Characterization of industrial GHG emission sources in urban planning

Wynand Lambrechts, Saurabh Sinha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Urbanization produces large amounts of non-natural greenhouse gases (GHG), leading to air pollution, health hazards and unsightly fog lingering above cities. Rapid growth of cities is creating opportunities for development, new jobs and improving the quality of life of inhabitants; unfortunately, generally at the expense of carbon pollution. A severe effect is global warming, also called the greenhouse effect: the heating of the earth’s atmosphere by re-radiated heat. The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat, as well as pollution in the transport sector, are among the largest contributors to the greenhouse effect. Research on minimizing this pollution is two-fold: reducing emissions through advances in technology and more efficient urban planning. An efficient built environment through appropriate urban planning, supported by energy-efficient vehicles, buildings, appliances and power generation by alternative and renewable sources, can reduce GHG emissions substantially. Urban planning can be used to create more resourceful micro-climates within cities, on roads and extending to rural areas. The increasing rate of materials and goods production worldwide means that this number will almost certainly remain constant or worse, increase, but doubtfully decrease if no intervention is posed towards decreasing its emissions. A single solution to minimize GHG emissions in micro-climates does not exist, but applying energy-saving measures, incorporating low-energy technologies, intellectually empowering workers and learning from experience can collectively lead to optimized solutions for various situations. Cities can reduce wasted energy through two main categories of planning initiatives: energy-efficient building standards for new urban constructions or energy retrofits for existing buildings and efficient urban infrastructure planning of transportation (public and cargo), communications and distribution networks. Identification and characterization of all industrial GHG emission sources is critical to achieve these two goals. The contributed chapter, supplements the related body of knowledge by thematically combining efficient urban planning and reducing GHG emissions in the electricity and heat generation sector and in the transport sector. The chapter investigates potential scholarly contributions by assisting researchers to theoretically identify and classify overlooked and underestimated sources of GHG emissions in urban settings. The notional overview on low-carbon cities through economic planning ties in with urban planning and provides a means to identify known issues and sub-optimal infrastructure. The chapter aims to serve as a starting point for specialized research to improve upon such scenarios. Readers are encouraged to apply the academic principles recognized in this chapter to devote intellectual resources to innovating efficient urban planning and eco-planning for future sustainable cities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreen Energy and Technology
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameGreen Energy and Technology
ISSN (Print)1865-3529
ISSN (Electronic)1865-3537

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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