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Smart city initiatives increase focus on green, says Gartner

Smart city programs are setting measurable goals on green, developing new tech

Smart city initiatives increase focus on green, says Gartner
Sensors and IoT technology are allowing smart cities to measure their environment and set measurable, quantifiable goals for green initiatives, says Tratz-Ryan.

Smart city programs are adding more environment-friendly aspects to their city objectives, according to Gartner.

Gartner predicts that by 2020, half of all the smart city objectives will include climate change, resilience and sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs).

The increased deployment of Internet of Things technologies, and the ability to analyse data in a contextual way is accelerating the development of smart city projects, Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner, told attendees to the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Barcelona last week.

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.

Environmental factors are becoming a greater part of smart city objectives, and technologies including smart street lighting, building management systems (BMS), and transportation are all attracting increased focus, particularly in Europe. With better analytics and measurement, cities are able to set goals with measurable outcomes to improve the environment.

"With the Horizon 2020 [EU competitiveness initiative] 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," said Tratz-Ryan.

Tratz-Ryan noted that 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," she said.

EU regulations in areas such as street lighting and building energy efficiency are also driving change, and encouraging the testing and adoption of new technology, Tratz-Ryan. Targets for public buildings and private real estate to reduce energy consumption by 3% per year are likely to drive more use of business management systems (BMS), which can help to reduce energy consumption from heating, lighting and cooling by 50%. Smart LED lighting can create savings of 60-70%, while linking cooling and heating with building occupancy create 50% savings.

The demands of these initiatives is likely to result in cities becoming test beds and incubators for smart and green technology.

"Cities will become the environmental centres of excellence for new technology development, offering a stress test environment for the industry," said 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."

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