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Smart cities are good for sustainability

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By 2020, half of all the smart city objectives will include climate change, resilience and sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs), according to Gartner.
Cities are defining new objectives and placing them into tangible programmes. 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,” says Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice-president at Gartner.
Tratz-Ryan discussed how Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and the ability to analyse data in a contextualised way, can accelerate the development of smart city execution during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

Urban mobility drives sustainability targets
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,” says Tratz-Ryan.
She cited the Florence card as 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,” says Tratz-Ryan. “This example shows that there are economic advantages in those measures that can be also directly related to climate change, resilience and sustainability outcome.”
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% 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 centres 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.”
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.

Implementing a BMS system can reduce energy consumption by 50%
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%,” says Tratz-Ryan. “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% to 70% saving. By integrating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with occupancy and building utilisation savings close to 50% can be achieved.