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3.5

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsSocieties are facing enormous challenges: energy transition, water supply, and scarcity of resources, pollution, economic crisis, only to mention a few, which are threatening the way of life of millions of citizens worldwide.

Skip to 0 minutes and 29 secondsAt the same time, several technologies are ready to yield their benefits in the cities: sensors, cloud-base platforms, analytics, renewables, electric mobility, robotics, … these are just a few examples of the tools our cities can resort to. But beyond that, citizens are claiming new ways of interacting with each other, to self-organise and to take part in the public sphere. New forms of participation are enabling a direct democracy process to deal with public affairs and with local and global problems. All of this complexity is happening today in our streets. Cities have to become smarter to deal with the change of times.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsDespite the lack of standardization, there are some widely accepted common points within the smart city paradigm. A Smart city is an effective integration of physical, digital and human systems with the objective of delivering a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens. Therefore, the smartness of a city is not about technology itself, but rather about how well that technology is used in an integrated way in order to help the system function more effectively. That involves better engagement with its citizens, and better mechanisms of governance. First of all, a common vision of all the stakeholders is necessary. Secondly, a clear and outcome-focused goals and a reliable method of measuring progress based on representative metrics.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsThirdly, the city, together with all its stakeholders, has to define a roadmap and the strategy to develop it and to implement it. Some fundamental aspects are collecting and making publicly available increasing amounts of useful data and their analysis, identifying and making effective sources of financing accessible, and starting a competition process with other cities facing similar challenges. All this means must be addressed to deliver better services to both the people and the companies within the city, such as mobility, economic growth, air quality, security and affordable clean energy supply, all of it whilst ensuring that the citizen is involved as an active participant.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsFor a better understanding of what a smart city is, nothing better than a real example. This is the city of Rubí, located in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Rubí is a city of over 75,000 habitants where the average energy consumed is 1,450,000MWh/year and the GHG emission is estimated to be 430,000t CO2/year. Since 2011, an energy plan to meet the 20-20-20 targets has been undertaken as a result of the city’s participation in the Covenant of Mayors initiative. This plan is called Rubí Shines and it develops different strategies to involve all the city sectors, public administration, industry, commercial and residential, in fighting for a change in the energy model.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 secondsBeginning with the public administration, the plan prioritizes the implementation of all actions with the greatest energy-saving potential, and the lowest investment cost, such as the energy diagnosis of public facilities, the monitoring of the buildings with the highest consumption, or the procurement of 100% renewable electric energy supply, among others. These measures provided 1,5 million euros/year and enabled new investments in other actions such as the photovoltaic station for sustainable mobility. The actions addressed to the industrial sector are aimed at improving the energy efficiency and therefore the competitiveness of the 950 factories settled in Rubí, which represent 40% of the municipal energy consumption.

Skip to 4 minutes and 41 secondsOne of these actions offers them the opportunity to work within a triple helix model with municipal technicians and engineers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, in order to join synergies and efforts. At the same time, two studies about the energy efficiency and the photovoltaic potential of the industrial buildings are being developed with the support of the Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia. The Rubí Shines plan is also auditing the commercial sector to help it better manage its energy consumption, waste and green products offer. As a result, retailers will improve their competitiveness, and obtain a certification of prestige to signalise their greener performance, which in turn, could help them boost their sales.

Skip to 5 minutes and 31 secondsRegarding the residential sector, 2 different projects are being implemented with the objective of improving citizens’ quality of life. One of them consists in giving tailored advice through an ICT tool aiming to foster a behavioural change on the energy usage, and the introduction of efficient products and services in households. The other one faces the energy poverty problem by auditing and offering non-cost measures and investment aids to all those who struggle to afford the high cost of the energy bills.

Skip to 6 minutes and 3 secondsAchievements up to early 2015: 11 schools and 4 sport-centres involved, with annual savings of 243,000€

Skip to 6 minutes and 14 secondsPublic administration savings: 1,557,000€ 41 sustainable business certificates. 15% reduction of the electricity bill for 296 families. 2 PV stations operating and 9VE. 300 industries involved.

Skip to 6 minutes and 39 secondsTo be 80% dependent on fossil fuels is certainly not sustainable. In this context, the Rubí Shines project is working in demonstrating that the change towards a new energy model is possible by developing integrated local strategies. In Rubí they focus on massive increase of energy efficiency and fostering renewable energy use in all city sectors, public administration, industry, SMEs, household and mobility, since it is essential to get everyone involved to achieve a real change. If Rubí has done it, then anyone else can do the same, because it's not a question of budget but a question of implementing non-cost measures and reinvesting the savings in measures with a short pay-back period, less than 3 years.

Skip to 7 minutes and 28 secondsIt is a methodology that can be replicated in both small and large territories. It is only necessary to have a dedicated team and strong political support.

Make cities smarter

A Smart city is an effective integration of physical, digital and human systems with the objective of delivering a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens. Therefore, the smartness of a city is not about technology itself, but rather about how well that technology is used in an integrated way in order to help the system function more effectively. That involves better engagement with its citizens, and better mechanisms of governance.

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This video is from the free online course:

Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions

EIT InnoEnergy

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