I’ve been collaborating with Carlos Calderon at Newcastle University for the past year, applying our respective modelling tools to the case of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (see for example this earlier paper on Newcastle’s 2050 energy strategy). One of the things we’ve been thinking about during this process is the modelling process itself, and specifically how local authorities use the information provided by computer models of all kinds in developing their energy and climate policies. We pulled some of these thoughts together in a recent paper for Building Research and Information, highlighting the tension between standardizing the modelling process (to facilitate comparability, both across years in a single city and across cities) and maintaining flexibility depending on the application and local context. Here’s the abstract:
How do UK local authorities contribute to national carbon reductions? Urban energy and carbon models are emerging as a vital tool for local authorities that wish to understand the greenhouse gas emissions of their city and how to reduce them. The linkage between policy processes and tools is rarely recognized and tools are deployed ad hoc. A set of policy-relevant assessment criteria is proposed and used to review the emergent state-of-the-art in UK urban energy and carbon modelling. Drawing on the authors’ own experience and the literature, a differentiation is made between accounting-style inventory tools and policy modelling tools. It is argued that although part of the same overall policy process, these two approaches lack consistency in methods and implementation. A comparison with local air pollution modelling makes this contrast apparent. A lack of clarity exists for the use of modelling in urban energy and carbon policy processes. A normalized urban modelling practice would ensure consistency while preserving local flexibility.
Calderon, Carlos, & Keirstead, James (2012). Modelling frameworks for delivering low-carbon cities: advocating a normalized practice Building Research & Information, 40 (4), 504-517 : 10.1080/09613218.2012.680702