Smart city expert Ali Vasallo Belver shares the lesson learnt from an innovative integrated retrofitting strategy across Europe
As awareness grows about the need to live more sustainably, policy action towards "greening" our towns and cities is also more intense. Buildings for example consume up to 40% of all the energy used in the EU, so a lot is at stake. However, energy efficiency measures need to be integrated into "the bigger picture" of the urban environment, which includes ICT, mobility, citizen engagement and governance.
Ali Vasallo Belver has coordinated the smart city project CITyFiED, which is crossing the finish line. As a specialist in industrial engineering and building structures at Fundación Cartif, Spain, he has overseen three district renovations to demonstrate a pioneering integrated retrofitting strategy. They are located in Laguna de Duero-Valladolid (Spain), Soma (Turkey) and Lund (Sweden).
What have the specificities and challenges been in renovating the three demonstration districts?
CITyFiED delivered three pioneering district renovations involving technologies for building retrofitting, district heating and energy systems upgrades, smart grids, integration of renewable energy sources and monitoring platforms. Often, high investment costs and long payback periods are a challenge. Fortunately, the project was based on public-private partnerships, leading to sound business and financial models for overcoming this.