lifetime of the DE system. The user can
select 30yrs, 50 yrs, or 100yrs.7.3.3 Network length

7. 3 .5 I N D I V I D UA L H E AT I N G

The model allows for the user to adjust the assumptions of the business-as-usual case, that is, specify the
energy supply mix for how buildings would otherwise be heated where district energy is not present.

7. 3.6 WA S T E H E AT A N D I N D U S T R I A L H E AT D E M A N D

The model is able to incorporate waste heat recovery from industry (if known), as well as

heat demand for industrial facilities (if known). However, the user is required to input this information as
there is no data or underlying assumption included in the model

7. 3 .7 C U R R E N C Y

The model allows for results to be shown in Canadian dollars, US dollars, or Danish Krone. The default
setting in the Basic and Intermediate versions is US dollars. Currency selection and assumptions on
exchange rate can be found and modif ied in the Advanced version.

P L A N 4 D E | 47
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7. 3 .7 V E R S I O N S

The annualized cost of the DE system is driven by the expected lifetime of the DE system. The user can
select 30yrs, 50 yrs, or 100yrs.7.3.3 Network length
Table 9: Three different interfaces

BASIC I N T E R M E D I AT E A DVA N C E D

Simple interface (few inputs More complex interface (more No interface


required by user) inputs required by user)
Fully open and unlocked
Model calculations locked and Model calculations locked and
hidden hidden All data and assumptions can
be changed and modif ied
Most data assumptions are Some data assumptions are
predetermined and set predetermined and set

There are three versions of the model available: Basic; Intermediate; and Advanced. All three versions use
the same Excel Plan4DE model, the only difference is that the Basic and Intermediate versions allow for a
limited number of inputs made available to the user through an interface, some assumptions are pre-set,
and majority of the model is locked/hidden.

In the Advanced version, there is no interface, all the inputs variables are open for input, there are no
preset assumptions, and all the calculations and data are open and transparent.

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

About Inputs Results Simulate

Enter your data in the input boxes below Click Simulate Review results on the Results Tab

District area km
2

?
Climate Zone Climate Zones
?
Lifetime of District Heating Network years

Revenue Consideration Yes No

Network Length Calculation


?
Calculate Network Length Known Network Length

?
Location of Energy Centre Centre

?
Number and Area of Buildings Number of Buildings Area of Building Types
?
Energy for Heating Override Yes No

Heating Energy Use


Number of Total Area of Building
2
Intensity (EUI)
Buildings Types (m )
(GJ/m2/year)
Residential Buildings
Single-Family Detached

Single-Family Attached

?
Low Rise Apartment

?
High Rise Apartment

Mobile Home
Commercial Buildings
?
Small Office
?
Medium Office

?
Large Office

Warehouse

Strip Mall

Stand-Alone Retail

Primary School

Secondary School

Supermarket

Quick Service Restaurant

Full Service Restaurant

Hospital

Outpatient Health Care

?
Small Hotel

?
Large Hotel

Mixed Use Buildings


?
Mixed Use Buildings

Figure 12: Intermediate interface

P L A N 4 D E | 49
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7. 3.8 I N P U T S

The core inputs are designed to be accessible to planners, and at the most basic level, relatively easy to
access.
Table 10: Summary of inputs

I N P U T C AT E G O R Y DESCRIPTION/SOURCE
District area (km^2) Calculated in GIS

Piping system length Calculated in GIS or in the Network Algorithm

Lifetime of the system Select 30, 50 or 100 years


Excess capacity Additional capacity that is not used expressed in a %

Climate zone Climate zone selection drives which set of energy use intensities (EUI)
the model uses, as EUIs vary by location. In general, EUIs are higher
in colder regions, as more energy is required to heat buildings in these
areas on an annual basis.

Number of buildings The total number of buildings and f loorspace that are to be modelled
must be within the identif ied district area. If there are buildings
outside the boundary that need to be included, a new boundary should
be identif ied, and a new district area calculated.

Building types There are 21 different building use types: 5 residential; 15 commercial;
and 1 for mixed-use. If data is available, f loorspace can also be entered
for each building type.

7. 3.9 O U T P U T S

There are a number of outputs/results that the model generates, the most relevant of which are listed
below and included in the Basic and Intermediate interfaces, under the Results tab.

Cost comparison: A table and bar chart showing the annual costs for the optimized (or pre-selected) DE
system compared with individual heating.

