What is it about?

Buildings in urban areas play an important role in climate change. In 2018, the building and construction sector contributed to 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, 2% higher than that in 2017. This upward trend is primarily due to the increasing global population and the growing building floor area. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement in 2015, urban buildings, thus, have a pivotal role to play in meeting climate and clean energy transition goals. In this paper, the authors provided a systematic review of publications on zero-emission and climate friendly neighbourhoods (CFN) facilitated by ‘zero energy buildings’ and ‘positive energy districts.’Additionally, they listed definitions for CFN pertaining to public initiatives and research projects. In their review, the authors categorised and analysed 144 papers. These were selected based on their concept terminology, topic, location, methodology, publication type, year, citations, and keywords. Energy systems and CFNs were found to be the most researched topics while social interdependencies and the microclimate were the least explored. Additionally, 35 different CFN terminologies were uncovered, pointing to a lack of clear definition for CFN. The authors stressed the need for a clear unified definition for CFN to allow policymakers, planning professionals, and researchers to carry out assessments without any confusion.

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Why is it important?

The urban areas account for 70% of global CO2 emissions and energy us-age. Transforming urban buildings into nearly zero-energy/carbon structures could provide us an upper hand in the battle against the current climate and energy crisis. This study aims to support the global research community reach its goals of building sustainable and climate friendly urban neighbourhoods. KEY TAKEAWAY A unified definition for CFN is required to help researchers and urban planners contribute to mitigating climate change and energy crisis through the development of sustainable buildings.

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This page is a summary of: Zero emission neighbourhoods and positive energy districts – A state-of-the-art review, Sustainable Cities and Society, September 2021, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.scs.2021.103013.
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