Be smart with energy, mobility and ICT in your city

The final stop of SCIS road trip around Spain: CITyFiED & R2CITIES

Antonio Garrido-Marijuan, Austrian Institute of Technology & SCIS
25 October 2016
Laguna de Duero, CITyFiED
Laguna de Duero, CITyFiED

The next and final stop of the SCIS road trip through Spain was the CARTIF Foundation in Valladolid. CARTIF is playing a very important role in the transition process to a new energy model in the cities by leading and participating in several projects in the scope of SCIS: DIRECTION, REMOURBAN, CITyFiED, R2CITIES and SmartEnCity.

In view of their extensive presence in the smart city context, SCIS has been working intensively with CARTIF from the beginning. The five projects focus on fields corresponding to the SCIS main areas of interest: energy, mobility and ICT - with a prime focus on energy efficiency in buildings. It was nice to finally meet the teams and see the faces behind the names. I seized the chance to better grasp their key insights on technical monitoring, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and lessons learnt.

Among the key learnings that CARTIF shared was the importance of spending time to define a robust monitoring protocol, which should include clear specifications for the planning, installation and operation phases of the monitoring system. They also highlighted the significance of a common, consistent and reliable set of KPIs, which allows assessing the district performance and presenting the results to the outside world through platforms such as SCIS. The KPI guide SCIS created in alignment with other initiatives such as CITYkeys made this process easier, since they could rely on a reference list of KPIs that is commonly used by similar projects.

Additionally, I visited three of the demonstrators, which are in different stages of development: from the very beginning to the final stage, with demos fully working and monitored under real conditions of use.

The demosite that we visited, which was in its early stage of development, was the site of R2CITIES in Valladolid. R2CITIES aims to develop and demonstrate an open and easily replicable strategy for designing, constructing, and managing large scale district renovation projects for achieving nearly zero energy cities. The CARTIF team explained how important is to involve the affected neighbours when a demonstration project is executed, encouraging them to join the retrofitting urban plan. Quite often, in order to carry out the renovation works in a building or district, common hold association approval is required. What CARTIF did was to put the residents in contact with the inhabitants of Laguna de Duero from the CITyFiED project, which had already gone through a similar experience. Word of mouth did the rest and R2CITIES received a very warm welcome from people.

The second visit was to the CITyFiED demosite in Laguna de Duero where the achieved results in terms of technological implementation and residents support are impressive. Two big biomass boilers had been installed to supply heat to the adjacent buildings, which were also retrofitted. The project team told me that the neighbours whose buildings were first renovated were so happy with the indoor comfort and low consumption, that the rest of the residents were constantly asking the workers when they would start with their dwellings.

The lessons CARTIF learned through their projects with regards to the technical and social aspects are quite beneficial not only for them in overcoming similar challenges in the future but also to other projects that might be struggling with the same issues. Please visit the SCIC project section to have a closer look at these demos!

M. Sc. Dipl.-Ing. Antonio Garrido Marijuán works as a Junior Scientist at the Energy Department of the AIT, and for the last eight months he has been supporting the development of the Smart Cities Information System. He graduated as Dipl.-Ing. in Chemical Engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain) and holds a M. SC on Industrial Technologies. Previously to AIT, he  worked in the field of energy efficiency in buildings at the Spanish Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), where he represented CIEMAT for 4 years on the EERA-Joint Programme on Smart Cities.