It is estimated that 7 billion people will be living in the cities by 2050. The only way to make this possible and sustainable is to develop smart cities, according to the participants of B2B event organised in Belgrade last week by the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
Leading French companies in the field of energy, construction and urban planning presented their know-how, expertise and vision of the future urban development under a slogan “Future Cities: A French Experience”.
Dragoljub Damljanović, President of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce announced that within its Start-up Accelerator, the Chamber will support three entrepreneurs under the age of fourty, who have the best energy efficiency projects.
“The gathering is an exceptional opportunity for the representatives of the Serbian companies and municipalities to get insight into the latest technologies and innovations in the area of energy efficiency and urban development”, said Danijela Čabarkapa, Director of International Economic Relations Sector at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and added that with new available solutions, Serbian cities can considerably improve their energy efficiency status.
Matthieu Loussier from the Egis Group delivered a presentation of the project that provided numerous solutions for the future development of Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Three French corporations – Egis, Eiffage and Engie – gathered over 100 other companies around the “Astana 2030” project. The project, which has coined Astana and sustainable into the term Astainable, had to face an unfriendly environment since Astana is the city with the widest temperature variations in the world (from +40°C to -40°C) and it almost completely, or exactly by 95.5%, depends on fossil fuels.
The consortium offered solutions for the traffic, energy, heating – all followed by a gradual phase-out of nearby coal plants. The project, financed by the French Ministry of Foreign Trade, is “a shopping window for the French companies” as Matthieu Loussier described it, adding that it took one year of the intensive efforts of many people to develop the project.
Smart cities to provide sustainable solutions for waste, water management and comfortable living
When it comes to the energy efficiency and optimisation, Josip Aleksić from Schneider Electric said that energy has to be accessible, networked and sustainable. A population growth by 2.5 billion people in the next 40 years would result in energy demand rising by 150%. Aleksić presented GreenLys project, which is France’s first full-scale smart grid demonstration project taking advantage of intelligent energy management and green economy.
The topic of waste management in the context of smart cities development was presented by Željko Tmušić from Suez Environnement, who reminded that world produces a total of 4 billion tonnes of waste each year. Even developed economies like the United States of America and France see 66% of the waste ending in landfills. Suez, which employs 80,000 people worldwide, can offer solutions like the one in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand where solid waste is used in a waste-to-energy facility to generate heat and power.
A nexus of water and energy management was discussed by François Debergh from the Veolia Group. The specialist in water and sewer said that the infrastructure is getting more complex and harder to operate, as a slew of data must be properly networked and managed. Veolia’s solution for digital management of water resources Waternamics was applied in the French city of Lyon, where usage of free weather data in the resource management operations lowered water prices by 24%. In the Danish capital of Copenhagen, which is regularly exposed to flooding, the proper rainfall and flooding forecast helped improve rain collection management. A smaller number of repairs and new investments cut the expenses, while some parts of the city were given a new lease of life, concluded Debergh.
A city of the future must have multicomfort and sustainable buildings, as humans spend up to 90% of their lives indoors. Studies say that children’s capacity to learn improve 15% if they dwell in improved spaces, according to Duška Grujić from the construction company Saint Gobain.
The smart buildings are the most important element of the future cities, according to Bouygues Construction. The company’s representative Ana Maria Cartier reminded that major changes in the construction industry arrived with inclusion of end users into creative process, and they demanded lower energy consumption, remote monitoring, and neighbourhood connectivity. Gathering and processing feedback information are crucial for smart households and smart building management.