The main instrument used to implement the EU 2020 objectives at local level is the Covenant of Mayors, which fosters the development of Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs); these plans aim to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020. These action plans are linked to different municipal promotion tools, and a set of indicators has also been proposed to define and monitor the actions. In general, the adequacy of the main indicators used by the SEAPs is analysed, taking into consideration the representation of the urban system across all scales (city, neighbourhood and building) as well as whether the chosen indicators enable the analyst to consider the influence of human activities (i.e. hours of use) on energy consumption, within the system.
In contrast, this paper proposes to apply the fund-flow model as an accounting framework that can be used to develop indicators for energy-efficient urban planning. The energy model behind these indicators was obtained using an innovative procedure for energy simulation which considers the isolated characteristics of the buildings (type of construction, occupation, interior comfort, type of energy system) as well as the interaction with the surrounding buildings (shadows, streets, geometry). The indicators proposed have been developed within the SEMANCO UE project, and we have taken into account their potential as criteria for identifying the most effective actions for energy planning on multilevel scales. An example in Manresa (Spain) is used to test the usability. Our results demonstrate that these indicators are suitable for use in decision-making processes in the field of urban planning and for performing coherent comparisons of actions between urban areas, cities, countries or regions.