Latest news ( 31 - 35 of 35 )

29 February 2016

Barcelona blog#2: Speedy charging stations – only 20 mins!

We have been busy over the last few months installing fast charging stations across the City to make it quicker and easier for electric vehicle users to get about.

We are also installing a tool in over 200 dwellings for citizens to monitor their electricity consumption via their smartphone, tablet or computer, at any time, in any place. 

Action area 1: Low energy districts

Introducing the Wi-beee, helping residents save energy

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

Over 200 dwellings in Barcelona have signed up for installation of a consumption analyser Wi-beee. The Wi-beee is a unit that monitors and gathers electrical data with the purpose of helping consumers better manage their energy consumption. Once it is installed, the device converts the measured parameters into information that is sent via a Wi-Fi wireless connection.

Like Cologne and Stockholm we have a number of other measures which would ideally be rolled out in an integrated way, however the exact location has yet to be finalised together with our citizens. Our citizen consultation is ongoing and as soon as we have some more updates we will share this with you.

Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

Speedy charging stations – only 20 mins!

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

Over the last few months, Endesa and Barcelona Council have worked together to install fast charging stations in strategic places across the city to encourage take-up of electric vehicles, which can now be charged in only 20 minutes.

This speedy charging service is thanks to new technology, developed by Endesa, called Fast Charge Station (FASTO) or Fast Together. FASTO has a maximum power of 50 kW DC which allows electric vehicles (EVs) to gain an additional 60 kilometres of range in a charge of only 10 minutes. The unique design of FASTO means it can be installed quickly and integrated into all kinds of urban environments. It can be used for both private vehicles and city-owned fleets.

Three connector types currently used in the market (CCS-Combo), CHAdeMO and AC Mode 3 charging protocols are combined into one module optimising its functionality and compatibility with all EV equipped with fast charge system.

FASTO’s simple human interface is designed to improve usability and interaction between the user and the fast charger. In addition, the charger can be managed remotely and integrated into e-mobility systems which are in place across the city. Currently, four out of five fast charge points have been installed.

By connecting up a network of fast charging stations across the city we can work towards providing a continually better service for EV users in Barcelona. The chargers are able to collect a range of performance indicators and direct user feedback e.g.where the best location is for installing these fast chargers, how they work, any additional services which may be desired, possible improvements to explore etc.

At the same time, we can keep track of the monthly electricity charged or the number of charging events per year and calculate the reduction of CO2 emission in Barcelona as a result of EVs and electric charging.

Joan Blanco

Site Manager, Barcelona

For the previous issue, click here

29 February 2016

Cologne blog#2: Citizen engagement in the Stegerwald settlement

Here in Cologne we have made a dedicated push towards our citizen engagement initiatives in the Stegerwald Settlement, where a number of smart solutions are going to be rolled out. Just before the end of 2015 we held a citizen event with local residents where we shared information on the GrowSmarter project and also gave the opportunity for citizens to get involved through our Community Reporter programme.

Our colleagues and partners at Urbis Up are in the process of collecting different data sets to be fed into a data platform to help us work more strategically when it comes to traffic planning.

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts
Citizen involvement: the Stegerwald Settlement

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

Just in time for the year’s end (24 November, 2015 to be exact!), the City of Cologne hosted an event to inform residents from the Stegerwald settlement about the GrowSmarter project and the impact it would have for them locally.

Our goal was to take tenants and other interested attendees on a journey into the future of their residence, gain acceptance and encourage active involvement in the measures such as smart home, car sharing, data information etc.

Tenants meeting © Stadt Köln, RheinEnergie

The tenants meeting was also an opportunity for local project partners (RheinEnergie, AGT International, ampido, cambio carsharing, DEWOG, KVB, ui – the urban institute and Stadt Köln) to present an overview of all the ambitious activities planned to take place in the Stegerwald settlement, as well as framing it in the context of the GrowSmarter project as a whole.

One of the videos, produced by the event organiser RheinEnergie explains all the different energy measures in an amusing way. Take a look, it’s worth it! The event was also documented by Community Reporters / Stadt Köln who produced a video in German as well as one with English subtitles.

Local newspapers were present and reported about the event:
What’s next?
To provide a continuous flow of, and access to, information the GrowSmarter project, Stadt Köln and the local industry partners will continue to host bi-monthly informational meetings on-site, at the Stegerwaldcafé, to answer any questions and/or gather tenant’s suggestions.

Stegerwaldcafe © Stadt Köln

We are also keen to build up a local group of Community Reporters in the Stegerwald Settlement. We are in contact with local youth groups and elderly citizens as we would like to encourage them to document the changes that are happening around them and particularly, though not exclusively, the impact of GrowSmarter.

