As part of its work in support of the ‘Smart Cities’ policy area, Cefic has become an associated member of the Covenant of Mayors . The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities that are voluntarily committed to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in their urban areas.
The vast majority of Europe’s citizens live in cities and policy issues in urban areas represent a microcosm of the general issues facing society, but intensified and accelerated. These issues include reducing energy consumption, encouraging greater use of renewable energy sources, adaptations of transport and other infrastructure to meet changing needs whilst improving mobility of the population, amongst other objectives on health and education. And all achieved at competitive cost and in an environmentally sustainable manner.
To achieve true ‘smart living’ in the future will require major joint public and private efforts to tackle the significant technical and societal issues. To help address these issues a Smart Cities European Innovation Partnership (EIP) has been proposed that Cefic and SusChem have a strong interest to participate in.
What are ‘Smart Cities’?
Smart cities go beyond the EU’s “20-20-20” objectives (20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% share of energy from low carbon sources and a 20% reduction in the use of primary energy through energy efficiency measures) for the deployment of cost-effective low carbon technologies.
Many cities across Europe are already committed to building tomorrow’s cities today - in particular the Covenant of Mayors. This group of city authorities is developing a sustainable development framework that will allow them to voluntarily go beyond the 2020 targets. To achieve this, the group works closely with the EU to drive innovation across a variety of sectors. In many ways city authorities have more power and opportunity to implement the Kyoto agreement than national governments.
SusChem has already been involved with ‘smart living’ projects that connect research and industrial groups along the value chain such as its Smart Energy Home initiative, the Energy Efficient Buildings PPP and the Building UP Coordination Support Action (CSA). Chemical research and innovation are essential to achieving smart living and smart cities will benefit from the early and in-depth involvement of the chemicals sector. Essentially chemistry’s contribution to smart living is to enable “doing more with less”.
The Smart Cities EIP was one of the topics discussed at Cefic’s public workshop on European innovation at the ‘Tomorrow Starts with Chemistry’ event at Palais des Academies, Brussels on 22 November.
For more information on Cefic/ SusChem’s involvement with Smart Cities contact Ed d’Hooghe at Cefic.