Sustainable Urban Indicators

A key part of the INDICATE project involved the development of a suite of Sustainable Urban Indicators (SUI) to provide metrics in relation to energy use in the urban environment, and to quantify current conditions along with the impact of proposed interventions as part of the operation of the INDICATE tool. 30 key SUIs were selected over three categories including: 8 Carbon Reduction indicators; 14 Energy Efficiency indicators; and 8 Cost Reduction indicators.

As part of the INDICATE project, a website was created ( to provide details regarding the selected SUIs and to illustrate how these indicators are employed in the INDICATE tool. 

The website also presents a video depicting a scenario that focuses on the feasibility of establishing an urban renewable solar photovoltaic (or ‘PV’) energy system. This video also demonstrates how the SUIs are utilised within the tool to inform the decision making process.


INDICATE Scenario: Establishing an Urban PV system

The scenario shows how the INDICATE tool will calculate the appropriate urban roof area which could support the deployment of a solar PV system. The feasibility of installing renewable energy infrastructure is determined by analysing the Dynamic Simulation result, which defines the square meter roof area suitable for PV. Key indicators for this exercise include: 

•Roof Space Available for Solar PV 

•Special Heritage Status

•Energy Consumption by Type

•Building stock energy efficiency

Calculating available roof space

The scenario demonstrates various tools such as the ‘Inspector’ and ‘Selection Tool’ are used to determine how there is 648 square metres potential roof area available for solar PV on the selected residential buildings in this example.

Displaying building status

This scenario also illustrates other aspects of the tool such as how the ‘Heritage Status’ of the selected buildings can be displayed, to determine if they have a planning designation which forbids deploying solar PV panels on the structure. In this example 61 buildings in the group are recognised as having ‘special heritage status’.

Identifying target areas

The feasibility of installing renewable energy infrastructure, can be explored by selecting specific buildings determined to have the appropriate roof space in the model i.e. energy received annually by the roof space must exceed hundred kilowatt hour per meter squared. 

Selected appropriate technology

The appropriate technology application is selected from the Inspector and this intervention is then modelled on the pre-selected appropriate buildings in the scene and the simulated impact is reflected on the dashboard. By selecting two kilowatt hour PV the results of the simulation are compared with the base levels which are illustrated on the dashboard, where the total potential generating capacity of the appropriate roof space can be calculated in terms of kilowatt hours. The contrast between the baseline and the simulation data is used to explore the cost benefit of the solar PV energy system. Using the results from the tool as an indicator of energy savings, will enable the calculation of the kilowatt hour costing and compare it to the investment required.