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Cities need to get climate smart

February 19, 2020

February 19, 2020

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Cities need to get climate smart

While Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city for now, it may not stay that way.

By 2040, the sprawling city’s demand for water will double and as the climate becomes hotter and drier, Melbourne’s rapid urban expansion could lead to significant water stress.

While Melbourne is the world’s most liveable city for now, it may not stay that way.

By 2040, the sprawling city’s demand for water will double and as the climate becomes hotter and drier, Melbourne’s rapid urban expansion could lead to significant water stress.

Climate change is the single biggest threat to the globe’s rapidly urbanising population. Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban centres. This will reach 68% by 2050.

Cities are responsible for most of the world’s economic activity – and this means they also have the most to lose from climate change. The way we manage cities now will determine how liveable they are in the future.

Meanwhile, cities are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions every year. This would be equal to 5 billion cars on the road. In cities, inefficient traffic, utility, and lighting infrastructure are some of the major emissions culprits.

Something has to change for cities to keep up with an ever more demanding climate, and the pressure of urbanisation. The question is how?

The answer might be to develop cities in which all systems and units are interconnected and communicating with each other, coming together as systems that are more efficient and economical than anything we see today – by making them into Smart Cities.

 

What are smart cities?

Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam for an hour on Punt Road… on a Sunday? Ever waited five minutes for a red light to change to green on a deserted street at 3AM? Seen a street light come on in the middle of the day? These are examples of a city that is not ‘smart’ because it doesn’t work.

Smart Cities are cities that do work. They use different types of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to collect data about things like traffic and infrastructure. They then interpret that data to ensure assets, resources, energy, and services are managed efficiently.

In 2020, Smart City technology is already booming. There are already hundreds of millions of IoT devices operating in global cities.

While most smart City Technology currently operates on 4G, global rollout of 5G will enable Smart Cities to scale up with more higher-speed connected devices. Due to an economy of scale, these devices will be able to be installed for a much lower price in the coming few years.  By 2024, Smart City technology is expected to be a USD $2.7 trillion industry.

 

How smart cities reduce emissions

Smart Cities are growing rapidly for a good reason. Using IoT is one of the most effective solutions to deal with the double edged sword of climate change and rapid urbanisation.

Smart City technology creates efficiencies in two of the worst contributors to greenhouse gas emissions: transport (14%) and electricity/heating (25%).

Smart Cities are defined by having devices that monitor and improve traffic flow, pollution levels, and street lighting. Creating data-driven solutions will make the infrastructure more efficient and thus cut down on energy use and greenhouse gasses. 

As well as energy use, water scarcity is a growing problem. In the US, nearly 7 trillion litres of water is lost every year simply due to undetected leaks in pipes. Smart City technology can detect these issues through flow and sound sensors.

The improvements also have the potential to improve a city’s day-to-day liveability as there’s less waiting time, better lightning, better garbage disposal, and less cost associated with maintenance.

 

Making cities climate smart

Retrofitting green technology to existing infrastructure is the obvious starting point to greening our Smart Cities. There is a lot of opportunity to do this within the utilities sectors in particular.

While a full shift to renewables is feasible by 2050, current energy infrastructure is not designed to handle the irregular production of renewable energy.

An interim solution is a semi-smart grid that uses AI to manage energy consumption and usage.

 

Cities leading the smart revolution

From Barcelona to Hong Kong, dozens of major cities around the world are already investing heavily in smart technology solutions to bolster themselves against the impact of both urbanisation and climate change.

Singapore, the third highest density area in the world, is the best example of a Smart City’s potential. The government is combining innovative technology with modern urban development to address its population and climate needs.

Major investments include engineering marvels like an underground cooling network to reduce the need for air conditioning. And let’s not forget Semakau, a man-made waste disposal island that’s so clean that it’s home to a coral reef ecosystem and diverse marine life. 

TTI: An Australian company making cities climate smart

Traffic Technologies (ASX: TTI) is an Australian company that addresses four fundamental needs of future Smart Cities including energy savings, CO2 emission reductions, environmental protection, and cost reduction.

In 2019, TTI turned Oakleigh into one of Melbourne’s first smart suburbs. They installed a range of smart technologies such as IoT LED street lighting, bin sensors, and parking sensors. These help the council to manage public assets more efficiently. 

They have installed thousands of LED streetlights across six Tasmanian councils. Traditional street lights contribute to 30-60% of local governments’ CO2 emissions. TTI’s solution reduces energy use and lessens the environmental impact of this essential infrastructure.

 

Tasmania’s Great Southern Lights Project

The Central Coast Council has worked with the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) and several other Tasmanian councils in a project that has become known as the “Great Southern Lights Project”. 

The project commenced on 20 January 2020 with TTI’s subsidiary, Aldridge Traffic Systems (ATS) supplying 1200 energy efficient LED street lights to Tasmanian councils.

The Project has been managed by Ironbark Sustainability, on behalf of the Councils involved, with the lights supplied by Aldridge and installed by ETS Electrical Services. 

The Aldridge PLed II street light is a high performance, energy efficient LED luminaire; it has a greater area illumination with an even distribution of white light. These lights will bring a number of benefits including an overall cost saving of approximately 60%, energy efficiency and greater public safety.

Over the 20-year life span of the PLed lights, Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This equates to emissions from over 6 million kilometres driven by an average car.

Central Coast Council is now a leader with the installation of energy efficient LED lighting.

The Project is due to be finalised by mid-February.

To receive updates on Traffic Technologies’ (TTI) company news and announcements, please register your details on their Investor Centre.

 

Reach Markets have been engaged by TTI to assist with private investor management.


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