Figure 13: Comparison of individual vs district heating costs

Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

Density threshold cost curve: A cost curve showing the specif ic cost ($/Mwh) relative to heat density
(kWh/m2). Heat density in this case refers to the average district heat density - the total heat demand (of
all buildings in a district) divided by the area of the district. The graph indicates the current level of heat
density for the input building mix.

Figure 14: Comparison of individual vs district heating costs

Emissions: A bar chart showing carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrous oxide (NOx)
emissions for both the optimized (or pre-selected) DE system and individual heating.

Figure 15: GHG emissions and air pollutants

PLAN4DE | 51
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7.4 DATA
All data used within Plan4DE is accessible and can be revised for a specif ic context (in the advanced
version of the model). In order to help guide the user in customizing assumptions, colour coding is
employed to indicate which cells can be modif ied (orange), without impacting the function of the model.
7.4.1 CO R E DATA S E T S

The model is prepopulated with a number of key data sets. 1


Table 11. Core data sets and data scenarios.

C AT E G O R Y D E S C R I P T I O N SOURCE TA B
Heating/ Energy for heating or cooling- total consumption US Department of Heating
Cooling and peak load for 24 climate zones in US and Energy; Natural
Canada. Resources Canada;
Building sizes. Danish Energy
District energy network data, including costs. Agency.
Fuel prices Includes fuel cost projections to 2075. The user can IEA World Energy FuelPrices
select from multiple scenarios including: Outlook 2015,
ENS 2012 National Energy
ENS 2014-base Board 2015 (Canada).
ENS 2014-450 ppm
ENS 2014- Current prices
Fuel Canada 2
Fuel USA
Custom Fuel
Emissions A range of emissions price scenarios are included, IEA World Energy Emissions
prices based on IEA projections: Outlook 2015. Prices
ENS 2012
ENS 2014-base
ENS 2014-450 ppm
ENS 2014- Current prices
Fuel Canada
Fuel USA
Custom Fuel
Technology The model includes detailed technology data for a Danish Energy TechData
data range of scenarios: Agency Technology
Current data Catalogue.
Custom tech
Tech base
Tech low
Tech high
Tech Canada
Tech USA
Emissions Emissions factors for each fuel source by year are Danish Energy Emissions
factors (CO2, included. Agency Technology Factors
SO2, NOx, Catalogue.
N2O, CH4)

1 Currently the Canada and US price scenarios have not been populated, but will be f illed in on subsequent releases.
Plan4DE
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

The model includes extensive pre-populated data on buildings for 24 different climate zones in Canada
and the United States, as well as detailed cost and performance information for each of the technology
types (Figure 16). In the event that the model is used in other jurisdictions or for other technologies, it is
relatively easy to add new datasets as required, either using the custom data entry option or replacing an
existing dataset.

Figure 16: Heating intensity by building type by climate

PLAN4DE | 53
PLAN 4 DISTRICT ENERGY

7.5 C U R R E N T L I M I TAT I O N S
In the process of validating the model various limitations were identif ied. In some cases these limitations are a
function of the requirement to make the model accessible to planners. The limitations are as follows:

Thermal storage: the model does not account for thermal storage capacity.

Duration curve: the model uses a static predetermined load duration curve, that is, while the curve
shifts, the shape of load duration curve does not adjust as building use mix changes.

Feasibility: Plan4DE is not a feasibility tool, and hence does not determine whether a DE system is
economically feasible. It functions as a cost comparison tool, enabling planners to understand and
compare the costs of a DE system with that of individual heating over the lifetime of the system for a
predetermined building mix. However, Plan4DE could play a valuable role in determining feasibility
of DE by contributing full cost accounting information to inform a business case.

