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Smart cities will give lower carbon emissions and better energy efficiency

80% of Europeans live in cities. RISE is currently running the EU project, Sinfonia, which focuses on the important role of cities in the transition to a more resource-efficient and low-carbon economy.

The EU-project Sinfonia aims to find scalable solutions for transforming medium-sized European cities to become more sustainable. The project started in 2014 and consists of several different initiatives and studies.

– The primary project area concerns specific energy efficiency and renovation measures in the pilot cities of Innsbruck in Austria and Bolzano in Italy. This is primarily a very extensive renovation project of a large number of residential buildings. The two cities form a longterm, collaborative cluster where they work together to reach 40 – 50 per cent lower energy consumption, says Håkan Perslow at RISE, who is the project manager for Sinfonia.

Innsbruck and Bolzano are the heart of Sinfonia and, in addition to lowering their energy consumption, will increase their proportion of renewable energy by 20 percent in two selected urban districts.

Specific measures and theoretical studies

In addition to the clearly specific and directly impactful measures in Innsbruck and Bolzano, several theoretical studies are being carried out to analyse, for example, how the various measures affect each other, what effects they have on other systems and how the already large project can be scaled even further up.

– We focus intensely on measuring and collecting data from the two pilot cities. The experiences we gain from Innsbruck and Bolzano will be used in analyses for five Early Adopter cities. We want to see if the measures we have taken in the pilot cities are also viable in the five Early Adopter cities or if they are especially unique to the pilot cities, says Håkan Perslow.

Five Early Adopter Cities

The five Early Adopter cities are Borås in Sweden, Paphos in Cyprus, Seville in Spain, La Rochelle in France and Rosenheim in Germany. They all have different requirements regarding climate and regulations, for example.

An important part of Sinfonia is also to involve and maintain a productive civic dialogue with residents, citizens and various stakeholders in the process.

– We have issued invitations to seminars and information meetings to building residents and to teachers and students in the schools we are renovating. Civic dialogue is an important part of Sinfonia and we collate all of our lessons, experiences and methods in one toolkit, says Håkan Perslow.

Our goal is that when the project ends in 2020 we will be able to demonstrate scalable solutions for smarter and more sustainable cities that result in a reduced carbon footprint and a pleasanter environment for residents to live in.

Published: 2019-05-21