Local communities and cities have a vital role to play in the transition to a low-carbon future. In 2050, half of all existing European buildings will still be in use. Optimising the energy profile of our cities has therefore become a top priority, requiring the right balance to be struck between energy efficiency, renewable energy and flexibility. Whether you are active in the public or the private sector, VITO/EnergyVille helps you make this energy transition. Our technological solutions are already being used in over 55 urban pilot areas across Europe.

Urban energy pathfinder

Energy planning from building to region

Can we reduce the footprint of our built environment? Only if local districts also generate, store, distribute and consume their own energy. But what energy-efficient solar, wind, heat and biomass measures are necessary in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emanating from buildings, streets, districts or cities? And what investments will provide the greatest return?

Sustainable streets, districts and cities 

These can be charted using the Urban Energy Pathfinder developed by VITO/EnergyVille. Urban Energy Pathfinder is a tool that calculates what mix of measures will be the most effective way of ensuring that energy is used sustainably within a building, street, district or city. The tool examines the energy savings along with the reduction in CO2 emissions and costs for each scenario. Wall, roof and window insulation, solar panels, heat pumps, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, heat networks – all of these are possible.

With the Urban Energy Pathfinder, you can identify for each zone or building:

  • The energy consumption and the buildings at that location
  • Potential collective renovation scenarios
  • Opportunities for the production of renewable energy and for the use of heat networks
  • The predicted residual demand for energy
  • All of the costs and benefits of each measure

The Urban Energy Pathfinder benefits

  • Supports investment decisions to bring about a reduced carbon footprint
  • Defines a mix of energy measures, such as building renovations and the local production of renewable energy
  • Calculates the financial, energy and environmental impact of each measure

Added value for

  • Urban planners
  • Project developers
  • Utility companies
  • Energy suppliers
  • Network distributors
  • Consultancy companies
  • Investors and financiers
  • Cities and municipalities
  • Regional, national and European governments and government organisations

Ready to use

The Urban Energy Pathfinder has been tested by a range of users and each test makes the tool even better. At the end of 2019, we developed an interface and a front-end to make the tool even more user-friendly than before. This means that the Urban Energy Pathfinder is now ready to be deployed as a service to utility companies, energy suppliers and network distributors.


A consistent taxonomic framework: towards common understanding of high energy performance building definitions
Verhaeghe, C; Verbeke, S; Audenaert, A
A probabilistic building characterization method for district energy simulations
De Jaeger, I; Lago, J; Saelens, D
Characterisation and use of energy flexibility in water pumping and storage systems
Lopes, RA; Junker, RG; Martins, J; Murta-Pina, J; Reynders, G; Madsen, H