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

8. VA L IDATIO N
Archetypes in architecture and planning are used
8.1 A P P L Y I N G to categorize typical types of development and
P L A N 4 D E TO A help guide best practices and design decisions.
As described in Section 1, urban planning is the
N E I G H B O U R H OO D domain of what are termed wicked problems
ARCHETYPE challenges to which there are no easy solutions.
Archetypes are thus a useful tool to identify the
In addition to using archetypes at the building essential characteristics of a particular aspect
scale to increase the accessibility of the model or pattern of the built environment and then
for planners, an archetype neighbourhood was to add, take away or substitute this pattern in
developed and Plan4DE was used to evaluate other places. The attributes of an archetype can
and inform development scenarios. Once describe quantitative dimensions such as energy
the neighbourhood was conceptualized, a use, impermeable space, building types and others.
typical planning process was undertaken that When these archetypes are employed to revise
incorporated Plan4DE. the landscape, conclusions can then be drawn
by analyzing the attributes associated with each
An archetype is def ined as a very typical example archetype.
of a certain person or thing, almost, but not
quite, one of the repeating components contained Archetypes are commonly used to describe
in a pattern, or a pattern itself (Eisenack, Luedeke, energy characteristics of the built environment.
& Kropp, 2006). An archetype can equally be Van der Laan (2011, p. 9) identif ies nine recent
spatial, referring to a tangible, physical space studies in the academic literature that have used
or intangible as in circumstances, reactions or archetypes to describe energy consumption. In the
relations. It may or may not refer to the idealized Urban Archetypes Project, a multi-year initiative
generalization of a particularity, but it certainly funded by Natural Resources Canada, Canadian
captures dimensions which can be generally researchers led a project (20042010) studying
encountered in a similar context (Cicchetti, energy consumption of typical households in
2006). Archetypes are used in a variety of f ields different neighbourhoods across Canada, linking
ranging from literature to design, from psychology energy consumption with neighbourhood urban
to ecology, as a way of simplifying complexity form and demographics (Webster, 2007).
without forfeiting the ability to provide
meaningful insights. Archetypes are frequently used in energy
modelling, in particular to construct bottom-
up models in which each archetype represents

PLAN4DE | 55
VALIDATION

a dwelling, generalized to its basic shape with and suburbia that are expected to experience
standard spatial and energy characteristics incremental development.
(Marique & Reiter, 2014; Medina, 2011;
Natarajan, Padget, & Elliott, 2011). As illustrated Neighbourhoods in Seattle, Burnaby, Vancouver,
above, archetypes can also be def ined at the Boston, Lille and Copenhagen were identif ied and
neighbourhood level, in one case as a tool to considered as demonstrating the characteristics
explore retrof itting suburbia (Barton, Grant, desired for this archetype. The prototypical
Rice, & Horswell, 2011). The District Energy neighbourhood was based on Lake City in
Concept Advisor relies on archetypes derived from Seattle but was reconf igured to represent aspects
real cases to illustrate the potential for district that neighbourhoods in many cities possess,
energy in different conf igurations (Erhorn-kluttig for example, a cross cutting boulevard which is
et al., 2013). primarily auto-dominated; moderately dense
blocks populated with single family and multi-
Very few studies were identif ied that employed family housing, low rise professional off ice
archetypes to help inform land-use that would clusters, parks, schools and civic buildings,
support district energy or that would inform including a library. A three dimensional virtual
the development of district energy systems. One model of the neighbourhood was developed in
Swedish study developed a series of building order to test the application of Plan4DE (Figure
archetypes to model how solar energy and load 17).
shifting could be employed to reduce the peak
load for district energy systems (Molander &
Olofsson, 2012), and another evaluated the heating
and cooling load of seventeen neighbourhood
typologies (Mazia et al., 2009).

In this case, an archetypical neighbourhood was


developed, but the planning process was itself also
an archetype of a common planning process.

8. 1.1 A n e i g h b o u r h oo d a r c h e t y p e

In developing an archetype neighbourhood for


Plan4DE, consideration was given to the most
likely urban forms wh ich would support district
energy. Cities in North America and Europe are
frequently characterized by an urban and dense
core or centre with large swathes of ex-urban
or suburban areas on the edges or perimeters.
There are few greenf ield locations remaining in
which a new development or neighbourhood is
constructed from the ground-up; instead most
new development occurs in the midst of existing
structures, either as retrof its or new construction
in locations where demand is perceived by the
private market. Given these considerations, the
focus of the archetype was not on the urban code
of a city but on the areas in-between the core

Plan4DE
Visualizing District Energy VA L I DAT I O N
Planning Archetype

A typical urban neighborhood


approximately 10 min. walk in diameter

Planning and District Energy GGLO

DESIGN
Figure 17: Archetype neigbourhood

Planners will typically initiate a district energy screening process by establishing a boundary within
which they will perform the analysis. This boundary will likely correspond to existing or future land
use boundaries such as neighborhood boundaries, zoning boundaries or other boundaries unique to
the planning area. The archetypical neighbourhood was designed so that it could be crossed on foot
in 10 minutes, an average distance that people will walk to a high frequency transit hub or a central
business district, and a distance frequently used to delimitate a neighhourhood. The total area of the
neighbourhood archetype was calculated to be 600,000 m3 (148.3 acres) with existing buildings totaling
140,000m2 (Figure 18).

It was assumed that the neighbourhood was developing with moderate market demand over a planning
horizon of 20 years.

