Almost one year ago work on the Stockholm site started in GrowSmarter. Looking back at this year it has been a trip back to the future. The future as being the smart city with all the innovative solutions that will be implemented in Stockholm.
What we learned during this first year is that a great future is built with a thorough understanding of the past and present.
There are logical reasons why the city is built and organised in a certain way. Creating a smart, sustainable city is a question of using the existing structure, adapting it, or creating a new one. The GrowSmarter project are doing all of these to create the smart city of Stockholm.
Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts
Introducing Valla Torg in Årsta: using the past to shape the future
Facts about Valla Torg in Årsta
Construction year: 1961
Floor space: roughly 30 000 m2
Energy consumption: 155 kWh/m2 per year
The goal of the City of Stockholm is to lower its CO2 emissions to three tons per capita by 2015. We are working hard to make energy consumption more efficient in the city’s own properties, committing to the Covenant of Mayors with our Sustainable Energy Action Plan and as part of the GrowSmarter project create more low energy districts.
In the suburban area of Valla Torg in Årsta, built at the beginning of the 1960’s, a number of smart solutions will be implemented, from energy efficiency measures to smart lighting, smart waste handling and sustainable mobility.
One of our key areas of work is also refurbishing six residential buildings in the area which currently have 302 apartments. In line with the GrowSmarter concept of integration and our own philosophy in Sweden towards sustainability which involves using what is already there and adapting it to today’s standards. Inside, the buildings will contain a lot of new technology, with very small changes made to the facades.
The energy efficiency measures implemented in the residential buildings will reach an energy use level that is lower than the requirements for new buildings in Stockholm and the level of near-zero-energy-buildings in Sweden, beating the 25 percent reduction in energy consumption after refurbishment outlined in the Building Regulations (BBR) of the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket).
To achieve these stiff targets, we have been working on understanding the existing structure, its limitations and possibilities to see how the solutions can be implemented for best possible results. Over the last year we have conducted detailed discussions, expert statements, pre-studies and computer simulations the implementation plan is done and we are ready to turn the clock back to the future and start the rolling out the solutions at the beginning of 2016.
Source: The Swedish Property Federation (Fastighetsägarna).
Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures
It’s a-buzzing – taking Stockholm to the next level
Another interesting process during this past year has been related to the buzz words ‘Internet of Things’, ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Big Data’. Stockholm has good connectivity throughout the city but how could we use what is already there and take Stockholm to the next level to become a smart, intelligent city?
To answer that question we needed to firstly understand how things currently work in terms of city processes and functions, and also end-user value, secondly where development in this sector is headed (what kind of connectivity, data will be required in 5 to 10 years from now), and thirdly to find a place in the city where the impact would be greatest and instantly valuable for citizens. This spot was the Slakthus area.
The challenge with Slakthus area and its digitalisation is not just the implementation of technology; the technology could be up and running in three months - the challenge is to understand all the city’s different needs in the Slakthus area, and get different functions in the city to join up and use shared sensors, Wi-Fi, big data. We want to avoid having lots of different data platforms working in parallel and instead have them working all together in an integrated way. For instance, measuring pedestrian flows would be useful not only to control the brightness of street lights, but also for street maintenance.
It thus became clear that there is a huge need for integrated approach and that this needed to be addressed very early in planning processes. Bringing together key individuals from different departments in the city, from city planning, traffic department, development department, real estate department, IT department, environmental department, and the city owned fibre-network company, we held a first an internal workshop in August 2015 to discuss how this area will be in 2030 and to understand, how digitalisation could fit into a city structure that originates from the beginning of the 1900s.
Working so closely together in this way, at such an early stage was new and will be continued as regular workshops.
Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility
Stockholm going fossil-free & sustainable urban mobility
The City of Stockholm has set a goal to be fossil-fuel free by 2040. One of the biggest challenges in achieving this goal is to lower transport emissions in the City. In GrowSmarter we will be testing and implementing a range of transport measures at a relatively small scale in Valla Torg, Västberga and the Slakthus area. The plan is to evaluate them and see if they could be implemented in large scale in Stockholm.
One of these is to get more efficient clean vehicles in Stockholm. In GrowSmarter we support this with implementing new stations for biogas fuel, charging points (see picture), route optimisation for clean vehicles, apps for drivers, and synchronized traffic lights to give preference for clean trucks. Another important measure is a more efficient transportation of goods and waste. The preparations have included a building logistics centre, a smart waste handling system and the above mentioned synchronisation of traffic lights.
A third important measure is reducing the need for travel and switching from cars to walking and biking. Here the preparations have included the consolidated big data platform, bicycle transports for light goods, an application for travel demand management, electrical car pools as well as electrical and cargo bike pools. All of these measures are going to be implemented during 2016.
I will be back soon with more experiences with implementing the first smart solutions in Stockholm in the next blog, but please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences this far in Stockholm.
Site Manager, Stockholm