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Renewables: a new open source tool to map and plan

03 March 2020

Hotmaps is an open source software that maps the demand for heating and cooling in buildings across Europe and can be applied in specific areas in order to identify the renewable energy sources that could be used to meet these demands along with their necessary costs. The software is a useful tool for energy administration and planning and was created by a European research team composed of renewable energy experts from Eurac Research.

The first version of the software – already available online – enables the identification of the demand and the current supply of energy for heating and cooling buildings in all the states of the European Union, as well as suggesting other potentially usable sources in those areas. Among these renewable energy sources, the waste heat potential of industrial plants, which can be used through next-generation heating systems is also taken into account.

Within the software is an interesting feature which also allows you to estimate the costs of an individual heating (via boiler or heat pump) or cooling system in a defined area. By comparing this data through the tool, it is possible to assess the most environmentally and cost-effective choices.

Hotmaps is free and open access, it provides administrators and energy planners working in Europe with a valuable tool for developing paths to decarbonise the heating and cooling of buildings. A tutorial and Wikihow are now available and provide initial information for using the program. Researchers are currently organising local training for administrators, planners and stakeholders.

Initially created to promote sustainability in the heating and cooling sector, the software is now being developed to include all areas of renewable energy – such as photovoltaics, hydroelectric, wind and biomass. Up until now, the data available at European level has often been too difficult to analyse due to being fragmented into different databases. Further development of the software will be carried out within the European EnerMaps project framework, and funded by the H2020 programme.

The Hotmaps software can be accessed from here: https://www.hotmaps.hevs.ch/

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