More information on this can be found:

Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures
Cracking open data - stimulating local entrepreneurs & traffic management

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

In our last blog update we introduced our platform, the Cologne Cockpit. At this stage we are very busy gathering data sources to share via this platform and so the interface is still under development. But to give you an idea what we are talking about, our partner ui! – the urban institute developed a mock-up, below:

All further real data will be shared via our open data platform. The lion’s share of the data is government data from the municipality of Cologne, which is gathered and split into 13 different categories, e.g. structural data, geographical information (GIS) or environmental data. Since open data in Cologne is not only a city-run project other stakeholders can also participate. By the end of 2015 we had seven stakeholders, including the police of Cologne and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

The idea behind sharing our data in a freely accessible and transparent way is to make it reusable and enable participation and engagement of civil society thereby releasing social and commercial value.

Below are some website user-statistics for 2015:

It is very encouraging that there is an apparent growth and continued interest in open data which shows prevailing mood on this issue. Some 25 Apps have already been developed based on the Cologne open data platform which shows a wide range of different use cases. For example a mobile App which shows the parking capacity in real-time, a game to better get to know the Cologne districts, as well as different visualisations.

The City of Cologne has established itself internationally as a known player in the field of OpenData and we are therefore keen to keep making progress in this area, also through the GrowSmarter project, to open up innovation potential by sharing data in this way.

In this blog
Solution 8: Big data management
Measure 8.1 : Big data platform

Barbara Moehlendick
Site Manager, Cologne

For the previous blog post, click here
2 December 2015

Cologne blog #1: A blueprint for sustainable urban development

“We hope in Cologne that with the “GrowSmarter Project”, we will be able to find more than just one solution to a single problem. We would like to develop blueprints for the sustainable development of complete neighbourhoods”. (Quote of former Cologne Mayor Jürgen Roters in his speech whilst the Kick-off Meeting to Grow Smarter on 10th February 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.)

Over the last months we have seen the scaffolding go up in the Stegerwald settlement where we aim to implement a range of integrated solutions and talked to citizens, we have our data platform which is now in its first stages of being set up and our mobility hubs where we have run in to some issues…!

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

Energy efficiency & citizen involvement: the Stegerwald Settlement

Partners involved: RheinEnergie, Dewog and AGT

Facts about Stegerwald Settlement

Construction year: 1953

Floor space: roughly 33.529 m2 (concerning only the actual refurbishment)

Energy consumption (2013): 163 kWh/m2 per year (heating and hot water)36 kWh/m2 per year (electricity)

Germany’s buildings account for almost 37% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (2010). Houses from the 1950s, like those in the Stegerwald Settlement, tend be lightly insulated. It is common to find attics with a single layer of insulation and walls with insulating values that are much lower than that required in new homes.

As part of Cologne’s commitment to the Mayor’s Covenant and “Klima-Bündnis” towards improving energy efficiency, we are working to create next-generation properties without these fundamental flaws to address the growing concerns over energy consumption, working towards a more sustainable future. In the GrowSmarter project 16 multi-family homes in the Stegerwald Settlement will benefit from a number of integrated solutions.

In the middle of August 2015 we were pleased to see the scaffolding going up in the Stegerwald Settlement district.

The buildings will have to adhere to Germany’s Energy Saving Regulation (EnEV) (last amended in 2014) which sets out thermal insulation standards for residential and commercial buildings. The regulation sets out values for the construction of new buildings but not for existing buildings. Therefor were are using empirical values.

The partners RheinEnergie, Dewog, and AGT have teamed up to provide measures for the tenants living in the Stegerwald Settlement in Cologne. In order to reduce the lead and consumption of primary energy, in the Stegerwald Settlement, RheinEnergie will install electric storages, PV, a district heat connection and heat pumps (by DEWOG) in the next two years. These all will be managed by a software like a software for a virtual power plant; called “Siedlungsmanagement”. At the same time DEWOG will implement energetic and structural measures.

Within the project GrowSmarter some apartments (50 to 100) will get a SmartHome equipment to save electricity and warm water for heating. The third partner, AGT International, will provide its expertise in acquiring energy consumption data on device level and its proven comprehensive data analytic capabilities developed in the BMWi funded project PeerEnergyCloud.

Energy consumption will be measured by Smart Plugs transmitting the data wirelessly and securely to a local gateway. Data will be pre-processed, anonymized and send via a secure channel to the backend systems. Here, advanced data analytic components will provide insights into the consumption behavior.

In a first step RheinEnergie, Dewog and AGT are developing a concept addressing the tenants in the Stegerwald Settlement about the benefits using Smart Energy solutions (2015-November-24). Additionally, a technical feasibility study is currently planned and will be realized in the next months.

Action area 2: Integrated infrastructures

Cracking open data - stimulating local entrepreneurs & traffic management

Partners involved: The Urban Institute and Microsoft

Something very new for us is our foray into expanding our digital infrastructure in the form of our open data platform, an official site providing free access to a number of data-sets from Cologne.

