12 April 2018, Lisbon, PO: Representatives of the twelve smart city Lighthouse projects, recipients of a combined investment of €263.84 million euro from the European Commission, met to sign a manifesto of cooperation. This manifesto is an agreement between cities to significantly change the smart city market place. The occasion of the signing was a day of workshops, where the 76 cities across Europe that are creating innovative solutions as a result of this funding programme, discussed their progress in enhancing energy efficiency, and collaborating with the private sector to create models for doing business that will perpetuate and multiply the effects of the EU’s investment.
In one such model, companies are actually fronting the money for green developments, asserting their social responsibility, and recouping investment from energy savings that accrue from more efficient systems. By fitting out old buildings with better insulation, solar panels, and management system that give residents more control over their energy use, cities can slash their CO2 outputs. The money saved then pays for the initial investment, plus an attractive return. Projects such as Smarter Together are pioneering these kinds of business models to create precedents which can be employed across Europe to benefit the economy, the cities and their citizens.
Just as shops buy food at one price and sell it at another, there are different price potentials for smart city solutions. ‘Packaging’ means agreeing on a set of standards, for example when building smart lampposts, that are sufficiently generic for one product, or model, to be employed in many cities – while still allowing for personalisation.
During one of the Lisbon workshops, cities worked to find the common ground upon which they could find easy-to-build solutions with a clear value proposition, at once component-based and interoperable at an affordable price. Packaging is a tool which cities can employ to cut costs so that residents can enjoy a better future with a lower price tag.
Through European funded projects, cities become laboratories where innovative ideas like this are tested, and when projects collaborate and share their results, effective solutions can be replicated, and common barriers identified and overcome.
Many cities wrestle with the dilemma of how to protect their heritage buildings while improving energy ratings, preserving cities’ historic beauty while expelling pollutants. A study visit to the town hall inspired city leaders with Lisbon’s example: a 150 year old historic building that has been fitted with 100 solar panels, insulated glass, a charging station for electric vehicles and a computerised sustainable energy management system hooked up to its LED lights.
Particular to the Smarter Together project, building retrofitting and holistic refurbishment has taken the centre stage, all while maintaining a citizen-centric approach and integrating other solutions to benefit citizens’ quality of life. For example, in refurbishing a large social housing complex Hauffgasse 37-47, Lighthouse city Vienna has not only been able to increase the energy performance of the building in its greater refurbishment works, but also integrated an electric car-sharing system for its residents and involved them heavily in the decision making process with regular community meetings and an information booth.
Likewise, Lighthouse city Lyon is integrating renewable energy into its refurbishment projects, such as with French Tech, a former industrial building which will house the offices of start-ups in the Lyon Confluence area, and will be connected to the district heating system and feature PV systems on its rooftop. In other examples such as Cite Mignot, a social housing complex, energy consumption will be decreased five-fold, and resident will able to monitor the energy consumed and integrated into the district heating system with the use of smart meters, directly connecting them to their energy consumption.
In addition to implementing various renewable energy and refurbishment projects, Smarter Together Lighthouse city Munich is taking a unique community-centric approach. With the pooled resources of several partners, Munich is providing consulting services for refurbishment works to residents and homeowner associations, in in doing so, not only supporting refurbishment but also targeting the implementation of energy efficient measures by providing guidance from the very beginning.
By taking these implementations from each city and cross-referencing results and conclusions regarding the approach and execution of smart measures, cities boost each other’s potential for success. The demonstration and highlighting of new, tested practices encourages replication in other cities, and allows synergies between projects to emerge. When cities come together and share these results a lot of false starts and potholes that waste money and resources while slowing down the journey to a sustainable Europe can be avoided.
The manifesto therefore declared the commitment of Lighthouse projects to identifying opportunities to enhance their impact through collaboration, acting to achieve synergies that will spread best practices and bring Europe closer to realising its climate commitments; to continue collaboration and consultation with businesses and citizens through their Lighthouse collaboration and work together with the Smart Cities Information System and the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities; to develop tools and standards that can be exploited by cities outside the Lighthouse projects, and by future projects.
The twelve ‘Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities’ projects are:
- Remourban www.remourban.eu
- Triangulum www.triangulum-project.eu
- Growsmarter www.growsmarter.eu
- SmartEnCity www.smartencity.eu
- Replicate www.replicate-project.eu
- Smarter Together www.smartertogether.eu
- SharingCities www.sharingcities.eu
- Ruggedised www.ruggedised.eu
- MySmartLife www.mysmartlife.eu
- IRIS www.irissmartcities.eu
- MAtchUp www.matchup-project.eu/
- Stardust www.stardustproject.eu/
Linked to these are:
- The EIP SCC, a major market changing undertaking supported by the European Commission which brings together cities, industries, SMEs, investors, researchers and other smart city actors, to develop business and procurement models and public private partnerships that create more value for all.
- The SCIS, a platform brings together project developers, cities, institutions, industry and experts from across Europe to exchange data, experience and know-how and to collaborate on the creation of smart cities and an energy-efficient urban environment.
Smarter Together is a project funded by the H2020 programme of the European Union that focuses on five concrete areas of co-created and integrated smart solutions in cities: citizen engagement, district heating and renewable energy, holistic refurbishment, smart data, and e-mobility. In a project structure that encourages the replication of solutions, the European Lighthouse cities Vienna, Munich and Lyon, the follower cities Santiago de Compostela, Sofia and Venice, come together to improve citizens’ quality of life.