Efficacity develops innovative and scientifically robust solutions to enable urban actors to be more effective at every stage of a sustainable urban development project, from territorial diagnosis to territorial monitoring performances, and project’s design and assessment in technical and economic terms. A number of tools are available on the site tools.efficacity.com.
Design of sustainable urban projects
The objective is to draw up optimized urban development projects, either for innovation in structural urban hubs such as stations, or in the classic urban fabric (urban blocks comprising housing, offices and shops). The aim is to minimize the project’s environmental footprint in terms of building performance, but also to pursue a more comprehensive energy optimization (architectural form, construction processes, energy systems, mobility, usage, etc.).
- An initial design aid tool helps to optimize in-station services’ programming (mobility services, access to low-impact modes of transport in and around the station, amenities, etc.) to provide the best possible modal shift. In pursuit of this goal, Efficacity is developing new approaches to micro-mobility modelling.
- A second tool aims to support the programming of a new urban block. Ultimately, it will test alternative architectural forms, construction processes and functional programming, in order to give better direction to new-build operations. This will guarantee enhanced energy and environmental performance while maintaining satisfactory levels of operation solvency and resident comfort. In pursuit of this goal, Efficacity is studying the effects of pooling facilities and spaces and of the reversibility of structures, etc., via systemic modelling of an urban block and its infrastructure over its entire life cycle.
Design and optimization of integrated energy systems
The objective is to support actors in choosing the optimum energy solutions at the district scale or the structural urban hub (station, etc.). The aim is to combine innovative technologies intelligently to guarantee the optimal overall performance of the HVAC and energy supply system while taking maximum possible advantage of locally available energy sources (decentralized energy production and unavoidable energy).
- An initial range of tools is being developed to provide a rapid characterization of energy reserves in a territory. Recov’Heat (available here) is a tool that sets out to describe the potential of various unavoidable energy sources (waste water, data centres, waste incineration plants, laundries and glassworks) from a minimum of input data. The idea is to estimate the quality and quantity of recoverable energy that might offer a response to surrounding needs. The orders of magnitude identified by the simulation results will provide a basis for deciding the relevance of and conditions for recovering unavoidable heat sources in a territory. If recovery from a given source seems justified, a more detailed feasibility study may be launched. Similar tools will be provided to cover all the available energy sources.
- A second range of tools (under development) will provide an energy flow simulation at district scale. This platform for simulating energy flows at district scale will assess short- and medium-term needs and local energy reserves in order to compare different district-scale energy solutions and assist actors in choosing the best investment in technical, economic and environmental terms.
- A specific tool is being developed to aid for the design and control of a microgrid. It will be applied initially in the context of a hub station and will be used to model the station’s overall energy system and suggest scenarios for optimising both infrastructure and system control. The tool will be able, for example, to include finer details of train braking energy recovery, and to improve both energy efficiency and air quality in the station, etc.
Diagnostic, evaluation and monitoring of territory performance
The project’s relevance is measured in term of its specific qualities, and its positive and negative levers that may apply within its territory. Evaluating territorial performance development and projects progress in terms of their energy, environmental, social and economic efficiency requires detailed diagnosis, evaluation tools and methods addressing the system as a whole and its context. This evaluation will be needed both prior to (ex ante) and during the useful life of the projects (ex post).
- Detailed territory evaluation methodology and diagnostic tools (under development)
- A set of tools incorporating life cycle assessment (LCA) of urban development programmes is under development. It will take into account the impacts of all contributory factors (buildings, public spaces, networks, mobility, etc.) in a systemic and multicriteria approach (energy impacts, greenhouse gas emissions, health, depletion of natural resources, etc.) and make it possible to quantify the overall environmental impacts on a rigorous scientific basis.
- A detailed methodology will offer a way of evaluating a project’s performance in respect of the territory concerned by using life cycle assessment and local environmental impact tools in conjunction with a set of social and economic indicators. The integrated method is intended to support future performance certification schemes for urban projects.
Innovative economic models
Project finance is an essential issue. The tools designed by Efficacity will pave the way for deploying innovative economic models that take into account the real costs and benefits of the operation, above and beyond the “energy bill” alone.
- Aid in consolidating new economic models and in the creation of contract (under development). This tool will rely on a summary of scientific studies to determine the quantitative and qualitative valuation of the externalities associated with an energy efficiency project. It will be accompanied by blueprints for new business and contractual models.