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Published 16th Jan 2012

The Semantic Technologies for Carbon Reduction in Urban Planning (SEMANCO) project's Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Tracey Cros

Teesside University has begun work on a major European research programme which will help reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

The project, worth almost 4m Euros, involves nine European partners and will examine ways to ensure urban planners have the energy related knowledge they need to design sustainable towns and cities worldwide.

Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Tracey Crosbie from the Centre for Construction Innovation and Research at the University will look at how ICT and technology can be used to assess different ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of our neighbourhoods, cities and regions.

Riverside Dean (formerly Cruddas Park) in the west end of Newcastle, one of the most deprived areas in the North East, has been chosen as a test site. The area has been identified as a key location for investment by Newcastle City Council as part of its regeneration strategy, and is now being redeveloped. The University will be working in close collaboration with National Energy Action (NEA), a charitable organisation dedicated to eradicating fuel poverty.

The software and data modelling methods developed will allow planners to assess all the variables that contribute to a carbon footprint and evaluate which solution, for example district heating, triple glazing or installing solar panels, is the most efficient in terms of cost, reducing carbon emissions and relieving fuel poverty.

Professor Dawood explains: “We need to make data across Europe standard so it can be compared. We will be looking at Riverside Dean and there will be two other case study sites – one in Spain in the Manresa area of Barcelona and one in Denmark in the North Harbour, Copenhagen.

‘Many cities in Europe and the world have issued climate change policies and set targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions but their implementation in urban planning practice remains a major challenge.

Dr Crosbie adds: ‘We need to use data in a standard way to establish a baseline that can be used to assess the energy performance of cities and places and set CO2 emission targets.

The Semantic Technologies for Carbon Reduction in Urban Planning (SEMANCO) project, led by Fundacio Privada Universitat i Technolgia in Barcelona and funded through the European Commission’s FP7 Cooperation programme, will develop a framework and tools which can be used through the different lifecycle of buildings and places from planning to daily building operation.

Specifically the framework and tools, developed through the three case study scenarios, will be used to demonstrate quantifiable and significant reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions using ICT solutions.

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