ECODISTR-ICT will develop an innovative decision support tool to assist district renovation planning, integrating the needs of different stakeholders: inhabitants, local authorities and business investors. The tool will give the opportunity to select stakeholders’ highest priorities and report building renovation scenarios. The tool will specifically assess related costs & benefits, as well as environmental & social impacts at a district level. Although energy efficiency is a major focus, the software environment will include as many aspects as possible in its modular platform structure.
ECODISTR-ICT’s global strategy translates into 4 sub-objectives, which are described below.
When renovating districts, a broad range of professionals has to work along to reach their unified goal. Up till now, each of those professional had their own computer environment, with few consultations between different specialties. By creating one software environment, ECODISTR-ICT will enable higher coherence between the project partners, creating true interdisciplinarity (District stakeholders’s needs diagram).
The lead users will be urban planners as well as housing corporations and engineering companies. By working in the same computer environment, they will join their capacities towards the same goal. This does not imply a loss of functionality for the users, as the tool will be able to differentiate between the different user needs, thanks to a modular structure.
A district consists of complex interactions of buildings, infrastructures, networks, and the social and economic functions that take place in them…
ECODISTR-ICT offers to link tools and indicators existing at the level of individual buildings, to frameworks for urban simulation.
This tiered approach will reduce the gap between the current building performance simulation tools, used for the design and renovation of single buildings, and the simulation tools, which focus on a macro level of a district or city.
Analysing different levels of detail with a focus on scales of buildings and districts, will give a better grasp of the complex interactions that occur on the district scale. It will thus lead to more reliable expectations in terms of energy reduction, renovation costs and benefits, and environmental impact (Gathering data from and modelling of the individual buildings composing the district).
The tool will enable decision-making on different solutions for renewal and retrofitting (including demolishment and new building) throughout the different stages of urban planning. It will provide the opportunity to monitor the actual progress of the district and the prediction of realistic energy savings will be improved over time.
The framework tool will have a modular structure and will result in an open access software tool.
The interaction of different modules will enable true interdisciplinary assessments of district retrofitting. Many modules can be attached to the framework tool, so the retrofitting project can be evaluated from different angles.
Energy calculation models will be complemented with modules regarding mobility, local green space and ecologic values, life cycle impact assessment to quantify resource efficiency, quality assessment, and modules on life cycle costing.
The calculation and visualisation framework (based on TNO Urban Strategy) will become open source after the duration of the project. By ensuring free access of the tool, interested parties can use it and even modify it to their specific needs, by adding new modules to the framework (Urban Strategy, TNO).
The foreseen lead users of the ECODISTR-ICT tools are urban planners, housing corporations and engineering companies.
To facilitate the users’ work, methods to ease the data collection will be developed, e.g. introducing data gathering on building geometry, based on photographs or providing ready-made typology databases of building thermal properties. The opportunities provided by Energy Performance Certificates are also taken into account.
To increase user friendliness to the maximum, much attention will be directed towards the user interface of the tool. The tool will provide comprehensible reports and visualizations to assist in understanding the effects of different scenarios for the district.
To ensure that the ECODISTR-ICT toolbox fits with the user needs, relevant stakeholders will be involved from the beginning of the project. Several possible future users (engineers, city planners and architects, housing corporations…) are part of the consortium, and we will engage in several case studies during the project so we can gather continuous feedback and develop the tool in an iterative way in close collaboration with actual users and stakeholders (Geometry & semantic modelling based on pictures).