EUROSENSE successfully finished DECUMANUS project for EU (2014-2016)

EUROSENSE executed the FP7 project DECUMANUS for the European Union (EU) in a consortium led by INDRA. The aim of the project was to provide city managers with a set of sustainable decision support services that allow the deployment of geo-spatial products for the development and implementation of climate change strategies and meeting the diverse challenges of sustainable urban development. EUROSENSE realized the ‘city energy’ service, which focused on determining the areas within the city that are the least energy-efficient. By zooming in on the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations that cities produce due to the inefficient energy use, cost reductions that would occur due to energy saving could be determined. EO-based services have been developed focusing on three aspects: thermal energy loss due to the heating of buildings, excessive lighting (night-time lights) and roof photovoltaic potential.

In the framework of climate change mitigation programs, energy efficiency is essential and drives the demand for specific services that indicate energy losses and potential savings.

Within the DECUMANUS project, EUROSENSE developed products that enable to detect heat loss from building roofs (+/-30% of all energy losses for a standard house) and excessive lighting (night-time lights). These products can be used by city planners as policy support for large-scale retrofitting campaigns but also to alert in a direct way their citizens to the today’s needs and benefits of saving energy.

The basic products are based only on satellite data while the premium products require the acquisition of specific data, such as aerial data. The broader resolution of the basic products makes them useful for analyses at a neighborhood scale (several building blocks) and for inter-city comparisons. The high-resolution premium products on the other hand provide enough details to detect and identify energy losses at a building and a street light scale. The differences between basic and premium services makes their use complementary.

EUROSENSE developed furthermore a premium service that evaluates the photovoltaic potential of each building. This service uses high resolution terrain data and a solar model to identify suitable areas for the installation of solar panels and to evaluate potential electricity yield.

Basic Service

Heat loss

This product detects neighborhoods with anomalously high energy losses (hot spots). It is based on night-time satellite acquisitions during cold, cloud-free and snow-free conditions (Landsat 8 and Suomi-NPP data). By combining this data with land cover data, it is possible to isolate the signal from the buildings and create a map with relative heat loss values from building envelopes.

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Satellite-based thermography (Helsinki): pixel-wide surface temperature and relative heat loss from exposed building envelope.

Light emission

This service is focused on detecting city light spots at a neighborhood scale (several building blocks). Suomi-NPP (satellite) data is used and combined with land cover data. An advantage is that the monthly cloud free satellite composites enable the monitoring of light emission overtime as well. This product can thus be used as an evidence-based policy support for retrofitting campaigns. The product enables comparison between cities as well as in terms of light emission per inhabitant.

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Multi-temporal light emission monitoring (Madrid).

Premium Service

Heat loss

Aerial thermography measures heat radiations coming from the Earth surface and the objects on the Earth surface. Specific meteorological conditions and the collection of in situ data in parallel with the aerial data acquisition enables the mapping of heat losses through the roofs (+/-30% of all energy losses for a standard house). Using this map and an interpretation key, any inhabitant is able to verify the quality of their roof insulation. Additionally, this service can be used to detect leaks in district heating as well. The high resolution of the product (50 cm), allows very detailed diagnoses.

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Aerial thermography (Antwerp): roof insulation quality assessment.

Light emission

During a night flight, a light sensitive camera acquires aerial imagery, while luminance data is collected on the ground. It enables the calculation of absolute values of luminance (Cd/m²). By comparing these values with luminance standards, over-exposed areas, thus areas that could potentially save energy, are detected. The high resolution of the product (15 cm) make very detailed diagnoses (at a street light scale) possible. An alternative to the use of aerial data is the use of ISS night-time photographs, however the broader resolution (10-50 m) does not allow the same level of analysis.

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Aerial light emission map (Antwerp): over-exposed areas.

Photovoltaic potential

The photovoltaic potential products quantify the suitability of roofs for installation of solar panels, the expected annual electricity yield, and the corresponding CO2 savings. The map is based on a geometric model which calculates for each grid pixel the solar irradiance. The model takes into account the daily and annual cycles of solar angle, the average monthly climatological conditions at the location (cloudiness) and the shadows casted by neighboring objects such as trees and adjacent buildings.

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Photovoltaic potential (Antwerp): annual solar insolation (a.), suitable areas for the installation of solar panels (b.) and annual potential electricity yield by building (c.).

The project was financed by EU. For more information:

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