Ensure that new neighbourhoods are “100%” renewable
From Energy Cities Wiki
In Europe, new neighbourhoods are being built on former industrial, port or military wasteland close to town centres or on the outskirts of towns. These neighbourhoods will still exist in 50 or 100 years time, when everything will be “100% renewable”. Building them in line with today’s designs means condemning them to planned obsolescence. Too often, we stick to existing legislation without considering that by 2020, the amount of energy used for heating new constructions will have to be as close to zero as possible.
Not integrating a 100% renewable objective from the start may lead to the neighbourhood being designed according to existing standards, with renewable energy sources having to be integrated as a second step. It requires additional capital investment. The inevitable conclusion will then be “this is not economically viable”. But is it always true?
By targeting a “100% renewable” objective from the start, we stand a better chance of building very low energy consuming neighbourhoods. The higher cost of renewable energy is an incentive to reduce energy use. It makes necessary the improvement of building and equipment energy efficiency in order to achieve the objective. Project costs are better controlled, and the experience of the most advanced countries shows that a virtuous project is not necessarily more expensive. It is simply a question of integrating all these elements at a very early stage.
• Visiting existing “100% renewable” neighbourhoods.
• Gathering an international, interdisciplinary team.
• Not setting the “100% renewable” objective as an absolute target, but trying to get as close as possible.
• Integrating mobility in the energy objectives. A neighbourhood is not just a collection of buildings. It is an interconnected place where people live, work and travel.
Working, living, learning and growing up in one of the world’s largest passive districts
Due to be completed in 2022, the “Bahnstadt district” is currently being constructed on the site of a former railway goods yard. Office space, housing, a university campus, a school, a kindergarten, shops and leisure centres will be built with passive house standards (heating requirements below 15 kWh/m²/year).
Municipal grants promote and encourage the construction of such buildings. “Bahnstadt” will be connected to a district heating system which uses thermal solar energy and biomass. The project also includes an efficient public transport system, a system for recovering rainwater and the installation of green roofs on two-thirds of the buildings.
Watch Energy Cities' video about Bahnstadt
Frederikshavn: Denmark’s renewable energy champion!
It is in the perspective of Denmark’s conversion to a 100% renewable energy country in 2050 that Frederikshavn was chosen as a pilot city to implement such a transition on its territory by 2015. The city decided to go for the project together with utilities, local industry and Aalborg University. They built a visionary action plan with realistic short-term milestones, such as the installation of a mega heat pump using surplus electricity from nearby offshore windmills.
The characteristic of this plan is that it does not focus on a single technology or particular field of activity, but is rather developing a diverse but coherent renewable energy system based on 3 main energy sources (biomass, waste and wind), and includes very strong and agile partnerships that mobilise and motivate every local stakeholder.
1.8 million inhabitants
The energy revolution has already taken place
Since 2007, “Hambourg Energie”, a public organisation, has been supplying the city with electricity that is 100% produced from local and renewable sources, thus excluding coal and nuclear energy.
A former landfill on the Wilhelmsburg hill was reclaimed and transformed into a site dedicated to clean energy generation where wind turbines and PV panels rapidly increased. This site will provide energy to the 55,000 inhabitants of this neighbourhood by 2013.
On the opposite bank of the river Alster, the former docks will be transformed into an eco-district, emitting one-third of a conventional district’s CO2 emissions. This district, known as Hafen City, will mix dwellings, office space and shops, with each building having its own source of energy.
The port area is riding high!
In 2001, the Bo01 International Exhibition marked the start of the regeneration of the Västra Hamnen port area. 600 low energy housing units were built on 9 hectares and currently one thousand inhabitants live there. The project includes a 140 hectare extension to accommodate a further 30,000 inhabitants over the next twenty years. By 2008, Västra Hamnen was home to 4,000 people.
As a pilot project, Bo01 showed how to combine aesthetic, environmental and technological constraints. The initial targets were not all met but Bo01 has become a benchmark in terms of energy, transport, water and organic waste treatment.