When establishing new planning policies or land use regulations and development incentives, planners
will often attempt to focus the location of development where it can best achieve planning goals. In most
cases, this involves limiting the area for new planning policies to a boundary that the development market
can absorb within the def ined planning period. Figure 19 illustrates those areas for the neighbourhood
archetype.

PLAN4DE | 57
Visualizing District Energy VA L I DAT I O N
Planning Archetype

Planning Boundary

600,000 m2 (148.3 acres) Land Area

140,000 m2 (1.5mil gsf) Existing Building Area

Visualizing District Energy


Figure 18: Planning boundary
Planning Strategy
Planning and District Energy GGLO

DESIGN
Planning Boundary
Phase 1
600,000 m2 (148.3 acres) Land Area

140,000 m2 (1.5mil gsf) Existing Building Area

475,000 m2 (117.4 acres) Phase 1 Land Area

Figure 19: Phase 1 development boundary


Planning and District Energy GGLO
DESIGN

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

As new development incentives and land use regulations are deployed to focus development on the
priority areas, consideration is typically given to the mix of building uses to ensure compatibility with
existing uses. As will be illustrated, the mix of building uses inf luences the heat demand of the area and
thus the viability of a future district energy system. At this stage, a potential location for the physical
district energy plan was identif ied within close proximity to these focus areas. In many jurisdictions,
district energy plants have specif ic zoning requirements (Figure 20).

In the case of the archetype, three zones were established that would be likely to contribute to the
Visualizing District Energy Planning
feasibility of district energy. A residential zone with some commercial use enables buildings Strategy
four to six
storeys, a mixed use off ice enables off ice towers of a similar height, typical of this type of context, and a
low rise zone enables townhouses and walk-ups. Zoning is replicated on both sides of the street to ensure
a consistent streetscape, a best practice in planning.

Land Use Zone to Achieve


District Energy Feasibility
MIXED USE
RESIDENTIAL
(MEDIUM INTENSITY)
ZONED FAR: 2.25 TO 5.75

Proposed MIXED USE


Plant OFFICE
(MEDIUM INTENSITY)
Location ZONED FAR: 2.25 TO 5.75

LOW RISE
ZONE
(LOW INTENSITY)
ZONED FAR: 1.0 TO 2.0

Figure 20: Phase 1 Land-use zones


Planning and District Energy GGLO
DESIG N

While newer buildings would connect to the district energy system, existing buildings would require a
subsidy or incentive to connect including the grocery store, two schools, off ice complex, amongst others
(Figure 21).

PLAN4DE | 59
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 21: Existing buildings

In the f irst phase of development 254,800m2 was added, more than double the original building
f loorspace; a relatively high rate of development for this kind of neighbourhood. Figure 22 is an
illustration of what this level of development looks like.

Figure 22: 3d model of neighbourhood


Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

Figures 22-26 illustrate the addition of new buildings to the neighbourhood by building type as well as
indicating the share of additional heating that these new buildings represent.

Figure 23: Multi-use buildings

Figure 24: Low rise residential

P L A N 4 D E | 61
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 25: Office buildings

Figure 26: Civic buildings

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

Using climatic conditions for the City of Seattle, the new development represented by the Phase
1 development was evaluated within Plan4DE. The results indicated that individual heating was
substantially more affordable than district energy (Figure 27). In other words, there were not enough
buildings that consumed enough heat in close enough proximity to justify an investment in district energy
on economic grounds.

Figure 27: Phase 1 results

Thermal energy consumption and building f loor area for Phase 1 is described in Figure 28. Mixed-
use buildings were found to use proportionately more energy per unit of f loor space than commercial
buildings, demonstrating the importance of mixed-use buildings for district energy. This illustration
helped the planners identify which types of buildings to add in order to increase the heat density for
viable district energy.

P L A N 4 D E | 63
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 28: Phase 1: Building mix

With the insight that the level of development in Phase 1 was insuff icient to support district, a Phase 2
land-use strategy was developed, focusing on the boulevard (Figure 29).

Figure 29: Phase 2 planning area

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

Phase 2 adds 490,200 m2 of building area to the district energy network, as the boulevard transitions to
an urban centre and both new and existing buildings are proposed to be connected to the district energy
system (Figure 30).

Figure 30: Phase 2 buildings

The new level of development is evaluated in Plan4DE and in this case, the costs of providing district
energy are lower than the costs of individual heating for each of the buildings. District energy is therefore
considered viable for the neighbourhood.

P L A N 4 D E | 65
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 31: Phase 2 results

The district energy heating supply curve that is generated within Plan4DE for this neighbourhood is
illustrated in Figure 32. The yellow line illustrates the heat density of the project; the blue line represents
the cost of individual heating and the black line is the cost of district energy. In this case the position
at which the yellow line crossed the black line represents a lower cost than the blue line, signaling that
district energy is the preferred option.

