Hungarian Architects Using Space Tech to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Sustainability

Gergely Paulinyi, CEO of Paulinyi & Partners.

Hungarian architecture firm Paulinyi & Partners has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in the “Space for Green Construction” competition.

The company has already been using advanced simulation tools to improve the energy efficiency of real estate developments and is now turning to space technology. It signed the ESA contract in December 2023.

The architecture firm is developing a solution that uses satellite Earth observation imagery to map urban thermal performance to improve the effectiveness of existing predictive simulations.

The implementation will also involve experts from Envirosense, another Hungarian company, who will assist Paulinyi & Partners in processing the satellite imagery and developing a map set. The Artes Bass program of the European Space Agency is funding the commercial development project.

“It is a great honor for us to work with the European Space Agency and a recognition of our previous research and work. With ESA’s help, we can put the data that space technology can provide to practical use for the benefit of the planet,” says Gergely Paulinyi, CEO of Paulinyi & Partners.

Urban Heat Islands

Minimizing the urban heat island effect offers a significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions from the construction industry. With the impact of climate change and current technology, cooling the increasingly warm cities could produce up to 60% more carbon emissions than heating by 2050; research is being conducted to minimize this.

Urban heat island intensity in Europe varies between 1-16°C (34-61°F), with higher intensity in summer and cities in warmer climates. In Budapest, for example, a heat island can increase temperatures by up to 6°C. This has a significant impact on the heating and cooling demand of buildings, and although it has a beneficial effect on heating demand, it increases the consumption associated with cooling to a greater extent. In the summer cooling season, efforts to reduce temperatures, especially in densely populated urban areas, significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Paulinyi & Partners is addressing this problem with HeatScape Resolve, which will be based on data from the joint project with ESA. This solution will provide planners with a problem map, analysis of urban heat island mitigation plans and help track progress.

The service will complement the simulation energy models the architecture firm uses to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and neighborhoods while also increasing the value of investments. Satellite imagery will provide extremely valuable data for this development, which will be used by Hungarian experts over the next year. 

“Energy modernization will be a dominant trend in the building sector in the coming period, driven by climate change and an aging housing stock,” explains Roland Németh, head of automation development at Paulinyi & Partners.

“This project can help mitigate the negative environmental impacts of rising average temperatures in the long term. By integrating the data into our existing simulations, we will be able to apply it to specific projects, even at the level of entire neighborhoods,” Németh adds

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of February 9, 2024.

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