New report on the multiple benefits of Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods

Sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods (SPENs) offer multiple social, economic and environmental benefits, which consistently overlap with the three pillars of sustainability. These benefits extend beyond individual positive energy buildings and impact both individuals and society as a whole. Some benefits are measurable, while others are not. To fully understand the benefits of a collective group of positive energy buildings or SPENs, it is important to highlight them objectively.

Benefits at the neighbourhood level have not yet been fully conceptualised and mapped in detail. These benefits include reduced costs through economies of scale, social cohesion, improved public health and wellbeing, inclusion, and improvements in accessibility, community facilities, safety and public spaces. In addition, socially inclusive transformation depends on community engagement, availability of shared assets, co-design and social support, which could be strengthened through SPENs.

For a comprehensive appraisal of the multiple benefits of SPENs, they should be identified, quantified and monetised. This new syn.ikia report reviews various concepts related to the multiple benefits of a group of positive energy buildings on a neighbourhood scale (SPENs). However, the focus of this report is on identifying multiple benefits of SPENs that can be quantified and monetised. This can promote policy innovation to support sustainability at the neighbourhood level, including new developments and renovations. It can also aid stakeholder decision-making and stimulate sustainability investment in such projects, e.g. through ESG finance and EU taxonomy.

In this report, we propose a syn.ikia definition for multiple benefits of SPENs to provide a clarity on the concept and advance the transparent measurement of impacts beyond energy savings and emission reductions:

“Public and private welfare effects (energy and non-energy) that arise throughout the life cycle of investment, development and maintenance of sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods. These occur via the interrelationship between human well-being and the physical and social environment at both individual and wider societal level, with a focus on neighbourhoods.”

Read the full report.

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