Cities and Energy

Urban Morphology and Heat Energy Demand

LSE Cities has published a new report and paper on the impact of urban morphology on heat energy demand in cities in collaboration with the European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

The research report ‘Cities and Energy: Urban Morphology and Heat Energy Demand’ focuses on heat energy efficiencies created by the spatial configuration of cities and is based on the identification of the five most dominant residential building typologies in each of the four largest European cities: London, Paris, Berlin and Istanbul. The paper authored by Philipp Rode, Christian Keim, Guido Robazza, Pablo Viejo and James Schofield presents the overall methodology and findings and is published under the same title in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 41(1) 138 – 162.

The study focuses exclusively on theoretical heat-energy demand related to design issues at their most fundamental level: building design and urban form. In Europe, approximately 70 per cent of energy use in residential buildings is heating related. Previous research has identified three types of intervention that could play equally important roles in reducing heat-energy demand: behavioural adjustments, technological advancement and design considerations. Focussing on the latter, the theoretical results of this study suggest that urban morphology-induced heat energy efficiency is significant and can lead to differences in heat-energy demand by up to a factor of six. Compact and tall building types were found to have the greatest heat-energy efficiency at the neighbourhood scale, while detached housing was found to have the lowest. The results of this study suggest that urban morphology-induced heat energy efficiency is either achieved by higher building densities, as in all the cases of compact urban blocks or by taller buildings.

Publication date
March 2014
Research Directors
Philipp Rode – LSE Cities
Pablo Viejo Garcia – EIFERLSE Cities
Research Team
Philipp Rode, Ricky Burdett, Guido Robazza, James Schofield
EIFER Research Team
Christian Keim, Nurten Avci, Snezhina Dimitrova, Pablo Viejo Garcia, Syed Monjur Murshed Jean-Marie Bahu
Supported by
Kay Kitazawa, Miranda Iossifidis, Claire Mookerjee, Daniel Budish Yash Ovardhan Markus Neppl
External Review
Brian Ford, Irene Gallou, Joana Goncalves, David Kingstone, Andreas Koch, Nikolaus Kohler, Shao Li ,Bruno Moser, Philip Steadman, Chris Trott Rick Wheal