A city operating entirely on clean energy. In theory, it's possible. But in real life? How to integrate new solutions in existing buildings, systems and people's lives? What are the technical, economic or social barriers? And how to overcome these? That's what we learn by doing in 20 projects in Grenoble and Amsterdam.
Currently, over 68% of Europeans live in cities and this number will rise. In 2050, it is expected that 80% of the world population will live in cities. Urban context areas is the place where the transition to renewable energy needs to be, based on a strong involvement of all stakeholders : industries, decision makers, knowledge partners and citizens. All infrastructures can play a role in a zero energy solution, but it all needs to be decided through transparent and cooperative processes. What is noticeable is that different infrastructures are today mixing, supplementing and even substituting for each other. And it isn’t just for domestic heat system and gas grids, but also for electricity, fuels, sewage, drinking water, ICT and solid waste. Integrating change and going beyond current practice to share skills, knowledge and today and the future needs are our primary goal.
- Showcasing innovations in the urban contexts of Grenoble and Amsterdam
By applying (technical) innovations in our cities, we learn how to overcome barriers, how to build business models and how to make technology both user-friendly and attractive. These innovations are both on system level (smart grids, district heating) as well as on household level (renovation, citizen engagement, home batteries and games).
- Contributing to the 20-20-20 targets of both cities
The City-zen innovations will directly save 59.000 tonnes of CO2 each year. At the same time, the infrastructure is being used more efficiently and is made futureproof. This will allow future innovations to be applied more easily.
Fact : the European CO2 emission per capita is 6.8 tonnes/year. City-zen helps to save the CO2 emission of 8.676 Europeans, not only for this year but for many years to come.
- Cities, knowledge institutions, citizens and industries are working together
By bringing together academic knowledge, industrial technology and everyday questions of locals, City-zen contributes to solving the cities’ challenges. Alone you might go faster, but together we will get further !
- Understanding the complex playing field of energy transition
An integrated methodology for cities to build a roadmap to abandon fossil energy is developed and applied via a roadshow in Grenoble, Amsterdam and 8 other cities in Europe.
A game is developed to enable and speed up decision making processes.
- Upscaling of innovation
City-zen focusses on New Urban Energy solutions, which will help cities to become energy neutral. All innovations are evaluated on their scaling potential and will lead to many more Smart Urban Energy projects throughout Europe.
Innovation is at the heart of the project : now is the right time for large scale implementation of new solutions and smart urban technologies. For technology and process development, workshops supported by technology teams in the demonstrator cities, will be organised as part of the project to reduce the gap between innovation and implementation and to share material knowledge.
The success of the technology implementation also depends on the involvement of citizens. Accordingly, the project recognizes the key position of this group. They will be involved through user groups, and an advisory board with societal representatives is installed. A serious game will be created to engage citizens in an innovative way in the developement of their smart city.
All these approaches match the ambitions of Amsterdam and Grenoble to be eco-friendly cities. Future cities, smart, open, with a high level of liveability and prosperity are no longer an utopia with City-zen!