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23 October 2017

Barcelona blog #7: Urban-scale air quality monitoring and microdistribution

Read about how Barcelona will pilot a beyond state-of-the-art wind and air quality monitoring network, including how it will integrate with the GrowSmarter platform. In addition, the first results from our last-mile delivery services with electric bicycles are available!

Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures
To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Sensor deployment in the 22@ district of Barcelona
Within GrowSmarter, measures are being carried out to develop an air quality model at the urban-scale using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. In order to provide real-case inputs for the operational air quality nowcasting and the short-term forecasting of the CFD models, a set of monitoring sensors will be deployed in an initial pilot area in Barcelona. The monitoring nodes, composed of wind and air quality sensors, will be installed in 4 Smart Towers in the 22@ district. This use case will also include vehicle counting equipment for emission monitoring purposes.

An urban-scale air quality model - why?
Air quality and associated impacts on public health are matters of growing concern in many urban areas. Public administration and health agencies are tasked to monitor the quality of air and, eventually, to make model forecasts to assist the adoption of reactive measures and to warn the public of air pollution that could affect vulnerable groups of citizens.

Urban-scale pollutant dispersion models require of two critical inputs: high-resolution wind fields near urban-scale morphologies (buildings) and pollutant sources (mainly derived from vehicle combustion) through sensors and emission inventories. Today, the increase in computational capabilities is making it possible to envisage a near-future scenario in which Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models will be used to simulate urban-scale winds and pollutant dispersion operationally. In this scenario, the massive deployment of low-cost sensors for monitoring wind and the concentration of critical pollutants will be critical.

Mesh of Barcelona, obtained from LIDAR data, topography and cadastre data

Results for wind field (speed and direction) obtained from CFD simulation

Web-based graphical user interface for visualisation of air quality results

Sensor deployment at 22@ district of Barcelona
Using the city of Barcelona as a test bed, this use case will deploy a low-cost sensor network to extend the current monitoring network of environmental sensors to selected urban areas of Barcelona. Real-time data will be used to initialise and validate an in-house CFD-based high-resolution (tens of meters, hourly output) urban-scale air quality model before its operational implementation. This system is being developed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in a joint collaboration with the Barcelona City Council (IMI - Municipal Institute of Information) and the CAPTOR project, who provides the monitoring nodes that integrate the air quality and wind sensors.

The monitoring nodes for wind and air quality will be installed in 4 GrowSmarter Smart Towers in the 22@ district, also including vehicle counting equipment for emission monitoring purposes.

The use case will deploy a monitoring system for:

  • Wind field (speed and direction),
  • Air quality (NO2 and O3),
  • Flow of vehicles (vehicles per minute).

  • Each monitoring node will be composed of an Arduino node, which have been developed as part of the Horizon 2020 CAPTOR project, and integrating several sensors on a single device. This control hardware node is in charge of monitoring, management and post-processing of raw data coming from the following integrated sensors:

    • a Davis anemometer for wind direction and velocity
    • several (up to 3) NO2 MOX sensors
    • several (up to 3) O3 MOX sensors
    • vehicle sensor to detect flow of vehicles

    The environmental Arduino nodes will be deployed in the 22@ district and are self-contained packs that are designed to be installed on public street lights and poles at a minimum height of 5 meters to avoid vandalism. All the devices in this pack are designed to be long-lasting and highly durable to reduce maintenance. This installation pack is composed of the components shown in below:

    Components of the Arduino pack

    The collected data will be sent to the GrowSmarter platform through the GrowSmarter API. The data will be used by the air quality monitoring software (nowcasting) developed by BSC-CNS that can predict wind fields in the streets with a resolution of 10 metres and 1 hour, and gas concentration with resolution of 10 metres and 1 hour. These resolution values are beyond the state of the art in air quality modelling for nowcasting.

    Moreover, the sensing data information and the sensor-derived nowcasting maps will be offered as Open Data to third parties through the GrowSmarter platform so that consumers of these environmental data can use this information to provide environmental monitoring services.

