Zero emission neighbourhoods and positive energy districts: a state-of-the-art review

published by Elsevier Sustainable Cities and Society 72 (2021) 103013

co-authored by Johannes Brozovsky *, Arild Gustavsen, Niki Gaitani

(*) Department of Architecture and Technology, Faculty for Architecture and Design, NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491, Trondheim, Norway

Zero emission
Zero energy
Positive energy
Systematic review

Urban areas are critical in accomplishing the clean energy transition and meeting the climate goals in the Paris Agreement. The first part of this paper presents a systematic review of scientific publications on zero emission neighbourhoods, positive energy districts and similar concepts of climate friendly neighbourhoods (CFN). The second lists a selection of CFN definitions of public initiatives and research projects. The aim is to identify focus areas, research gaps and future research possibilities. In the systematic review, 144 papers were categorised and
analysed according to their concept terminology, topic, location, used methodology, publication type, year, citations and keywords. The results document the growing but thematically and geographically unbalanced attention given to CFNs. Most research (31.9 %) was connected to the energy system, whereas social aspects (4.2 %) and the microclimate (3.5 %) were least researched. Within the analysed literature, 35 different terminologies for CFNs were used which highlights the lack of clear definitions and arbitrary use of terminologies. This issue is also reflected in the significant differences of CFN definitions from public initiatives and research projects. This article stresses the need for clear, comprehensible and structured definitions, including KPIs, system boundaries, as well as definitions of the spatial scales.


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