Around three-quarters of the EU’s citizens live in or around cities and urbanisation is growing. Europe’s urban areas consume over 80% of the continent’s total energy supply. With growing pressure on resources, achieving a sustainable quality of life in cities is one of Europe’s major challenges.
To be environmentally sustainable, economically competitive and remain attractive to live in, cities need to reduce their total energy consumption, increase their use of renewable energy, adapt their physical and communication infrastructures, find solutions to inner-city mobility issues – in particular personal mobility - and improve educational and working conditions.
Specifically by 2020 cities in Europe have been called upon to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20%, increase their renewable energy use by 20% and increase energy efficiency by 20%. Cities need to become smart and sustainable.
Innovation for solutions
To achieve the development of such Smart Cities requires an accelerated deployment and widespread market uptake of low carbon technologies and solutions.
New concepts and materials must be developed for energy (generation, storage and efficiency) in sustainable construction and urban mobility. And new materials for smart living are needed that have novel properties for use in environmental technologies such as high efficiency heating and cooling systems, urban transport and water management. Technologies that easily and effectively improve the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock are a particular requirement.
The construction and transport sectors are essential actors in achieving Smart Cities. And chemistry driven systems are at the heart of improving sustainability in both. Materials created by smart chemistry innovation such as insulation, adhesives and sealants fulfil an enabling role in construction. Chemistry is the key to new energy systems and lightweight materials that can transform urban mobility and ambient technologies that can combat pollution.
What is SusChem doing?
Smart cities will need smart chemistry! And an approach that includes both private and public partners.
SusChem is part of the Smart-Cities and Communities Stakeholders Platform which provides bottom-up solution proposals to the Smart Cities EIP. In this context, 6 major chemical companies teamed together to submit a "Key to Innovation" document describing solutions that the Chemical Industry can provide for energy efficiency in buildings; the proposals outlined in the document were recognized as one of the 3 best contributions to innovation in Smart Cities during the last Smart-Cities Stakeholders Conference in May 2013.
SusChem has an established track record in driving construction innovation. Its visionary project on the Smart Energy Home was a ‘through-the-value-chain demonstration for market ready and near market housing products and technologies. It was also a member of the FP7 ‘Building Up’ Coordination and Support Action which prepared the roadmap of the Energy Efficient Building (E2B) Public Private Partnership.
In light of it activities and interest in the sector, SusChem has recently joined the Covenant of Mayors – a group linking progressive urban areas across Europe that are pioneering ‘smart city’ concepts – as an associate partner.
For more information on the challenges and innovative solutions in this priority take a look at our "Innovative Chemistry for Energy Efficiency in Smart Cities"brochure.
If you would like to get involved, or would like more information on Working Group membership and activities in this area, get in contact via the ‘Join a Working Group’ page.