Plan4DE
Phase 2 Development
VA L I DAT I O N
Heat Density

Phase 2 totals
TOTAL BUILDING AREA
745,000 m2
(8,020,000 ft2)

TOTAL HEAT LOAD


106,667 MWh

TOTAL HEAT DENSITY


178kWh/m2

HEAT SUPPLY COST


$77/MWh

Figure 32: Phase 2 Plan4DE results

the second part, Plan4DE was used to evaluate


GGLO
8. 1.2 O B S E R VAT I O N S
Planning and District Energy

DESIG N
areas with the highest levels of heat density.
An archetypical neighbourhood was developed
and a standard planning process was applied
to this neighbourhood with the additional 8. 2 . 1 CO M PA R I S O N O F M E T H O D S F O R
consideration of district energy using Plan4DE. C A L C U L AT I N G H E AT D E N S I T Y
Plan4DE successfully provided feedback Heat density, a crucial variable in Plan4DE,
on planning decisions to help ensure the determines the technologies and costs of
incorporation of district energy into the built district energy systems. In order to evaluate the
environment. The process demonstrated that impact of different methods to calculating heat
many different approaches could be applied; for density, several data sets were accessed from
example focusing on enabling district energy Natural Resources Canada for specif ic areas
in Phase 1 or assessing the impact of different of Ottawa including observed data for specif ic
locations for the district energy plant. neighbourhoods. Heat density in Plan4DE is
calculated either by identifying the number of
8.2 A P P L Y I N G archetype buildings or by specifying the f loor
area associated with a building type. There are
P L A N 4 D E TO T H E C I T Y a limited number of archetypes and building
O F OT TAWA types in Plan4DE, which necessitates a level
of generalization that enables ease of use for
An analysis for the City of Ottawa was completed planners. This analysis was intended to better
in two parts. In the f irst part, f ive different understand the difference between the head
approaches to calculating heating intensity were demand predicted using these methods in
compared using data from the City of Ottawa. In Plan4DE and other methods and observed data.

P L A N 4 D E | 67
VA L I DAT I O N

T able 12 Comparison of methods for calculating heat density

SOURCE METHOD GJ
Natural Resources Canada Provincial average of f loor area 1,382,569
(observed data) by building type multiplied by
heat intensity by building type.
Natural Resources Canada- f loor Floor area by building type 1,569,709
area (building models) multiplied by heat intensity by
building type.
Natural Resources Canada- Number of buildings by 1,062,974
archetypes (building models) archetype multiplied by
associated f loor area multiplied
by heat intensity by building
type.
Plan4DE- f loor area Floor area by building type 1,282,122
multiplied by heat intensity by
building type.

Plan4DE- archetypes Number of buildings by 2,490,7251


archetype multiplied by
associated f loor area multiplied
by heat intensity by building
type.
Enbridge Observed natural gas 1,417,722
consumption

These initial results show a high degree of variability in results using the different assumptions methods.
While the observed data (Enbridge) is considered to be the baseline, it solely accounts for natural gas
consumption and there may be other fuels that are being used. Mapping the building types which are
available in GIS to the archetypes or appropriate heat intensity was also identif ied as a potential source
of error, as there were differences in the number of buildings as tracked by the utility (Enbridge) in
comparison with the GIS data.

The results were separated between residential and non-residential data and the non-residential results
demonstrated signif icant variation (Figure 33).

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

Residential heating energy use for Ottawa CTs using


consumption and modelled data
Enbridge
NRCan
3 Smores/m2
Smores arch
GJ heating energy usage (x100,000)

P4DE/m2
P4DE arch

CT # 34 35 41 42 43 44 45 46 47

Non-residential heating energy use for Ottawa CTs using


consumption and modelled data
8
Enbridge
NRCan
3
Smores/m2
Smores arch
GJ heating energy usage (x100,000)

P4DE/m2
P4DE arch
2

34 35 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
Census Tract No.

