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Resource – New modelling tool to design sustainable cities

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on August 23rd, 2007

This post is based on the article by Belle Dumé from the Environmental Research Web, 15 August, 2007.

“SUNtool” is a new program that simulates the energy efficiency of an urban development by modeling how city-dwellers use water resources and produce refuse and other waste. The way “SUNtool” or the “sustainable urban neighbourhood modelling tool” works is first by defining where the city is, then by sketching the layouts of buildings in the city and defining what the sites will be used for – for example, residential or commercial use. The tool then either assigns default characteristics to this usage or the user can be more specific, with the final detail of how energy is supplied to the building and also how water is managed, ie. harvested or recycled. By simulating this design, the amount of waste and energy flows can be calculated.

This new program is particularly useful for city planners as our world grows increasingly urbanised and as climate change becomes more apparent. More information on the model is available at and a public version of the tool will shortly be available for free download. The researchers published their work in Solar Energy.

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