Quantifying multiple benefits of sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods for investment and policy decision-making

syn.ikia was present at the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (eceee) conference on ‘Sustainable, safe & secure through demand reduction’. Victoria Taranu, Senior Researcher at BPIE, presented one of the newest syn.ikia tools.

Sustainable plus-energy neighbourhoods (SPENs) are an innovative concept of decarbonising the building stock which is being tested within the Horizon 2020 project syn.ikia. The neighbourhood approach considers the interaction of the building with the urban infrastructure. The four syn.ikia demo projects deploy sufficiency design measures, such as shared spaces, assets and services (e.g. RES, HVACs, heat and electricity storage).

SPENs aim for high energy efficiency to reduce energy demand and achieve a positive energy balance at the neighbourhood scale. SPENs require additional investments compared to business-as-usual (BAU) projects, however, they also provide multiple added social, economic and environmental benefits. At a societal level, they contribute to lower GHG emissions, leading to lower mortality and morbidity rates. Improved accessibility to public and cycling infrastructure contributes to physical and mental health, as well as inclusion and affordability. At an individual level, improved IEQ yields health and productivity benefits for the dwellers. Such projects rely heavily on public funding; to scale up SPEN to the private residential sector, therefore, there is an increased need to access private funding. The EU Taxonomy and ESG Finance encourage sustainable investments in real estate. Investors, asset managers and policymakers need evidence-based and commonly accepted methodologies to assess ESG aspects of projects.

The Multiple Benefits tool, developed within syn.ikia project, is a step forward in quantifying and monetising the social welfare, micro-economic and environmental benefits of projects, by considering the added values of the SPEN approach. This decision-making tool for policymakers and investors uses Social Cost-Benefit Analysis method to compare the benefit-cost ratio and return-on-investment of SPEN against that of BAU. MBx tool can help investors identify ESG investment opportunities and future-proof real estate assets.

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