Urban project performance evaluation

The aim of this research programme is to encourage the emergence of a new culture of evaluation by developing a robust methodology and tools for multi-criteria evaluation (environmental, economic and social performance of urban projects and their impacts on the territory.

Context

Too little is known of the true energy and environmental footprint of urban projects. It is difficult to arrive at a consistent evaluation of the effects created by a built environment and long-lived infrastructure and those generated by extremely variable everyday urban activities.

These impacts also depend directly on how resources are extracted and processed upstream and on the releases and waste generated downstream. In most cases, the essential processes of urban metabolism take place outside the administrative and geographic scope of the urban project and of the city itself.

The question of allocating responsibility for these impacts, positive and negative, is still more complex. Who is responsible for the emission of a tonne of CO2? The energy producer, whose plant could be more efficient? The builder-developer, which could improve on its building design? The end user of the service provided, who could behave more responsibly? Finding an answer to this question is crucial if new contractual models, based on performance warranties, are to emerge.

Our vision: looking to a new culture of evaluation based on quality of use and performance

A new culture of evaluation will permeate the urban development of tomorrow along the entire project value chain.

Non-stop dialogue will be established between stakeholders, from public policymakers through to users, via the common thread of a new form of shared, high value added evaluation.

The consensual reference frameworks developed by Efficacity and sponsored by its public-private consortium are designed to generate trust and buy-in from all those involved.

More objective knowledge of projects’ intrinsic qualities and their ultimate impacts on the wider territory will pave the way for negotiating fair and effective contracts. Investment decisions, State action, the range of services on offer will all be made on the best cost/performance and cost/quality of use ratios.

Our general R&D method

Efficacity capitalises on the work, knowledge and technical building blocks provided by sector life cycle analysis (building and construction, industrial and environmental processes, transport, energy, etc.) and incorporates them into a global reference base covering every component of the district. This makes it possible to formulate uniform indicators across an entire operation and thus measure the effort/impact ratio (e.g. € spent per tonne CO2 avoided) for a wide variety of actions: for a given environmental objective, which is the most worthwhile priority investment? Building insulation, a local waste treatment solution or an electric mobility solution?

Under the terms of its partnership with the CDC’s Eco-Cité programme, Efficacity deploys and operates a platform that analyses the impact of urban projects at national level. This platform feeds back from the field, on a massive scale, formulations of specific indicators used by practitioners and project holders, plus benchmark values. It also makes it possible to test the governance practices applied and identify their strengths and weaknesses and, in more general terms, to single out all the factors of success and the conditions under which initiatives may be replicable. The platform will ultimately be used to compare local against territorial indicators in the search for correlations between one-off initiatives and their impacts on territory public policies.

Efficacity is working on the smooth integration of performance measurement methods and tools into future frameworks of reference for standards, labels, regulations and certifications. Efficacity is active on both national and international working parties and supports the consolidation of shared databases and validation methods for the new tools that will soon be available on the evaluation market.

Division into projects

The programme is split into two R&D projects as follows: