Buildings in cities consume up to 70% of all primary energy. To achieve cities’ energy and climate goals, it is necessary to reduce energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions in buildings through energy conservation and efficiency improvements. Computational tools empowered with rich urban datasets can model performance of buildings at the urban scale to provide quantitative insights for stakeholders and inform their decision making on urban energy planning, as well as building energy retrofits at scale, to achieve efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of urban buildings.
Designing and operating urban buildings as a group (from a city block to a district to an entire city) rather than as single individuals requires simulation and optimization to account for interactions among buildings and between buildings and their surrounding urban environment, and for district energy systems serving multiple buildings with diverse thermal loads across space and time. When hundreds or more buildings are involved in typical urban building energy modeling (UBEM) to estimate annual energy demand, evaluate design or retrofit options, and quantify impacts of extreme weather events or climate change, it is crucial to integrate urban datasets and UBEM tools in a seamless automatic workflow with cloud or high-performance computing for users including urban planners, designers and researchers.
This paper presents ten questions that highlight significant UBEM research and applications. The proposed answers aim to stimulate discussion and provide insights into the current and future research on UBEM, and more importantly, to inspire new and important questions from young researchers in the field.