, 2:10,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Jul 2012

Renewables in residential development: an integrated GIS-based multicriteria approach for decentralized micro-renewable energy production in new settlement development: a case study of the eastern metropolitan area of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy



In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in using micro-renewable energy sources. However, planning has not yet developed methodological approaches (1) for spatially optimizing residential development according to the different renewable energy potentials and (2) for integrating objectives of optimized energy efficiency with other environmental requirements and concerns. This study addresses these topics by firstly presenting a new concept for the regional planning.


The methodological approach for the evaluation of spatial variations in the available energy potential was based on the combination of existing methods adapted to the local scale and data availability. For assessing the bioenergy potential, a new method was developed. Other environmental criteria for deciding about sustainable locations were identified through a survey of more than 100 expert respondents. This survey involved pairwise comparisons of relevant factors, which were then translated into relative weights using the Analytical Hierarchy Process. Subsequently, these weights were applied to factor maps in a Geographical Information System using a weighted linear combination method.


In the test region, the eastern metropolitan area of Cagliari, Sardinia, this analysis resulted in the designation of suitable areas for new settlements and preferred locations for micro-renewable technologies. Based on expert preferences, a number of alternatives for future housing development were identified, which can be integrated in the early stages of land use or development plans.


The method proposed can be an effective tool for planners to assess changes and to identify the best solution in terms of sustainable development.