Smart City

The SmartCity concept is new, and as such it is hard to find an example of a fully functional system. However, in many places around the world there is work in progress to implement not only smart power systems but also smart logistic systems or smart resource usage efficiency systems for individual cities or regions. This idea was coined SmartRegion or SmartCity. One of the first such implementation is SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The concept consists of four main components:

  • smart power network infrastructure – a communication layer including all network points and substation automation systems allowing energy redirection from overloaded lines, early warnings and network malfunction causes identification;

  • smart electricity meters – an essential link between home network and smart network, collects electricity consumption data in 15-minute intervals (or more frequently); in case of energy supply interruptions they allow for quicker malfunction detection and shorter power-off time;

  • smart appliances – wireless thermostats and plugs (switches) and in the future control modules for charging electric vehicle batteries connected to the smart network – allow an end user to monitor energy consumption and help adjust this to their personal needs and preferences; an option to switch off specific customer’s devices (that can be switched off at the time) allows an operator to limit peak power consumption;

  • web site – allows customers to obtain detailed information regarding their electricity consumption by generating detailed reports and suggests energy consumption profiles resulting in power usage cost reduction as well as rationalization of electricity consumption. Studies show that even a simple action enabling users to view their electricity usage converted into cost of electricity encourages them to rationalize consumption which translates into 10% savings.

Much more deserving of the name SmartCity is the project being implemented by the city council of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The concept implemented since 2008 by local companies and authorities assumes achieving balanced model of living, working, mobility and public space using modern technologies but also through changing participants (citizens)behaviour and a partnership promotion of numerous bodies (companies, organizations) to achieve a common goal.

In each area the following projects are implemented:

  1. Public space

    • street and building lighting saves energy in three ways:

      • SmartStreetLighting – light intensity can be adjusted to current road conditions and time of night; in practice this means that light intensity is reduced late at night when traffic is much lower. (Using Oslo as example, which is the first city having implemented smart street lighting control system in the entire city is, shows that it is possible to reach up to 70% savings in street lighting power consumption);

      • integrates street and building lighting by reducing excessive lighting, is equipped with energy saving light sources;

      • tram stop and billboard lighting is powered by integrated photovoltaic panels.

    • Rubbish bins with built-in press powered by integrated photovoltaic panels are emptied up to 5 times less often.

    • Local reversed osmosis filters provide demineralised water to clean benches, bus or tram stops etc. reducing water supply related traffic.

  2. Logistics / waste disposal

    • goods from different suppliers are delivered to one central location outside a city centre where they are stored and transported to a city centre using electric vehicles.

    • the same vehicles collect street waste on their way back thereby reducing congestion and pollution.

    • 150 electrical sockets at waterfronts to reduce pollution emission from craft power generators.

  3. Houses, flats and offices

    • smart electricity meters including real-time electricity usage information.

    • Energy Display panels utilising data from smart electricity meters providing electricity consumption information and personalized tips regarding electricity usage optimization.

    • Information platform created by Climate Agency of Amsterdam with information about energy saving lighting solutions, materials and technologies improving buildings energy efficiency as well as everyday actions and behaviours to reduce adverse effects on environment.

    • Smart switches (aka SmartPlugs) installed locally in sockets and controlled using software allowing to control devices remotely and to switch them on when actually needed (e.g. from a home or an office computer).

    • Smart ITO Tower office building equipped with energy consumption and CO2 emission monitoring infrastructure is a testing ground for implementation of new, more energy efficient office solutions.

The system’s basis is an efficient data transmission infrastructure covering an entire city allowing for new services and functionalities integration in the future.

The project aims primarily to decrease CO2 emissions but also to reduce noise level and air pollution as well as to gain experience and knowledge regarding integration of public space and new logistic concept elements.

In Poland work is also being carried out in this field. On the initiative of the Bieslko-Biala city council the Energy Management Agency has been established. Among the other tasks the agency is responsible for:

  • shaping Bielsko-Biala municipality energy policies through various activities among energy suppliers and consumers,

  • energy consumption and power usage monitoring on the municipality premises,

  • information activities regarding energy use and electric equipment operation addressed to municipal building users and residents,

  • implementation and promotion of new means of energy savings.

Electricity and other utilities consumption metering has been implemented in approximately 200 public buildings. A data base consisting of school and other communal facilities monitoring data has been created. It was the basis for carrying out modernization work affecting reduction of energy consumption cost in many buildings.

Connecting public buildings to a telecommunication information network is planned. It will allow remote management of facilities and in the future will be part of the modernized power grid (SmartGrid) according to the designers.