MPP paper recognized in the sustainability in energy and buildings sector

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Credit: Claudia Sousa Monteiro

The paper entitled "The multi-detail building archetypes in urban energy modelling" won the Georgios Kazas Award at the 8th International Conference on Sustainability in Energy and Buildings 2016, which took place in Turin, Italy. The article was submitted by Claudia Sousa Monteiro, PhD student in Sustainable Energy Systems of the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) and was accepted within the Conference to be published in the open access journal Energy Procedia. The work was also authored by André Pina (IST), Carlos Cerezo (MIT), Christoph Reinhart (MIT) and Paulo Ferrão (IST).

This award was created this year in honour of Georgio Kazas' memory and distinguishes the best proposals recognising the significant contribution to research made by this paper among the Sustainability in Energy and Buildings sector. The study addresses the importance of taking into consideration different levels of detail in urban energy models through the characterization of building stocks in categories of archetypes, using a neighbourhood in Lisbon as case-study.

In Europe, buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and about 35% of the current building stock is over 50 years old. A significant part of this energy consumption is determined by the buildings' characteristics. However, cities are complex systems with a diverse and very large number of buildings and, as a consequence, the quantification of energy consumption in the existing building stock requires the characterization of a set of buildings types that may represent most of the built urban environment. It is therefore necessary to limit the number of building types to analyse, in a compromise between feasibility and accuracy. As such, there is a need to establish methods that define sets with limited numbers of building archetypes, but that are still able to represent the entire building stock.

Within the MIT Portugal testbed project SusCity, the researchers developed a new methodology to identify and characterise building archetypes for an effective simplification of the urban built environment. The result is a set of detail dependent archetype tiers, that allow structuring the building stock for the evaluation of urban building energy modelling techniques and their uncertainty. The preliminary results show how much the building stock can be simplified and how many building types should be considered. In particular, it proves how the creation of archetypes depends highly on the level of detail of the considered parameters and the availability of reliable data. The overall objective will be to develop a complete dataset of building archetypes for Lisbon and a complete urban building energy model in order to evaluate the current energy performance of buildings and neighbourhoods and perform urban retrofitting scenarios towards energy saving strategies.

The MIT Portugal testbed SusCity focuses on creating a data-driven urban model to allow the development of new tools and services in order to improve resource efficiency, reduce environmental impact and contribute to the economic development of urban areas. The main goal is to evaluate the general habitability features of buildings to permit a better management of urban resources and allow the society to make informed choices about the sustainability of buildings.

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For more information about the SusCity project: http://www.suscity-project.eu/

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