More and More Cities Bank on Energy Conservation
February 08, 2017
One day soon, congestion in cities could be a thing of the past and a pothole may be a rare find. Cities of all sizes are implementing smart technologies to better address pressures on infrastructure and resources brought by expanding urban populations. And buildings &endash; where we work and live -- are at the heart of these efforts. Curbing energy consumption in buildings has been a high priority among cities and organizations in recent years. Smart technologies are helping city leaders, who in turn influence building managers, to improve city infrastructure by enabling them to better manage resources such as steam, electricity, water, among others to improve operating efficiencies. Along the way, smart cities relieve pressure placed on a city's resources and infrastructure, while simultaneously improving economic development. As leaders consider how to make their cities smart, understanding the various benefits, and ways to capitalize on these benefits, are important to navigate. Here are some of our insights: Many Paths to a Smart City
From implementing cellular parking meters and mobile building access badges, to microgrid technologies for improved security at critical facilities, cities can address the actual needs, wants and budgets of residents instead of adhering to a generic blueprint. When choosing technology, start by seeing the big picture and identify the technology that enables future phases, as new technologies and ideas are sure to develop. Second, assess what's available and choose solutions that are able to communicate and be used across different types of building systems such as security and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).Aiding City Planning
Finding ways to save time and money, and minimize disruption to residents is crucial when making large infrastructure improvements and repairs. For example, in Dayton, Ohio, contractors responsible for post-excavation repairs following street utility work must embed a city-provided RFID tag in roadways to alert city officials of necessary road maintenance. This system has helped vastly reduce the time to investigate road complaints, as inspectors use handheld RFID readers to instantly identify where upkeep is needed, ultimately speeding the road repair process.Generating Useful Data
As the Dayton project demonstrates, smart city technologies generate useful data for modifying and improving city operations. Cities can use that information to improve public safety. For example, video technology cameras, combined with Honeywell Video Analytics, can help city police departments identify and quickly respond to crimes. Video surveillance alerts staff of potential crimes based on a set number of infractions over a time period captured by a camera. Police then review the video feed and determine next steps by accessing a live feed. Boosting Economic Development
Another opportunity is to drive economic development in a city or region. Cincinnati, Ohio implemented energy and sustainability efforts using smart technologies to help reduce annual carbon emissions by 662,800 tons, saving more than $22 million in energy costs. Before implementing, city planners should consider laying out a reinvestment plan, as this cost savings can be used to make further improvements.
Finally, evaluate a variety of financing options, such as energy saving performance contracts (ESPCs), which enable cities to use their energy and operating savings from smart technology implementations to fund the improvements over a set period of time. This eliminates the need for large, upfront capital investments and the annual savings are guaranteed by energy service companies like Honeywell.