29 Jun 2020

Plan4DE: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by optimizing urban form for district energy

Plan4DE is a project funded by the International Energy Agency Implementing Agreement on District Heating and Cooling including Combined Heat and Power (IEA DHC). This project has focused on supporting city planners in considering the impact of the built environment and urban infrastructure on district energy viability. A decision support tool, Plan4DE, was developed following an extensive literature review and using an integrated design process that combined the expertise of planners, engineers and architects.The resulting Excel-based model has three different interfaces for different use cases or practitioners with different levels of experience.

Plan4DE uses inputs on characteristics of the built environment to determine the capital and operating costs of district energy versus individual energy systems over variable lifetimes, as well as environmental impacts including GHG emissions and criteria air pollutants. Planners are thus able to employ Plan4DE to determine the viability of district energy relative to individual heating and cooling for a specific built form, and to optimize the design of the built form to increase district energy viability.

Date of publication: September 30, 2016

Authors: Sustainability Solutions Group, with contributions from team members (IEA-DHC, Annex XI)

Keywords: district heating and cooling, greenhouse gas emissions, integrated design process, cities