At Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Laboratory the Chair of Architecture and Building Systems conducts research on efficient technologies and planning concepts for emission-free buildings and cities, taking the particular spatial and climatic challenges of Singapore into account. The City Energy Analyst (CEA) is an example of a novel computational approach that empowers planners to improve the energy efficiency of their urban projects.

Previous research has indicated the high leverage that energy efficiency integrated into urban design practices might bring for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Coupling urban design, building systems and process engineering expertise, will give planners the opportunity to harness even larger potentials for increased sustainability in cities.

The City Energy Analyst (CEA) is one of the first open-source initiatives of computational tools for the design of low-carbon and highly efficient cities. The CEA combines knowledge of urban planning and energy systems engineering in an integrated simulation platform. This allows to study the effects, trade-offs and synergies of urban design options and energy infrastructure plans.

The latest version of CEA consists of the state-of the art in numerical models for the dynamic simulation of vectors of demand and supply of energy in cities.  The CEA offers tools for the analysis of the carbon, financial and environmental benefits of the following strategies:

  • Building retrofits: appliances and lighting, building envelope, HVAC systems and system controls.
  • On-site energy: renewable and waste-to-heat energy sources.
  • Infrastructure retrofits: decentralized and centralized thermal micro-grids and conversion technologies.
  • Space allocation: new zoning, changes in occupancy and building typology.

The CEA results from the PhD work of Dr. Jimeno A. Fonseca at the Chair of Architecture and Building Systems of ETH Zurich. Today, the development of CEA is subject to applied research in case studies in Europe and South-east Asia at the Multi-Scale Energy Systems Group of the Singapore-ETH Centre. This development effort is highly complemented by the growing network of CEA contributors at ETH Zurich, Politecnico di Milano, and the Singapore-MIT alliance.

The ESC member involved in this project is Prof. Arno Schlüter, head of the Chair for Architecture and Building Systems. The Chair of Architecture and Building Systems (A/S) researches on active and passive systems for the energy supply and climate control of buildings.

More information about the project can be found on the hompage of the City Energy Analyst.

The project partners are: Veolia Modelling Centre, Chair of Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering at EPFL, and the Energy Research Institute at NTU. The project coordinator is Dr. Jimeno Fonseca.