    Benefits for GrowSmarter
    This use case is a clear example of synergies gained from integrating infrastructures of GrowSmarter: The Smart Towers will provide support for the monitoring nodes and provide communication infrastructure, while the GrowSmarter platform will provide the required data storage for the collected data. The air monitoring software is an example of a service developed on top of the GrowSmarter platform that will provide monitoring services. Moreover, this use case is an example of collaboration among different entities and projects beyond the GrowSmarter project.

    Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility
    To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

    First results on the microdistribution of freight in Barcelona
    In January 2017 the microdistribution platform became operational. The service is offered by the company Vanapedal. The municipality of Barcelona has leased a public space to the company, which is obliged to be neutral in the market and work with any logistics operator willing to use the service.

    The main objectives of the measure are to:

    • Introduce a more efficient and effective freight transport system in the city centre,
    • Analyse the administrative management of a public concession,
      Analyse the business model of the service,
    • Analyse the reduction in CO2 and vehicle kilometres due to shift from conventional vehicles to electric bikes, and
    • Test a new sensor system to measure pollutants and other environmental parameters using the bicycles of the service.

    The Last Mile Operator Vanapedal offers different services, the most relevant of which is the distribution of parcels and packages from other carriers to their final destination. Carriers bring these items to the microplatform which is conveniently located close to the city centre. These are then transferred to electric bicycles and tricycles. The last mile is then performed by drivers from Vanapedal following their established routes. Parking and access regulation do not apply to bicycles, so no delivery time window restrictions affect the distribution.

    The service has been running since January 2017 from the Estació de França location with success, although the market is difficult to reach since there are also competitors and some logistics companies have begun operating their own last mile deliveries using sustainable modes of transport.

    Location of the microplatform at Estació de França

    Currently, up to 9 bicycles are being used in daily operation. The company gathers all business information of their operations including the daily number of deliveries and pick-ups, the number of kilometres covered and the time needed to cover all routes. This information is being collected monthly and the first results of the analysis of this information have been made. During the first three months of operations, 23,000 journeys have been performed and an increase in the daily number has been noted.

    Average daily number of journeys

    In February, the average distance covered was of 65.5km/day, while in March this figure increased to 160km/day due to the introduction of three more tricycles.

    Km performed by all bikes daily between January and March 2017

    Also, the effectiveness of the deliveries is being monitored. So far, the average percentage of successful deliveries has been 92.73%. This value has increased over time, but it is seen as very good compared to conventional carriers.

    Evolution of the daily effectiveness of deliveries

    The next step is to continue analysing the data obtained from the operator of the microplatform and compare it with the data obtained from the sensors that have been installed in three bicycles that offer further information such as the routes followed or the concentration of contaminants.

    The last step of the process will determine how much traffic and CO2 this measure has reduced. This will help to encourage other cities to implement similar last mile services.

    Discussed in this blog
    Solution 8: Big data management
    Solution 9: Sustainable delivery

    Gonzalo Cabeza
    Site Manager, Barcelona

    For the previous blog post, click here
16 October 2017

Stockholm blog #7: Tenants are moving in...

The personnel from Skanska and Stockholmshem have been working hard to finalise the buildings so that the tenants can start moving back as planned in September. In the last weeks, construction workers have been working nights and weekends to accomplish this. Now the first tenants have moved in and can start using all the smart solutions we have implemented. As soon as the heating season starts (we all wish the first snow would just come!) we can start getting some indications on how energy efficient the buildings are.

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

What is happening in Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus area buildings?

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

The smart solutions for low energy districts will be rolled out in the building zones in Valla Torg, Årsta and the Slakthus areas (see map here). For an overview of the measures being implemented, click here.

In Valla Torg the refurbishment of the first multi-storey building (7G) is on the finish line. There is still some minor painting work to be done in apartments, but all energy efficiency solutions are implemented. Here are some photos of the building:


New insulated façade
New subcentre

Accumulator tanks, where the recovered heat from heat pumps are stored
The waste water heat exchanger


Photovoltaics on the roof

In this building the tenants have the possibility to use the Active House application from Fortum to control the temperature and lighting in the apartment.

The other two buildings under construction are also well on their way. The first half of the low-storey building 8 is finalised and in September tenants moved in. The other half will be finalised later this autumn.

