Nan Zhou, Lynn Price, Nina Zheng, Stephanie Siehr
The Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool for Low-Carbon Cities (BEST Cities) provides a rapidly deployable tool to use for low-carbon planning, especially in China. This integrated, computer-based software helps local policymakers and urban planners quickly assess their city's energy use and related emissions, compare their low-carbon performance to similar cities and develop and prioritize a low-carbon development plan with strategies that reduce city CO2 and methane (CH4) emissions. BEST Cities assesses local energy use and energy-related CO2 and CH4 emissions from nine economic sectors—industry, public and commercial buildings, residential buildings, transportation, production of power and heat, street lighting, water and wastewater, solid waste, and urban green space—giving officials a comprehensive perspective on their energy and carbon inventory. The tool benchmarks 35 indicators of energy and emissions performance with other cities inside and outside of China and prioritizes sectors with the greatest energy-saving and emissions-reduction potential. Beta-testing was provided by Shandong Academy of Sciences. The technology was based on model originally developed by ESMAP known as TRACE, the Tool for the Rapid Assessment of City Energy.