Monday, December 12, 2011

The Shadows in a City Reveal Its Energy Flow



Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM, Spain) have created "shadow models" and a type of software that calculates the amount of solar radiation that reaches streets and buildings in high resolution. According to the results published in the Research Journal of Chemistry and Environment, they could help to optimise the energy consumption of cities.



The energy optimisation of a city

San José states that "the results can serve as a tool for sustainability and energy optimisation in cities from both an architectural (a shaded building requires more internal heating that a building in the sun) and urban planning point of view. In this sense, results can be used in the search for harmony between human and natural energy consumption."

The researcher exemplifies this: "The heating is often turned on during the day and turned off at the night but in some cases could be the other way around. For instance, sometimes the amount of solar radiation that reaches a building is enough to keep in the warmth that has accumulated from the heating being on during the night."

This study forms part of the European BRIDGE Project on urban metabolism, a concept that perceives the city as a living organism in search for a sustainable energy balance. The department of urban planning at Madrid City Council has already expressed their interest in the tool.

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