Eastern half of building 8

The second multi-storey building 6 is going to be finalised by the end of this year.

Building 6

In the private condominiums Brf Årstakrönet, Veolia (who just changed their name to L&T) have installed all solutions for optimising the energy use in the building. These are listed below (with pictures):

1. Adaptive control system

2. Temperature control in each apartment

3. Measurement implemented for:

a) Hot water circulation losses

b) District heat energy

c) Electricity

d) Cold Water

4. Thermographic control

5. Smart control of ventilation in garage:

a) PPM

b) Temperature, humidity

6. Electrical hub installed

7. Electrical battery storage installed

8. PV Cells and control system installed

Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

Installing smart LED-lighting

The smart LED-street lights (solution 5) have now been in operation for a year.

A Smart Connected City

In Stockholm the smart connected city will use the extensive fibre network provided and administered by Stokab, a company owned by Stockholm City Council (more information). Several Internet of Things applications and solutions can be built on top of the fibre network.

The implementation of sensors in the Slakthusarea has started. IBM, who is responsible for the open consolidated big data platform (solution 8), will analyse data to show how people move around in the Slakthusarea. This starts as soon as the sensors can provide data in October. The project team, platform for data management, analysis tools and methodology are all in place.

Waste heat recovery

Fortum’s open district heating (solution 6) system is now installed in the datacentre. The heat recover can heat up approximately 700 apartments.

Installations in the datacentre

Smart waste handling

The waste handling system provided by Envac was completed by the end of June. The pipelines, inlets and terminal of the smart waste handling system (solution 7) are in place. The terminal and inlets are now being installed.


Pipe transporting waste

Container for waste
Inlets where tenants put their waste


Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

Building logistics centre and delivery boxes

The Building logistics centre (solution 2), implemented by Carrier, will start handling more materials in autumn. Carrier has together with Skanska agreed which material streams can be best handled by the logistics centre, and these materials will be handled by the centre when the next phase of the refurbishment begins later in the autumn.


The implementation of delivery boxes (solution 9) by Carrier is being done alongside refurbishments of buildings in Valla Torg. When the tenants move back into their apartments starting in September, they can order packages and other deliveries straight to their homes instead of retrieving them from the nearest service point. The delivery from the service point to the building is carried out with cargo bikes.

Smart Traffic Management

KTH has developed a smart phone application (solution 10) to follow up changes in travel behaviour in a way that is more effective and has a greater response rate than traditional travel surveys. This will improve travel demand management measures. In the same application, information about renewable fuels in Stockholm will be shown. This information includes updated information on where each alternative fuel can be tanked, together with the most recent prices. The application will be launched when tenants have moved back later this autumn.

Alternative fuel driven vehicles

As part of the GrowSmarter project, Fortum will install up to 10 charging stations and one fast charger (solution 11). The fast charger is installed in Årsta. The normal chargers are also installed in Valla Torg.

The first three refuelling station (solution 11) for renewable fuels are up and running. The filling station in Årsta is expected to be built in the beginning of 2018.

Communication and marketing

In Stockholm several study visits have been arranged and there is high interest in the GrowSmarter solutions. As more and more smart solutions are implemented, the study visits will become more frequent. In October 2017 there will be an event demonstrating the smart solutions in Valla Torg. Here the focus is on city representatives. In November/December 2017 a similar event will be arranged in Slakthusarea. In spring 2018 an event is planned for tenants in Valla Torg.

A video has been produced showcasing the smart solutions implemented in Stockholm. The video can be seen here.

Discussed in this blog

Solution 2: Smart building logistics

Solution 5: Smart street lighting

Solution 6: Waste heat recovery

Solution 7: Smart waste collection

Solution 8: Big data management

Solution 9: Sustainable delivery

Solution 10: Smart traffic management

Solution 11: Alternative fuel-driven vehicles


Mika Hakosalo

Site Manager, Stockholm

For the previous blog post, click here

12 October 2017

Cologne blog #7: The Day of Good Life

With the first phase of construction completed in the Stegerwaldsiedlung, all that remains to do is to connect the Siedlungsmanagement software. In the world of data, we are also working with a broad range of Cologne's open data to integrate into the urban cockpit. Lastly, our mobility stations - featuring carsharing and electric vehicle charging - are operational. Read on for more details and pictures!

