you are here > DIT Dublin Energy Lab > Research Themes > energy policy > greenhouse gas emissions and land use planning

dublin energy lab,
focas institute,
dublin institute of technology,
dublin 8,

t/ +353 1 402 7912
f/ +353 1 402 7904



greenhouse gas emissions and land use planning

This project aims to investigate the link between spatial planning, energy usage and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission. The primary driver for this project is climate change and association of GHG with climate change. The project is also driven by a desire to determine how to better achieve sustainability of energy usage in Ireland, in particular through spatial planning. Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning to integrate policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.

The project will produce a usable policy precursor for implementation in the planning process in Ireland.  If a reliable guidance document were available to planners to allow them to determine what types of developments have complementary energy requirements, it would allow efficient use of energy in those developments. In addition, this advance knowledge during the planning stage would also hopefully allow more efficient and possibly cost effective distribution of energy, thereby fulfilling requirements of the EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan

It is intended to perform this investigation through the following tasks:

  • Develop a GHG emission index for Transport
  • Develop a GHG emission index for Landuse
  • Determine the linkage between these indices – Transport & Landuse

The next stage of the work will include an examination of the efficacy of current planning practices in Ireland in light of these indices and a determination of the policy implications which arise from this efficacy study. The final deliverable of the project will be the production of a spatial planning guideline for use Ireland

Use will be made of multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to aid in determination of the best use of space and placement of planning elements within a planning area, with respect to energy usage.  Energy Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) will be employed to determine the total energy requirements of any planned developments to complement the information on GHG emission.  Also included in the project will be a review of national and international planning policy, followed by further critical analysis of these policies.  

Investigation will be centred on determination of the energy requirements of a variety of planning elements, e.g. residential development, commercial development, mixed use, educational, community facilities. By determining the GHG emissions from these elements, it may be determined how best to incorporate them into forward planning in Ireland for the most efficient use of energy sources.

This study is unique in that a project involving Total energy Life Cycle Analysis, Greenhouse Gas Emission, Spatial Planning and Decision Making Analysis tools has not been performed in an Irish context to date.


DIT - School of Civil & Building Services Engineering

Caitriona Walsh

Dr Aidan Duffy