The increase in distributed renewable energy supply offers new opportunities to improve the performance of local energy systems. In line with this, research and development has begun to broaden its scope from the building scale towards the neighbourhood and district scales. The formulation and comparison of potential energy solutions in different contexts at different scales of analysis demands well-defined concepts and robust decision support tools. This paper studies the concept of energy positive neighbourhoods, which it defines as areas “in which the annual energy demand is lower than annual energy supply from local renewable energy sources. … The aim is to support the integration of distributed renewable energy generation into wider energy networks and provide a functional, healthy, user friendly environment with as low energy demand and little environmental impact as possible.” Key performance indicators for energy positive neighbourhoods are proposed along with an ‘energy positivity label’. A decision support tool, called AtLas, designed to inform the long term planning of neighbourhood energy solutions is described and used to evaluate the energy positivity level of a Finnish residential neighbourhood and part of a French university campus.
Ala-Juusela, M., Crosbie, T., & Hukkalainen, M. (2016). Defining and Operationalising the Concept of an Energy Positive Neighbourhood. Energy Conversion & Management, 125, 133-140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2016.05.052