GrowSmarter on the “Tag des guten Lebens/ Day of Good Life”

The “Day of Good Life” is a family and neighbourhood festival for the entire district of Deutz, just south of our project area Mülheim. To show how a district can evolve, thirty streets in Deutz and the Deutzer Bridge across the river Rhine were closed to traffic. On Sunday, 18 June approximately 150,000 visitors came to the Day of Good Life event, a visitor record. All activities had the aim of testing a joint venture on how life in Deutz could be made sustainable and future-oriented over the coming decades. At the GrowSmarter booth, visitors were particularly interested in alternative mobility solutions. The industry partner Cambio CarSharing offered free registration, an attractive that offer was taken advantage of by 37 people.

The “Day of Good Life” event in Deutz


Students and instructors from three foreign universities would soon like to visit Cologne for a knowledge exchange. The representatives from the University of Barcelona know the GrowSmarter activities in their own city and would like to see how Cologne is implementing their measures. Students at the University of Basel are very interested in learning more about the development of open data platforms.

Exchange of experts with a delegation from China
Study Visit on July 6, 2017

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the Republic of China have reached an agreement on environmental cooperation. China is interested in implementing the objectives of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. The representatives of the provinces and municipalities are important players in this process of change. The “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) (Association for International Cooperation) organises regular exchange programs with the support of the German Ministry of the Environment. The aim of the program is the acquisition of new knowledge and the exchange with experts, as well as the deepening of old contacts and the establishment of new contacts for the purpose of the cooperation between North Rhine-Westfalia and China. The focus of the trade exchange and the partner province representatives from Sichuan, Shanxi and Jiangsu was “Emission Control, Air Pollution and Renewable Energies". The representatives were keen on understanding more about GrowSmarter energy measures with the aim to examine which of the measures could be implemented and replicated in China. The delegation was made up of company officials and municipal representatives as well as the regional NRW government guests.

Welcome and presentation in the Stegerwald settlement office

The project was presented to the visitors in the Stegerwald neighbourhood office. The project`s integrated approach was new to the visitors. This aspect was of paramount importance to representatives of municipalities in order to achieve sustainable city planning. RheinEnergie presented its energy management measures.

Presentation of Demonstration Buildings before and after refurbishment

During the tour of the settlement, the participants visited the facilities and were able to ask technical questions.

Particularly interesting for the engineers was the new “Siedlungsmanagement” software (virtual power plant). The approach of saving as much energy as possible in a building as well as implementing intelligent control for a larger number of buildings will be examined by some representatives for their projects in China. There was mutual interest in pursuing this knowledge exchange in the future.

SmartCity conference in Esch-sur-Alzette

In mid-September, Cologne had the chance to present GrowSmarter at the SmartCity conference in its twin city, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemburg. Esch-sur-Alzette is planning to develop models for the cross-border region with Belgium and France.

The Cologne process of choosing the data platform and urban cockpit was of particular interest for Esch-sur-Alzette. The city is planning to implement a uniform digitalisation strategy for the entire region. Everyone was convinced that a smart city can only be realised with an integrated approach.

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here

The first construction phase In the Stegerwaldsiedlung section is completed with the exception of final connection work to the Siedlungsmanagement. Phases 2 and 3 have started construction as well. This City of Cologne website shows an interactive map (in German) of the current planned and/or implemented scope of work on each of the buildings.

First (foreground) and second (background) phase of construction at the Stegerwaldsiedlung

The heat pumps have been connected by the RheinEnergie. The first battery storage sets are also installed.

Air heat pumps at the Stegerwaldsiedlung

The RheinEnergie is planning to conduct an informational event for the tenants in November and December to further present and explain the RheinEnergie products Mieterstrom and SmartHome. Tenants who agree to install the SmartMeter equipment will also receive Smart Home.

Action area 2: Integrated Infrastructures

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

We have made great progress in this area convincing partners that sharing their data for GrowSmarter will be beneficial for all.