We believe data is a source of massive potential value for cities to enable sustainable growth and tackle environmental and economic challenges. By technologically enabling the city we hope to tap into this potential value to create a fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city; a concept which is also at the heart of the GrowSmarter project.

So, how does the platform work? Well, together with our partner ui! – the urban institute which is providing the software architecture (based on its platform UrbanPulse) and Microsoft, which is providing the Cloud infrastructure, Cologne plans to make city data available to citizens — securely and affordably. UrbanPulse gathers existing sensor data, such as data from Cologne’s traffic management system, and displays this data as annotated street maps via a web server.

The data platform is now up and running with users able to access and download non real-time traffic flow data. We are not quite at the stage of being able to offer real-time data, but we are working on it and exploring additional data sets which could be incorporated e.g. the road construction sites. This initial platform was demonstrated at the International Automobile Exhibition (IAA) in Frankfurt as part of the New Mobility World.

An on-going discussion with the City of Cologne in the development of this platform has been a concern about privacy issues. So far, all data comes from urban sensors and no personal or individual data is being stored or used. But as we look at expanding the data sets for example to include energy related data, this issue will be addressed.

A second issue is the security of data. One of the reasons to choose Microsoft Azure® has been because it is the only leading provider of cloud services to support the world's first international standard for data security in the cloud, known as ISO / IEC 27018 , and developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The standard aims to create a uniform and internationally valid concept to protect personal data stored in the cloud.

Ultimately we hope by unlocking public data and making it available to interested citizens, entrepreneurs and organisations to open up new value chains that spawn innovative and smart solutions which in turn boost sustainable modes of city living and working.

Action area 3: Sustainable Urban Mobility

Mobility hubs – when do public and private interests overlap?

Partners involved: Ampido, Cambio, KVB

In an attempt to reduce traffic on the roads three “mobility-hubs” will be installed as part of the GrowSmarter project. These hubs are comprised of several car sharing lots and also space for people to park their car a little way outside of the city centre and to take one of the provided E-Bikes to complete the rest of their journey. In addition there is the possibility to charge E-Cars. The energy to charge the E-Cars will be produced at the multi-family homes which are being refurbished (mentioned above).

image copyright cambio Köln

But we have run into some issues! According to German laws, public ground can’t be used for private (profit-making) purposes, e.g. car sharing services offered by Ampido. So these hubs have to be installed on private ground.

I will be back soon with more experiences with implementing the first smart solutions in Cologne in the next blog, but please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences this far in Cologne.

Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne

2 December 2015

Stockholm Blog #1: Back to the Future

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.

Mika Hakosalo

Site Manager, Stockholm

30 November 2015

Barcelona blog #1: Urban ontology for a smart city

Our contribution from Barcelona is going to be short but hopefully informative. We focus mainly on the smart city data platform that we are developing, and the neighbourhood consultations we are carrying out.

Action area 1: Low-Energy Districts

Converting data: urban ontology for a smart city

City leaders in Barcelona understand the city as something dynamic and changing; a network of networks, as illustrated in their conceptual model of the smart city in Barcelona, which is broken down into three layers: People/ Information/ City Structure.

In order to systematically describe all the elements in a Smart City in terms of all stakeholders, activities, relationships, outcomes etc. Barcelona is working to develop a City Information Model for city ontology that could be used across all city systems and by all city stakeholders.

Currently, Barcelona has an open data portal, OpenData BCN30, which opens up city data sets to the public and has three main aims:

1. To increase the transparency of the City Council

2. To universalise data access

3. To promote innovation and the economic fabric

The GrowSmarter-BCN platform (GS-BCN in short) will allow the consolidation, aggregation and use of existing and new sensor data. Application developed by different use cases and measures will run on top of this platform to monitor and control the performance of lighting, environment, energy consumption, etc.

Like in Cologne, the idea behind this model is to enable data to be easily shared city wide and made available with consistent Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) so that developers could develop apps that straddle different city systems and so that services (such as payment systems, registration systems, management systems) could be reused across different city systems. It would also enable digital services that are developed for one city to be much more easily be used by another city.

Sustainable Urban Mobility

Barcelona is an extremely compact city, which offers an advantage for sustainability. However, it leads to serious challenges of noise, traffic congestion and pollution. We are working currently together with stakeholders who use the roads on a daily basis, not only citizens but taxi drivers and logistics vehicles to find the best solution for making Barcelona a cleaner, healthier city to live in.

Barcelona: building energy self-sufficiency

Barcelona is the first European city to stipulate that all buildings undergoing major refurbishment had to use solar energy to supply 60% of their running hot water requirements.

As part of our strategy to promote energy self-sufficiency Barcelona aims to decrease demand and consumption, minimise losses by optimising the infrastructures. At the moment we are undergoing a citizen consultation and as soon as we have some more updates we will share this with you.