Figure 33: Comparison of different methods of calculating heat demand for selected census tracts in the City of
Ottawa

P L A N 4 D E | 69
VALIDATION

In summary, the results indicated that non- m2) and heat density (GJ/m2) were identif ied.
residential buildings categorizations and energy
use should be further scrutinized when using In addition to preliminary numerical analysis,
Plan4DE, particularly if an archetype approach is spatial analysis was also performed using heat
selected. Overall, the /m2 approach showed more maps. A higher order heat density map (Figure
consistent and accurate results from the archetype 34) was developed for all census tracts identifying
approach. hotspots for heat demand, as well as relative heat
density over the district area for each census tract.
The preliminary numerical analysis and spatial
8. 2.2 Eva l uat i o n o f n e i g h b o u r h oo d s i n
heat maps indicated specif ic census tracts that
Ot tawa
warranted analysis with Plan4DE.
Using GIS building information provided, all
buildings in the census tract (CT) areas were
categorized to the Plan4DE building categories.
Total heat demand was calculated by applying
NRCan energy use intensity (EUI) values for heat
to total f loorspace (m2) per building type.

Preliminary analysis was conducted on the


variables listed below:

Floorspace density (m2/m2): total f loorspace/


district area; an indication of average district
building density

Heat density (GJ/m2): total heat demand/


district area; an indication of the average heat
density over the district

Connection density (m2/#): total f loorspace/


unit count; an indication of average building
density, as f loorspace is divided over fewer
buildings (which results in fewer connections)

. The intent of the preliminary analysis was to


identify census tracts that show higher potential
for district energy, and to perform a more
detailed investigation on those census tracts using
Plan4DE. Each census tract was ranked according
to its performance for each variable.

In general, higher f loorspace densities are


associated with higher heat densities over the
district area. Connection density also plays a role,
as fewer connections decrease infrastructure costs.
Census tracts with higher f loorspace density (m2/

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 34: Heat density map of census tracts in Ottawa

When analysed in Plan4DE using the climatic location for the City of Ottawa, the census tracts 34, 41, 42
and 43 returned viable results for district energy in current conditions, without additional buildings. The
results also indicated that combined heat and power with natural gas as a fuel, which generates electricity
in addition to heat, is the optimal technology from a f inancial perspective in each of the census tracts.

P L A N 4 D E | 71
VA L I DAT I O N

Figure 35: Heat density by parcel in the City of Ottawa

8. 2.3 O B S E R VAT I O N S buildings would be or are heated. For this analysis,


it was assumed that individual heating load was
While Plan4DE is not designed to perform as a
met by a mix of natural gas (80%) and electric
feasibility tool, this analysis suggests that it could
heating (20%). By having a better understanding
nonetheless play a major role in determining
of the reference case heating mix, individual
feasibility of district energy by contributing full
heating costs could be more accurately calculated,
cost accounting information to inform a business
which may have a cost impact when determining
case. In conjunction with developing heat maps
viability. In addition, if large proportions
and spatially identifying areas with district energy
of buildings in the reference case are heated
potential, Plan4DE enables very quick calculation
electrically, there are opportunities to further
of total heat demands and heat densities for any
explore the benef its of combined heat and power
identif ied area, as well as generating district
plants to supply those buildings that would
energy system costs (for optimized or pre-selected
otherwise not be connected to a district energy
technology and fuel) in a very swift manner. This
system.
enables planners to very quickly determine the
implications of any built form for district energy
Waste heat locations: Plan4DE has the ability
potential, and understand the impact of changing
to include waste heat recovery when calculating
building or district densities on that potential.
district energy system costs. Waste heat was not
included in this analysis, but an understanding
Plan4DE calculates the reference case individual
of both location and the amount of waste heat
heating cost based on assumptions of how

Plan4DE
VA L I DAT I O N

available could be included and perhaps play a


major role.

GIS information: Both heat mapping and


generating f loorspace areas and building counts
that are input into Plan4DE rely heavily on
GIS information. This can be, and often is,
incomplete. Improving GIS to have a clean and
clear record of building information, (particularly
in the mixed-use, multi-unit residential and
industrial uses) would help improve overall
heating demand calculations.

Industrial heat demand: When determining total


heat loads and density for industrial buildings,
a static energy use intensity is applied to all
buildings that show industrial type uses, likely
resulting in gross assumptions about industrial
heat demand. Improving both the accuracy of
the presence of different types of industrial use
buildings, and the EUIs associated with those
uses, would help improve overall heating demand
calculations.

P L A N 4 D E | 73
D I S S E M I N AT I O N

9 . D I S S EM INATION
Dissemination was considered a critical aspect of ultimately determine the impact of the model in
the project, providing feedback and exposure that advancing district energy.
would inform the development of the model and

9.1 W E B S I T E
A website was developed that enabled people to follow the development of the model, download documents or
presentations, and follow webinars

Figure 36. Plan4DE website

Plan4DE
D I S S E M E N AT I O N

9.2 W E B I N A R S
Three webinars were held on the relationship between the built environment and district energy, the model design,
and the relationship between planning and district energy (Figure 37).

