You may find the latest scientific publications by the researchers of PED-ACT below.

Perspectives of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing on Characterizing Positive Energy Districts

by Mengjie Han, İlkim Canlı, Juveria Shah, Xingxing Zhang, İpek Gürsel Dino, and Sinan Kalkan.

Buildings 2024, 14(2), 371.

The concept of a Positive Energy District (PED) has become a vital component of the efforts to accelerate the transition to zero carbon emissions and climate-neutral living environments. Research is shifting its focus from energy-efficient single buildings to districts, where the aim is to achieve a positive energy balance across a given time period. Various innovation projects, programs, and activities have produced abundant insights into how to implement and operate PEDs. However, there is still no agreed way of determining what constitutes a PED for the purpose of identifying and evaluating its various elements. This paper thus sets out to create a process for characterizing PEDs. First, nineteen different elements of a PED were identified. Then, two AI techniques, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP), were introduced and examined to determine their potential for modeling, extracting, and mapping the elements of a PED. Lastly, state-of-the-art research papers were reviewed to identify any contribution they can make to the determination of the effectiveness of the ML and NLP models. The results suggest that both ML and NLP possess significant potential for modeling most of the identified elements in various areas, such as optimization, control, design, and stakeholder mapping. This potential is realized through the utilization of vast amounts of data, enabling these models to generate accurate and useful insights for PED planning and implementation. Several practical strategies have been identified to enhance the characterization of PEDs. These include a clear definition and quantification of the elements, the utilization of urban-scale energy modeling techniques, and the development of user-friendly interfaces capable of presenting model insights in an accessible manner. Thus, developing a holistic approach that integrates existing and novel techniques for PED characterization is essential to achieve sustainable and resilient urban environments.

An Exploratory Study on Swedish Stakeholders’ Experiences with Positive Energy Districts

Moa Mattsson, Thomas Olofsson, Liv Lundberg, Olga Korda, and Gireesh Nair.

Energies 2023, 16, 4790.


Positive energy district (PED) is a novel idea aimed to have an annual surplus of renewable energy and net zero greenhouse gas emissions within an area. However, it is still an ambiguous con- cept, which might be due to the complexity of city district projects with interconnected infrastructures and numerous stakeholders involved. This study discusses various aspects of PED implementation and presents practitioners’ experiences with the PED concept, challenges, and facilitators they have faced with real projects. The study is based on interviews with ten Swedish professionals. The major challenges reported for PED implementation were local energy production and energy flexibility, sub-optimization, legislation, suitable system boundaries, and involvement of stakeholders. Most of the interviewees mentioned improved collaboration, integrated innovative technology, political support, and climate change mitigation goals as important facilitators. The interviewees highlighted the importance of a local perspective and considered each city’s preconditions when developing a PED project. The study emphasizes that to facilitate PED implementation and replication in cities, more knowledge and clarity is required about PED such as on the definition and system boundaries.

positive energy district; energy transition; sustainable urban development; stakeholder perspective; replication

Co-created Positive Energy Districts: Activating local actors for a common roadmap

by Bahanur Nasya and Yılmaz Vurucu.

5th Urban Economy Forum + 59th ISOCARP World Planning Congress

10-13 October 2023 | Toronto, Canada


The Energy Balance for Positive Energy Districts (PED) is equating the energy needs (caused by people) and the energy production (technology). Yet, most energy transition projects have been concentrating on technical aspects and the implemented projects are not yet truly positive throughout the year. This study will discuss ways of involvement of citizens in the pathways of PEDs. In the European Network PEDEDUNET and in our international project PED-ACT, we have been experiencing how citizens are systemically excluded in the process of establishment of a PED. The technology is evolving, newer applications can involve different sources of renewable energies, calculate them in price and quantity, yet the PEDs are not having the hoped importance or impact in the energy transition ambitions. This is due to lack of involvement of affected people in the project, progress, and process. At the same time, there are worries and power imbalances among citizens (building owner versus building user like tenants), which results in no participation or involvement. With a quadruple helix approach, we have been approaching 5 different communities in 5 different European geographies, all managed top down in terms of energy planning, production, and delivery, and found different recipes to have the citizens take part in the PED evolution. The energy sector is perceived as a technological field, where lots of citizens have very little knowledge or any rights to make decisions. If we keep this top-down culture, we cannot profit from the potential contribution of many citizens and rely only on the capacities of a few decision makers like in the last decades. Especially in PED projects, the citizens are expected to change their behaviours (in energy consumption) to enhance energy flexibility, but they are not an involved actor of the process. If we do not change this dynamic, there is not much relieve technology can bring into the energy transition agenda.

Learning objectives resulting out of our PED-ACT project are:

1 : a clear role for citizens in PEDs

2 : a clear say for citizens in PEDs

3 : a clear reward system for citizens in PEDs


co-creation with citizens and their representatives, energy transition with all, positive energy districts, collaboration pathways, quadruple helix in PEDs.


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ChatGPT for Fast Learning of Positive Energy District (PED): A Trial Testing and Comparison with Expert Discussion Results


Buildings 2023, 13(6), 1392.

Positive energy districts (PEDs) are urban areas which seek to take an integral approach to climate neutrality by including technological, spatial, regulatory, financial, legal, social, and economic perspectives. It is still a new concept and approach for many stakeholders. ChatGPT, a generative pre-trained transformer, is an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot based on a complex network structure and trained by the company OpenAI. It has the potential for the fast learning of PED. This paper reports a trial test in which ChatGPT is used to provide written formulations of PEDs within three frameworks: challenge, impact, and communication and dissemination. The results are compared with the formulations derived from over 80 PED experts who took part in a two-day workshop discussing many aspects of PED research and development. The proposed methodology involves querying ChatGPT with specific questions and recording its responses. Subsequently, expert opinions on the same questions are provided to ChatGPT, aiming to elicit a comparison between the two sources of information. This approach enables an evaluation of ChatGPT’s answers in relation to the insights shared by domain experts. By juxtaposing the outputs, a comprehensive assessment can be made regarding the reliability, accuracy, and alignment of ChatGPT’s responses with expert viewpoints. It is found that ChatGPT can be a useful tool for the rapid formulation of basic information about PEDs that could be used for its wider dissemination amongst the general public. The model is also noted as having a number of limitations, such as providing pre-set single answers, a sensitivity to the phrasing of questions, a tendency to repeat non-important (or general) information, and an inability to assess inputs negatively or provide diverse answers to context-based questions. Its answers were not always based on up-to-date information. Other limitations and some of the ethical–social issues related to the use of ChatGPT are also discussed. This study not only validated the possibility of using ChatGPT to rapid study PEDs but also trained ChatGPT by feeding back the experts’ discussion into the tool. It is recommended that ChatGPT can be involved in real-time PED meetings or workshops so that it can be trained both iteratively and dynamically.