Energy and urban form


Ron Kellett

Cynthia Girling

elementslab researchers are leading a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) funded project investigating community scale energy and emissions in BC’s built environment. This project simulates potential energy and emissions reduction strategies against diverse urban form patterns characteristic of BC municipalities. The first phase of this research identified recurring 400m x 400m urban form patterns from a census-based spatial analysis of BC’s population distribution. More detailed analyses of land use and cadastral data illustrated specific instances of these patterns in six representative municipalities (Kelowna, Prince George, Revelstoke, Saanich, Surrey, and Vancouver). These analyses in turn led to the derivation of seven archetypes represented spatially in 2-D and 3-D and quantitatively in a geographic information system (GIS). Using our lab’s urban form database each urban form archetype was populated with representative, measured building models, derived from real-world cases. A parallel set of metrics was developed to illustrate and compare other attributes of these archetypes. Using Esri’s City Engine, we simultaneously developed a procedural modeling approach to energy and emissions simulation at a building-by-building scale that is also sensitive to interbuilding effects, such as shading. Using this approach, we are able to iteratively and incrementally change urban form variables such as land pattern, building design, siting, construction and systems technologies to reveal the energy and emissions implications of different development and redevelopment scenarios. Current work with Dr. Mark Jaccard’s Energy and Materials Research Group at Simon Fraser University will simulate and compare portfolios of potential policy, regulatory and behavioural options. Outcomes of this research will recommend combinations of energy and GHG reduction policies implementable at municipal and Provincial scales.

Team: Ron Kellett, Cynthia Girling, Jon Salter, Christina Bollo, Brendan Buchanan-Dee, Fausto Inomata, Juchan Kim, Alix Krahn, Jess MacDaniel, Michael Van Der Laan

Sponsors: Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Esri Canada elements