Figure 37: Webinars

9 .3 P R E S E N TAT I O N S
Plan4DE was presented at a number of events, most notably at the International District Energy Association
conference in Boston (2015) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris (2015).

Figure 38: Presentation on Plan4DE at the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris.

P L A N 4 D E | 75
DISCUSSION

1 0 . DISCUSSION
The intention of the project was to develop a district energy system without a requirement for
model that would enable planners to incorporate any spatial analysis. An optimisation tool was
consideration for district energy in decisions developed which identif ied the most cost effective
with respect to the built environment. A simple generation capacity for specif ic heat load. Each
modelling tool was conceptualised that compared of these sub-projects provided additional insight
the lifecycle costs of individual heating with those into the design and deployment of district energy
of district heating. systems.

The analysis conf irmed the importance of the city The application of the model in an archetypical
planner both in the literature and in the f indings. planning project was particularly insightful. The
A planner can inf luence density and conf iguration planning and architecture team used the model
of buildings but can also provide for a location or to guide what would otherwise be a standard
locations of district energy centres. The imperative planning process in an emerging centre within a
for engaging planners to consider district energy is larger city. The conclusion was unequivocal that
clear. Plan4DE helped guide their decision-making to
prioritise a built environment that would enable
What emerged near the end of the project district energy, with a tool that was clear and
was a sophisticated model capable of detailed understandable.
assessments of district energy for different
geographic scales. The sophistication, however, A more detailed analysis of the results of the
undermined the original aim of providing a model with other data sets. including observed
simple, and accessible tool. As a result, three data, demonstrated that the level of accuracy using
different versions of the model were developed for the building archetype approach is less than the
different use cases, from a very simple analysis to a level of accuracy that accompanies the approach
much more complex analysis. in which users enter building area and building
types as anticipated. This analysis, however,
A number of unanticipated elements emerged demonstrated another use case for the model
from the project. One included a demonstration of beyond planning the future built environment.
an interactive web dashboard for one climate zone Plan4DE was used to evaluate the existing built
that enabled planners to test various combinations environment and could be used as a district energy
and sizes of buildings to identify a combination scanning tool by cities, companies or other levels
that favoured district energy. A powerful of government.
algorithm was created that calculates pipe length
for a particular site based on the shape of the

Plan4DE
DISCUSSION

Neighbourhoods were identif ied for which district energy is more cost effective than individual heating
systems, yet the dominant heating approach is individual heating systems. Even when the economics are
favourable, a number of barriers, or in economic terms, externalities remain, which impede the wide scale
development of district energy.

One of these issues was encountered in the planning of the neighbourhood archetype. While the full
build out would support district energy, the f irst phase did not incorporate adequate heat density. In this
case, the district energy developer would need to construct the district energy system taking a risk that
subsequent phases would occur but with no real assurances. If the developer waits for the development of
the second phase, building owners will have already invested in individual systems.

For this reason, the most critical entity in the development of district energy is the municipality, which
ultimately controls the provision of infrastructure and the way in which development occurs.

The interdisciplinary nature of the team was critical to the outcome; the view of the planner, the
architect and the engineer on district energy in concert was critical to developing a meaningful model
that incorporated engineering principles from district energy design, but was accessible and relevant to
planners.

10.1 F U T U R E S T E P S
In the course of the development of Plan4DE, the design team took a number of diversions to explore
promising ideas and concepts. One specif ic method that was explored was the notion of automating the
analysis of spatial data that most cities already collect and maintain. Figure 39 illustrates an example of
that data for a neighbourhood in Seattle.

Figure 39: GIS data from Queen Anne neighbourhood in Seattle

P L A N 4 D E | 77
DISCUSSION

As an example, a system that connected GIS with the model was developed which used GIS to produce a
map that illustrates heat density for a neighbourhood (Figure 40).

Figure 40: Example of automatic generation of heat map

An online interface was then created that enabled users to see, in real-time with minimal inputs, the
likelihood of district energy resulting from the addition of buildings for a particular location (Figure 41).

Figure 41: Sample web-based interface

Plan4DE
DISCUSSION

This process demonstrated the potential for creating a systematic and broad-based approach to evaluating
district energy at a much larger scale, laying the groundwork for a future project as data access continues
to evolve.

1 0.2 CO N C L U S I O N
Plan4DE was developed as a unique tool to support planners in considering district energy in the design
for and policies of the built environment. This process has illustrated that it is an effective tool. In order
for the model to be effectively deployed, however, further additional work is required to ensure that
planners are aware of and continue to use Plan4DE so that the model can evolve.

