MUPEDD: Managing Uncertainty in Positive Energy District Design

ProjectEnergy strategies and markets

MUPEDD – an acronym for Managing Uncertainty in Positive Energy District Design – is a research initiative dedicated to fostering sustainable urban development. With a specific focus on addressing challenges in Positive Energy Districts (PEDs), MUPEDD employs innovative approaches, data-driven models, and a holistic urban planning and design perspective.

Next to being co-project coordinator, EnergyVille/VITO is responsible for the urban building energy research within this project.

Urban Infill as a Smart Strategy

Urban infill stands as a strategic and ecofriendly solution, countering urban sprawl’s inefficiencies. Originating from an infill initiative, the MUPEDD project aims to transform entire neighborhoods alongside new construction. This initiative seamlessly aligns the adaptable nature of urban infill projects with the creation of Positive Energy Districts (PEDs), forming a dedicated, long-term approach towards achieving carbon neutrality 

A Holistic Paradigm

Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of urban infill, MUPEDD adopts a holistic systems perspective. This approach aims to achieve integrated sustainability by bringing together various stakeholders, including local authorities, energy utilities, developers, and residents. To elevate PED beyond its initial light-house project stage, active involvement from key market players becomes not just beneficial, but essential 

Overcoming Complex Challenges

MUPEDD serves as a nexus within the PED ecosystem, employing an uncertainty-based framework to overcome diverse challenges, including techno-economic intricacies, behavioral factors, financial considerations, legal aspects, and organizational complexities. Through a robust data-driven modeling framework, the project manages uncertainties, shapes city visions, develops roadmaps, and establishes decision-making structures conducive for PED investors.  

Focus Areas of MUPEDD

The project delves into various crucial dimensions, each contributing uniquely to the development of PEDs:  

  1. Building Energy Performance Assessment:

The core of MUPEDD revolves around an urban building energy performance assessment framework that estimates the existing energy performance (or EPC level) of buildings in a particular district.  

2. Intelligent Data Collection Practices:  

MUPEDD goes beyond the state of the art and has integrated uncertainty-based modeling techniques to identify risks related to techno-economic assessment of the green transition of a district. Our data-driven machine learning guided pipeline can identify gaps in large scale datasets and thereby remove any inconsistencies and fill the gaps using educated guesses to tackle the uncertainties in technical parameters.  

3. Probabilistic District Energy Assessment Roadmaps:  

The MUPEDD framework tackles uncertainties at building and district scales and produces probabilistic district energy assessment roadmaps, offering what-if scenarios for informed decision-making.  

4. Subsurface Uncertainty Mitigation:  

Thoroughly understanding subsurface uncertainty based on existing open data sources is vital to identify and mitigate risks such as subsidence, hard layers, groundwater effects, and pollution.  

5. User Engagement and Sociological Aspects:  

MUPEDD integrates another dimension into PED design through user engagement in the decision-making process. Techniques are formulated to assess qualitative and quantitative aspects of user participation, quantifying sociological and behavioral uncertainties. 

6. Financial and Legal Dimensions:  

The last dimension of MUPEDD unfolds into the financial and legal aspects of realizing a PED, formulating a business use case of introducing collective district heating in Sint-Niklaas.  

Amplifying Impact for Sustainable Urban Futures

MUPEDD introduces a holistic approach to realizing PEDs, featuring a cutting-edge data-driven, and intelligent uncertainty framework that surpasses current research standards. The project not only conceptualizes but substantiates its approach, delivering a validated proof of concept that contributes to industrial knowledge generation.  

The outputs of the project hold diverse valorization potentials across various domains and dimensions. This foundational aspect supports municipalities in achieving economies of scale and progressing towards carbon reduction goals.  

In addition to its primary objectives, MUPEDD not only shapes the future of district development but also establishes a legal framework for district heating networks, creating opportunities for new revenue streams. By focusing on the neighborhood level rather dan individual buildings, the project aligns different interests for the sustainable evolution of PEDs.  

Role of EnergyVille/VITO in MUPEDD

Next to being co-project coordinator, EnergyVille/VITO takes the lead in MUPEDD’s urban building energy-related research, employing advanced data techniques to provide crucial insights throughout PED development.  

Our responsibilities include comprehensive data collection on energy performance and usage in Flanders, refining cutting-edge algorithms through training on use case districts. Our focus extends to accurately characterizing current energy states and associated uncertainties, forming the basis for simulating future energy usage and determining investment costs.  

Additionally, we integrate sociological and behavioral traits data with physical models, pushing the boundaries of energy-efficient investment. The goal is to advance calculation heuristics, specifically incorporating uncertainty analysis into PED pre-design simulations. This significantly contributes to robustness analysis for PED design, aligning with the project’s mission to manage uncertainties and transform urban infill into PEDs.  

Our Partners

MUPEDD brings together a network of esteemed partners. Our collaborative efforts extend to:  



Join us for the MUPEDD Closing Event

Did you know that the MUPEDD project was recently successfully completed? You are warmly invited to join us for the MUPEDD Closing Event, where we will share insights and findings from the project!  

  • When: Tuesday, March 26, 2024 
  • Time: from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM 
  • Where: Hoek 38, Leuvenseweg 38, 1000 Brussels  

This event offers an opportunity to engage in discussions, learn from presentations by our partners, and network with industry professionals. For the schedule and further details, please visit the dedicated page on the MUPEDD website here, or simply register by clicking on the button below.  

We look forward to your participation!

Want to know more?

For further insights into the MUPEDD project, feel free to reach out to our expert, Pieter Van Den Steen

Pieter Van Den Steen

Senior Project & Product Business Manager Smart Cities/Sustainable Built Environment Unit Smart Energy and Built Environment at EnergyVille/VITO
+32 14 33 51 41

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