Three Steps to a Strong Smart City Infrastructure / by Jack Laken

In order to transition to a Smart City solution, today’s urban centres need to be focused not just on surviving, but thriving into the future. But how can we sustain ourselves if we continue to put the same load on equipment, services and resources that we do today? 

Our mission needs to promote equipping our communities with smart solutions that provide a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment– while taking into account themost efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure.

 

Each year there are increased reports of brownouts, due to the overuse of air conditioning, raised food prices because of failed crops and families in poverty in some of thewealthiest countries in the world. In addition, the world’s urban population is projected to rise by 72% from 3.6 billion to 6.3 billion by the year 2050.

This is not meant to shock, but to illustrate that when it comes to sustainability, there are three factors to consider;social, economic and environmental. To be truly sustainable, smart cities need to consider each of these pillars and ensure that the correct infrastructure is in place.

Energy Efficient Buildings needs to be at the forefront of these discussions.  This includes fuel efficiency, water and new techniques to harvest waste energy. Technology is an integral part of this puzzle, which begs the question:

Is the current technology that is being employed maximizing the energy efficiency for our cities?

 

The first step is to take another look at ways that our core infrastructure; government buildings, hospitals, schools and residential homes, can reduce their carbon footprint while minimizing the economic impact.

Next, when considering energy conversation, solutions need to do better and consider techniques that will even out the day time peaks and night time valleys of energy consumption, which will help to serve a lot more people, businesses and pollute less using same power plants.  

Finally, industries need to join in the fight and examine the amount of waste energy created in an average building. Heat from lighting, equipment, appliances and body heat, all could be harvested and stored to use for the future. In fact, harvesting and storing waste energy is one of the most effective ways to minimize consumption and pollution levels. 

 

The transformation into a Smart City cannot happen overnight and requires buy in from all parties, public and private.  In most cases, it requires radical change, beginning with the right environment and smart solutions to be adopted and used.