P L A N 4 D E | 79
APPENDICIES

GLOSSARY
District area (km2) is the total land area within the study boundary.

District heat density (kWh/m2) is the total heat demand (converted to kWh) of all buildings in a district divided by
the area of the district.

District heating network lifetime (yrs) is the estimated lifetime of the DE system, or the time in years the system is
expected to run.

Energy use intensity (GJ/m2/yr) is a metric used to express the annual energy demand per square metre of a building
as a function of its size and other characteristics. EUI is driven by a several different factors, including building use
type and eff iciency.

Heat demand (GJ) is the annual amount of energy needed for space and water heating for a building. It is derived
from multiplying the building f loorspace with the associated energy use intensity for heat (EUI) (GJ/m2/year) for
the building type.

Network length is the total length of network piping within the DE system that supplies buildings with heat, and
includes trunk, primary, secondary and connections pipes.

Specif ic cost ($/Mwh) is the the cost in dollars per MWh of heat to supply the total heat demand.

Study area boundary is the boundary line surrounding the district area that is to be analyzed in the model.

Total building f loorspace (m2) is the total amount of f loorspace in all buildings that requires energy for heating.

Total heat demand (GJ) is the annual amount of energy needed for space and water heating for all the buildings to be
analyzed in Plan4DE.

Total number of buildings is the total number of buildings that is to be heated.

ANNEX XI FINAL REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2016


APPENDICIES

A B B R E V I AT I O N S
(in alphabetic order)

CHP Combined Heat and Power

DHC District Heating and Cooling

IEA International Energy Agency

IDP Integrated Design Process

Plan4DE Plan for district energy

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APPENDICIES

Figure 37: Webinars 75


FIGURES Figure 38: Presentation on Plan4DE at the UN Climate
Change Summit in Paris. 75
Figure 1: Factors influencing energy intensity in buildings 17
Figure 39: GIS data from Queen Anne neighbourhood in
Figure 2: Energy use in buildings 20
Seattle 77
Figure 4: Assumptions in district energy models. 32
Figure 40: Example of automatic generation of heat map 78
Figure 3: Modelling of District Energy 32
Figure 41: Sample web-based interface 78
Figure 5: Plan4DE relative to other tools 41
Figure 6: Key tasks in applying Plan4DE 42
Figure 7: Model structure 43
Figure 8: Illustration of cost curve concept 44
Figure 9: Cost data for various technologies 45
Figure 10: Sample optimisation duration curve for a district
energy system 46
Figure 11: Actual vs modelled network length 47
Figure 12: Intermediate interface 49
Figure 13: Comparison individual vs district heating costs 50
Figure 14: Comparison individual vs district heating costs 51
Figure 15: GHG emissions and air pollutants 51
Figure 16: Heating intensity by building type by climate 53
Figure 17: Archetype neigbourhood 57
Figure 18: Planning boundary 58
Figure 19: Phase 1 development boundary 58
Figure 20: Phase 1 Land-use zones 59
Figure 21: Existing buildings 60
Figure 22: 3d model of neighbourhood 60
Figure 23: Multi-use buildings 61
Figure 24: Low rise residential 61
Figure 25: Office buildings 62
Figure 26: Civic buildings 62
Figure 27: Phase 1 results 63
Figure 28: Phase 1: Building mix 64
Figure 29: Phase 2 planning area 64
Figure 30: Phase 2 buildings 65
Figure 31: Phase 2 results 66
Figure 32: Phase 2 Plan4DE results 67
Figure 33: Comparison of different methods of calculating
heat demand for select census tracts in the City of Ottawa 69
Figure 34: Heat density map of census tracts in Ottawa 71
Figure 35: Heat density by parcel in the City of Ottawa 72
Figure 36: Plan4DE website 74
ANNEX XI FINAL REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2016
APPENDICIES

TA B L E S
Table 1: Description of common planning strategies that
influence urban form 27
Table 2: Characteristics of energy models 30
Table 3: Model characteristics 33
Table 4: Comparison of models reviewed 37
Table 5: Characteristics of Plan4DE 40
Table 6: Costs included in Plan4DE 44
Table 7: Technologies addressed in Plan4DE 45
Table 8: Inputs and outputs of Plan4DE 46
Table 9: Three different interfaces 48
Table 10: Summary of inputs 50
Table 11. Core data sets and data scenarios. 52
Table 12 Comparison of methods for calculating heat density
68

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