In August of 2016 we reported about the Cologne open data platform ( This was in place before GrowSmarter, but it offers a comprehensive database, which can be used for the project.

Some very interesting records of the KVB could be included in the open data platform ( It becomes evident that data from our partner KVB is not only a benefit for GrowSmarter but the entire open data community.

For example, errors or failures in the escalators and lifts at the railway stations can be called up in real time. With these data, it is possible to individually define an accessible, personalised route before starting a journey. The data can also be used to ensure that the departure from a platform is possible without complications during the journey. The use of railway is therefore more attractive for people with limited mobility or mothers with baby carriages, for example. We have thus taken another step towards stimulating the population in rethinking their choice of transport.

For the individual data sets we distinguish between dynamic and static data; this is dynamic data:

Our partner [ui!] - the urban institute is now working on integrating multiple data streams into the urban cockpit.

Cambio CarSharing and KVB Bike

Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

To see all the measures to be implemented, click here.

Almost all mobility stations are now fully operational. The mobility stations are easily accessible by foot, bus and/or train. The first experiences show that the stations are accepted among transport users.

With the exception of one station, the RheinEnergie charging stations are implemented. All charging stations have two charging points. All stations also include a Cambio CarSharing station. The industrial partner KVB was able to find a suitable partner for the E-bikes procurement, and by the end of the year 10 e-bikes are planned to be implemented. They will be installed at the sites Charles de Gaulle Platz, Mülheim train station and the Stegerwaldsiedlung. Ampido is represented at two of the three main mobility stations so far.

The current situation at each of the stations is presented below:

Charles-de-Gaulle Platz

The Charles-de-Gaulle Platz provides 5 spaces for CarSharing cars (3 conventional cars, 2 e-cars), 12 bikes (7 conventional, 5 e-bikes), 4 Ampido parking spaces and 4 charging stations. This location also provides a public charging station with two charging points for the general public.

Charles-de-Gaulle Platz carsharing, charging stations, parking sharing and bikes

In 2015, the conversation between the City of Cologne and the state legislation regarding unified coordinated signage for the mobility stations thorughout the state started to take shape. This development is unique and has influenced the region’s cities and communities in using the same language of signage in their development of mobility stations.

Charles-de-Gaulle Platz mobility station signage

Train station Bahnhof Mülheim

Fully equipped, this station has 5 carsharing spaces (3 conventional, 2 e-cars), 2 charging stations, 15 Bikes (10 conventional, 5 e-bikes).

Bahnhof Mülheim carsharing and charging stations


At this station 4 carsharing spaces (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 1 charging station are in operation.

Regentenstrasse CarSharing and charging station


At the Stegerwaldsiedlung mobility station, where all GrowSmarter energy measures are implemented, 4 carsharing spaces (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 2 charging stations are already in place. Two Ampido parking spaces and 8 bikes (4 conventional, 4 e-bikes) will be located here by the end of 2017.

Stegerwaldsiedlung carsharing and charging station


At this location residents can use 4 carsharing cars (2 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) and 1 charging station.

Von-Sparr-Str. carsharing and charging station

Höhenhaus, Am Emberg

Six spaces for carsharing cars (4 conventional cars, 2 e-cars) are located at this site. Whether a charging station can be installed is currently under investigation.

Höhenhaus, Am Emberg carsharing spaces

The industrial partners KVB and Cambio are expecting a much greater use of the mobility stations after the introduction of the mobility card.

Users of public transport must have the possibility to use bus, tram (lightrail), bicycles and passenger cars with one ticket. Cambio and KVB are currently developing a so called “Mobiltätskarte (Mobilticket)”, an enhancement of the already existing subscription ticket. With this “Mobiltätskarte” travellers will be able to use bus, trams, bicycles and carsharing cars with their normal ticket.

e-Ticket as demonstration object on a Cambio carsharing car

Discussed in this blog

Solution 1: Efficient and smart climate shell refurbishment

Solution 3: Smart energy-saving tenants

Solution 4: Smart local electricity management

Solution 11: Alternative fuel-driven vehicles

Solution 12: Smart mobility solutions

Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne

For the previous blog post, click here