Cities are consuming 80% of energy in the world, that is why focus on promoting and investing in energy efficiency of the city, investing in renewable energy and smart management solutions are essential for the sustainable development of smart cities.
According to the research published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the most wasteful cities in the world are New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul, Los Angeles and Shanghai. Together, these cities consume 9.3% of global electricity and produce 12.6% of the world’s waste – although only 6.7% of the world population is living there. The study examined how 27 large cities (metropolitan areas with more than 10 million people) consume resources and treat waste.
That among the largest consumers of electricity in the city the street lighting in included, we have already written here. In the EU we annually consume up to 14% of all electricity, representing a total of approximately two billion euros. Therefore, the European Union (EU) has committed itself to reduce energy consumption by 20% (compared with projected levels) by 2020.
A number of European cities are already very successful in this segment. Reykjavik (Iceland) is at the top of the list of energy-efficient cities around the world. Reykjavik relies on renewable hydroelectric and renewable geothermal power sources. This provides all the heat, electricity and hot water for more than 120,000 citizens. Also in Oslo (Norway) 80 percent of the heating system is powered by renewable energy sources – especially bio-methane from waste. Over the next 10 years, the city hopes that this figure will rise up to 100 percent. The city also uses “intelligent lights”, which are adapted to the weather and traffic conditions and has already greatly improved urban energy efficiency. Among the cities that have been placed on the list of the most energy efficient cities are also Copenhagen (Denmark), London (England), Malmo (Sweden), Vancouver (Canada), Boston, San Francisco, Portland and New York (USA).
The largest consumers of energy in general, are still buildings. Globally, buildings and facilities are responsible for 60% of electricity consumption, 12% water, 40% of waste and 40% of the consumption of material resources.
Energy saving and investing in energy efficiency improvements brings many advantages – not only environmental, but also from the cost reduction. Residents sometimes can’t imagine what a daily cost the energy represents for us and what long-term benefits can bring us. In fact, on the long term, with every additional euro that it invested in energy efficiency, we can avoid paying twice the amount of energy consumption.
However, if the city wants to know where it can achieve the best improvement, it has to have information about which buildings in the city are the most energy-intensive. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the five largest energy consumers in the real estate category, that consume about half the power used by all commercial buildings are:
Shops and Services (shopping centers, car shops, dry cleaners, gas stations) consume 15 % of the total energy office buildings.
Offices (Professional and government offices, banks) consume 14 % of energy
Education (primary, secondary and high schools, universities) consumes 10 % of energy
Healthcare (hospitals, medical clinics) spends 8 % of the energy and
Accommodations (hotels, apartments, retirement homes) spend 6 % of energy.
Investments in energy efficiency of buildings taking into account all technical requirements (e.g. Thermal comfort, air quality, humidity …) at the same time provide an important stimulus for the economy. Successful projects of cities show that cities that have succeeded in energy efficiency projects by actively involving the companies, people and all those who work in the city or occasionally visit are more successful in achieving energy objectives. For all participating, city must provide comprehensive oversight of the city, its budget and the projects and enable them to actively participate. Platform for smart cities includes all of the mentioned segments.