The Urban Sustainability Atlas is a prototype interactive online map that allows users to calculate the solar radiation values of individual properties: houses and non-residential sites. It was first developed by the Victorian Government and covers all local government areas in the WAGA region, the City of Port Phillip and the City of Boroondara.
Users identify an individual property in the Atlas, and the software then calculates for that property the potential of a user-defined solar PV system (in kWh/day), potential cost savings of the system, and estimated greenhouse gas emissions savings. The performance of a solar hot water system can be predicted in the same way.
The interface is a web-based map, which uses photographic aerial imagery as a backdrop to outline areas on rooftops best suited for solar PV systems. GIS software is used with councils’ LiDAR data to construct digital elevation models and separate rooftops from vegetation and other urban features to perform a shadow analysis. Calculations are shown in an easy-to-interpret table, which users can access within a few minutes and a few mouse-clicks. The Atlas can be viewed on most web browsers.
A partnership between WAGA and the City of Port Phillip is undertaking a trial of the Atlas. So far, the project has produced or is completing:
- A study of potential benefits and uses of the Atlas, following consultation with a wide range of officers from the partner councils
- A business case for the Atlas, detailing overall costs, as well as costs for individual councils, of hosting the tool, data acquisition, data processing, tool development and ongoing project management
- An appraisal of options for ongoing and self-sustained administration of the Atlas, including ownership by a consortium of councils
- A series of case studies on how councils and others can use the Atlas to assist and promote their own sustainability initiatives.
WAGA is keen to recruit additional partners to develop the tool and roll it out to the community. This is an opportunity for councils and businesses to help shape a powerful adjunct to their own programs to promote solar and other sustainability initiatives. Please contact WAGA if you are interested in seeing the Atlas in action and would like to explore the possibilities of partnership.