A broader spectrum
There’s a global competition between cities. To attract the most qualified professionals, they have to be green, resilient, user-friendly, culturally diverse, economically strong – to name just a few attributes. At the same time, they need to achieve their general goal of being a great and healthy home for all their citizens. Even one of the world’s leading green cities like Copenhagen, which topped Siemens’ Green City Index in 2009, has to work hard on its ambitious sustainability goals.
One of the key aspects is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and thanks to its climate plan, Copenhagen will manage to lower carbon emissions while growing physically over the next decade. But the Danish capital wants to be carbon neutral by 2025: ambitious.
What is necessary to achieve this goal in a cost-effective way? There’s no shortage of great ideas – more bike lanes, better public transportation, or more renewable energy. But answering this question in detail actually proves to be quite difficult. In the new report “Copenhagen’s Big Incentive”, experts from the Siemens Center of Competence Cities demonstrate how the powerful new City Performance Tool (CyPT) is helping Copenhagen to identify additional options for its climate plan.
The CyPT analyses the impact of a broad spectrum of energy, transportation, and building technologies – incorporating Siemens and non-Siemens products alike – on a city’s future greenhouse emissions. It shows, for example, how much these technologies can reduce CO2 Eq per euro of investment. For Copenhagen, more than 350 data inputs were used to calculate a solid model and offer a strategy. The results are astonishing.
Generally speaking, the report is not about big, administrative inner-city infrastructure investments in energy or mass transit. It’s more about effective incentives for the private sector, as well as a good national framework to promote alternative mobility and cost-effective renewable energy.
For example, buildings are responsible for around 80% of Copenhagen’s greenhouse emissions – and almost a third of the commercial building stock is managed by just 40 owners. If these owners have an incentive to invest in six cutting-edge building technologies selected by the CyPT, the city could save 10% of its emissions and create more 18,000 jobs over the next 10 years. Retrofit programs addressing the commercial stock have shown extremely good results in the past, so the report also offers some great case studies from Tokyo, Melbourne, and Chicago.
As buildings become more sustainable, transportation begins to have a bigger contribution to emissions. The report shows that, by 2050, transportation will account for 27% of Copenhagen’s emissions, as opposed to 20% today. But remarkable strategies from Oslo, Rotterdam, and San Francisco provide a solid framework for successfully promoting alternative car technologies.
All of the strategies mentioned in the report, combined with a green national energy-mix, will help Copenhagen to maintain its place as one of the world’s most sustainable cities in the future. But what price tag will all this have?
The big surprise in the Siemens “Copenhagen’s Big Incentive” report is that the most effective technology investments are outside of the city’s budgeting program. It’s about “national investments in wind, private investments in building retrofitting, and household and business investment in alternative cars.” In figures: 95% of the estimated three billion euros needed to save an additional 26% of city-wide emissions over the next 10 years are outside of the city budget.
Of course, this is good news for mayors around the world, but there’s still a lot of work involved. At least smart tools like the Siemens CyPT help mayors and other urban decision makers lead their cities into a more sustainable future that’s solidly based on data and figures.
Author: Peter Koziel