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September 17, 2017

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Toward a low-carbon, green and livable city

AS the human society reaches a reasonable consensus on joining force to combat climate change, and digital technologies evolve at faster paces, “Low-carbon, Green, Smart and Livable” will become the key words to profile global competiveness of future cities.

Shanghai aspires to build itself as a global city with stronger adaptability and resilience. The city shall improve its global attractiveness and have a bigger say among global cities though a variety of means, starting from deploying efficient and intelligent infrastructure, striving to become the leading low-carbon, green, smart and livable global city.

We believe that the essence of a smart city is to digitalize operations of the entire city. This means to enable real-time and adaptive decisions with new digital infrastructure technologies underpinned by IoT, network communication, sensor and automation systems that collect operational data of individual urban subsystems in an efficient and real-time manner. Through collecting and analyzing related data (covering manufacturing, energy, transport, healthcare, building and living), city administrators are capable of making optimum responses in light of real-time changes of external environments, and providing valuable references for critical decisions of individual government agencies, therefore making the administration mechanism and execution more intelligent, connected, efficient, transport and flexible.

Several technologies are requested to build up the roadmap to a smart city.

Smart energy

The conventional fossil-dominated energy supply, single-way power transmission and distribution network, and time disparity of power consumption (peak-valley gap) are the major causes for loss of energy system efficiency and environment pollution. Distributed renewable/clean energy and two-way limiting power grid for balanced power use are where the future lies. Smart grid technologies enable digital grid interconnection for enhanced control quality and more efficient demand management, thus reducing power loss. A virtual plant enables interconnection between more power generation and storage facilities, autonomous power usage management at individual communities, and energy sales to a larger power grid.

Green mobility

Real-time transport data applications enable optimum route planning to avoid congestion and better utilization of the transport system. For example, SCOOT, Siemens’ adaptive traffic signal system that has been deployed in many cities around the globe may reduce vehicle delay-induced congestion by 8-33 percent. Besides, a cloud-based traffic control center may discover a traffic accident and deliver related information to the rescue service provider and driver in a timely manner. Stratos, as a modular application of Siemens integrated traffic management solution, can remotely monitor the transport network, including presentation of traffic signs, route management, and publication of signal interruption, traffic light status and variable information. Other viable options include vigorously promoting development of green mobility represented by rail transport (including subway, light rail and tramcar) and electric vehicle, increasing utilization of bus and non-motorized vehicle, and deploying smart technologies that may improve road use efficiency (including congestion charging, electric freight, shore to ship power supply, electric vehicle and bike share).

Intelligent building

Buildings consume about 41 percent of the global energy consumption and 21 percent of the total CO2 emission, which has become a major concern of cities. In addition to enhancing standards and designing innovative heat insulation for reinforced retaining structure, promoting deployment of such intelligent technologies as efficient lighting & control and building automation is key to improving energy efficiency of buildings. Near Zero Energy Building (nZEB) enabled by combination of passive architecture design and intelligent active energy saving technologies, which reduces the power consumption of the HVAC, lighting and power systems almost to zero, as well as deployment of solar/wind/geothermal energy, waste heat recovery, and thermal/cold storage technologies, will undoubtedly be the next step. Especially, deployment of ECO series of smart energy-saving control systems is key to realization of nZEB aspiration, which reduces the power consumption of a HVAC system by at least 30 percent.

Collaborative efforts needed

However, it is impossible to rapidly promote and effectively deploy those intelligent technologies only relying upon the force of the market, which implies the difficulty of technology introduction at present. Enacting and improving relevant laws and regulations is the prerequisite to promote technology deployment, while proper governmental policies and mechanisms may significantly shorten the time to introduce technologies, facilitating realization of the sustainability goals.


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