IREC Leads International Consortium to Develop Digital Twins for Climate-Neutral Cities

IREC Leads International Consortium to Develop Digital Twins for Climate-Neutral Cities

Source: Making PEDs. All rights reserved

Source: Making PEDs. All rights reserved.

The LOCALISED partner, Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), is leading the “Making PEDs” project, an international initiative aimed at creating Digital Twins as a decision support tool for cities transitioning towards climate neutrality. Over the next 2 ½ years, IREC, along with 10 partners from four European countries, will work on this ambitious project designed to foster the active regeneration of urban areas in Linz (Austria), Civitavecchia-Rome (Italy) and Bærum (Norway).

Making cities sustainable is a multifaceted challenge, involving complex interlinked issues such as materials, technology, real estate business models, mobility, and energy. Additionally, social aspects are becoming increasingly significant, with co-creation and participatory approaches adding a human dimension to urban transformation projects.

The Making PEDs project will explore and test the application of 3D visualization and simulation tools—Digital Twins—as crucial instruments to manage complexity and support urban decision-making while engaging citizens in the regeneration of urban districts. “The project will not only research and plan climate neutral PEDs (Positive Energy Districts), but more importantly facilitate this transition by providing Digital Twins as a decision support tool”, says Jaume Salom of the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) and manager of the project. “While we look at the assessment of energy districts and how citizens impact the energy equation, a critical part will be to develop reliable predictions for business models in the large-scale energy retrofitting of buildings”, Mr. Salom adds.

IREC is the coordinator of Making PEDs, overseeing the development and integration of PED calculation methodologies from a holistic life-cycle assessment perspective. The developed digital twins and models will be tested and refined to support decision-making processes for the regeneration of the target districts aiming for climate neutrality in Linz, Civitavecchia-Rome and Bærum.

Making PEDs – Key information

Making PEDs is an international project under the Driving Urban Transitions (DUT) program, coordinated by IREC and set to commence in November 2023. The project was prominently featured at the DUT projects kick-off event held in Brussels on 11-12 April 2024. The event brought together all projects funded in the DUT Call 2022 and representatives from involved national funding agencies, giving the opportunity to meet and establish a strong community.
Partner cities include Linz (Austria), Civitavecchia-Rome (Italy) and Bærum (Norway). The expert partners in the Making PEDs consortium are IREC (Spain), ATER Civitavecchia (Italy), AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria), CICLICA (Spain), NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), R2M Solution (Italy), Università Degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy), and Urban Future (Austria).

Support mechanism to foster the implementation of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) in the Mediterranean

Support mechanism to foster the implementation of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) in the Mediterranean

Support mechanism to foster the implementation of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) in the Mediterranean

Nowadays achieving decarbonisation and adapting to climate change constitutes a significant challenge, not only for nations but also for regions and cities. The continuous increment of temperature poses a clear challenge for cities and regions in the Mediterranean as they need to address similar issues in order to adapt and mitigate the effects of such changes. In addition, and considering that public administrations not only must set an example but are responsible of many relevant aspects in the city, the role of local authorities and the actions set in place by them became even more relevant. In that context, is only logical to promote the establishment of a common approach and the share of successful experiences that can encourage the implementation of further actions from the private sector.

In that context, the Catalan Research Center (IREC) – partner of LOCALISED – is part of an initiative launched in 2021, the SEACAP 4 SDG project, which fosters the implementation and improvement of Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) to achieve Med integration through uniform adapted assessment and financing methods, for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in a smart society.

Thus, the SEACAP 4 SDG capitalizes on the outputs and outcomes of existing research projects, identifying characteristics to be generalized, and by adapting gained knowledge to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of energy refurbishment strategies adapted to local Mediterranean specificities, notably energy poverty. Specifically, the project supports up to 9 selected municipalities in implementing outcomes (tools, methodologies, and platforms) from 16 selected reference projects (SRP), to build capacity, improve their energetic plans and implement energy improvements by specific actions.

The support mechanism provided by the SEACAP 4 SDG project has two levels. The first level is to promote the engagement of at least 9 municipalities or group of municipalities to use the SRP TOOLKIT in their day-to-day work, with the aim of improving their energetic plans. The second level is to support 4 of these entities, the selected ones from the Southern shore of the Mediterranean, to use the sources for analysing detail measures in specific educational and health buildings, or other public buildings.

Authors of the article:

Catalonian Energy Research Center, Drio Emilio Hernandez, Soledad Ibañez Iralde, Jordi Pascual