Up-scaling data-driven planning tools for decarbonizing cities

ETH Zürich and the Toni Piëch Foundation have entered the second phase of their collaboration on an Urban-Scale Energy Modelling (USEM) tool. Under the leadership of Professor Arno Schlüter and his team, the City Energy Analyst, an urban building simulation platform, has been under continuous development since 2013. The open-source energy simulation tool allows urban design and energy infrastructure options to be explored at a neighborhood and district level, considering the carbon, financial and environmental benefits of multiple strategies (Read more here).

The City Energy Analyst has already been applied in several European countries as well as Canada and Singapore – developed countries with well-organized data environments. Crucially important, however, is the sustainable development of the rapidly growing cities in the Global South, where data environments are more diverse and less organized. Since 2021, the Toni Piëch Foundation supports ETH Zürich in upscaling the applicability of the City Energy Analyst to any location.

The first phase of the collaboration between the Toni Piëch Foundation and ETH Zürich focused on the tool’s application in Navi Mumbai, India. The project showed that the tool can be used in less organized data environments while producing satisfactory results. The second phase focuses on supporting the widespread use of the modelling tool and lowering the entry barrier for external users. The existing tutorials and webinars will be expanded to cover all relevant steps of the modelling and of the results interpretation process and will be made available via several communication channels. A moderated online forum and live user conventions will foster exchange of knowledge, data and best practices. Together with the proactive expansion of the network of engaged universities and research teams as local change agents, the project directly supports the local energy transition in many locations across the globe. The second phase is being funded by the Toni Piëch Foundation with a grant of CHF 110,000.