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Climate change and sustainability top of the agenda for smart city objectives

By Shannon Williams
Thu 10 Nov 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

​Climate change, resilience and sustainability will make up half of all smart city objectives by 2020, according to the latest research from Gartner.

According to the analyst firm, cities are defining new objectives and placing them into tangible programs. This creates measurable outcomes that meet the targets agreed upon at the COP 21 in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"With the Horizon 2020 goals of energy efficiency, carbon emission reductions and renewable energy in mind, many cities in Europe have launched energy sustainability, resource management, social inclusion and community prosperity initiatives," explains Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner.

Tratz-Ryan says Internet of Things technologies and the ability to analyse data in a contextualised way can accelerate the development of smart city execution.

Urban Mobility Drives Sustainability Targets

According to Tratz-Ryan, major world cities have adopted traffic and mobility objectives to resolve or mitigate the traffic congestion issue with IoT-enabled smart city solutions, but urban mobility does not stop at a seamless choice that consist of moving from A to B.

"The uptake of ride sharing, the electrification of public transportation, the support infrastructure for e-vehicles and congestion charging for combustion engines, all of those examples are driving cleaner air, producing fewer GHG emissions and saving energy, while improving the noise levels and ambience on streets," she explains.

Tratz-Ryan cites the Florence card as an example of how there can be a substantial economic benefit in those measures that can be also directly related to climate change, resilience and sustainability outcome.

"The Florence card provides free transportation on electric buses to many touristic sites, helping improve the cultural and touristic experience of the visitors while using environmentally friendly electric buses," she says.

"This example shows that there are economic advantages in those measures that can be also directly related to climate change, resilience and sustainability outcome."

Tratz-Ryan  says sensors have become a critical element in the execution of climate change goals and are at the heart of smart cities.

According to Gartner, in 2017 around 380 million connected things will be in use in cities to deliver sustainability and climate change goals, and this figure will increase to 1.39 billion units in 2020, representing 20% of all smart city connected things in use.

In 2017, use cases in smart commercial buildings and transportation will be the main contributors, representing 58 percent of all IoT installed base in smart cities.

Intelligent Streetlights Will Be One of the Most Valuable Pieces of Real Estate in the City

Driven by the Ecodesign directive that stipulates that members of the EU will have to phase out their incandescent streetlights by the end of 2016, Gartner analysts expect that those sustainability targets will also have a positive investment and innovation impact, especially for the industrial sectors located in urban corridors.

"Cities will become the environmental centers of excellence for new technology development, offering a stress test environment for the industry," says Tratz-Ryan.

"The advantages for cities will be profound. They will not only meet their mandated targets of the Horizon 2020 goals, but also develop greener and more inclusive city conditions that citizens can acknowledge as KPIs,” she explain.

“An example of this is the city of Amsterdam that showcases the massive efforts the city is undertaking to link energy resilience to innovation in greentech and alternative resources. The city is also building user friendly options for multimodal mobility options such as car sharing, bike stations or walkable streets,” Tratz-Ryan adds.

Implementing a BMS System Can Reduce Energy Consumption by 50 Percent

In parallel, the EU Energy Efficiency Directive means public buildings and private real estate will have to reduce their energy consumption by 3% every year. Today, heating, cooling and lighting are responsible for approximately 60% of a building’s energy consumption.

"Implementing an integrated business management system (BMS) for lighting and heating and cooling can reduce energy consumption by 50 percent," Tratz-Ryan says. "This is a significant contribution to the commitments of cities to reduce their footprint of GHG."

Companies that implement a smart LED’s lighting system could realise a 60-70% saving, according to Gartner.

B“y integrating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with occupancy and building utilisation savings close to 50% can be achieved,” says Tratz-Ryan.

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