WIT Press

Supporting carbon neutrality in urban environments using positive energy buildings


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3



Page Range

580 - 588

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Rochester, New York, a city that thrived on manufacturing in the 1900s, has declined over the years. The fall of Kodak, caused by inadequate business decisions and thus left behind in the transition to a digital age, started a downward trend. The impacts of the economic downturn, suburbanization, and the highway system impeding pedestrian access to downtown Rochester, all took their toll on the city’s once vibrant urban fabric, which has now deteriorated into surface parking and buildings in disrepair. The city of Rochester has started a conscious effort to rebuild its downtown, which brings with it an increased population as the current downtown has been reduced to office buildings and parking lots with little residential options, thus placing a strain on the power grid and infrastructure as old buildings are restored and new buildings are constructed to meet the needs of the increased urban population. As the strain on the power grid increases, the carbon emissions produced increase as well. At the global level, Sweden has been leading the charge toward carbon neutrality and with a very supportive government-developed Roadmap 2050, a systematic approach toward achieving carbon neutrality in the entire country. With regard to the city of Rochester, since the increase in population is directly related to the increase in the city’s carbon emissions, I propose that the city of Rochester aligns with the goal of car- bon neutrality by 2050 with Sweden. To achieve this goal, my paper addresses the revitalization efforts of the city with an alternate and sustainable solution by (1) determining the current energy consumption of Rochester’s downtown, (2) developing a schematic positive energy building to determine energy offset, (3) determining the energy generation capabilities of the proposed building, and (4) discussing the implementation of positive energy buildings to support the goal of carbon neutrality in Rochester.


carbon neutrality, energy consumption, positive energy, urban environment