Engineering tomorrow: why urban efficiency is going to be the key

Date: 23 October 2019

Within 30 years, the Earth’s population will reach almost 10 billion. With nearly 70% of people living in the cities, our success in reaching the goals of achieving energy efficiency and keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (as set in the Paris agreement) will depend on urban strategies, policies and actions. Heating is one important topic no one should overlook when taking strategic decisions about our future.

Cities hold an important key to combating climate change. They are the drivers of economic growth and social change. According to the 2018 New Climate Economy Report (PDF), “3.9 billion people live in urban areas, and the urban population is expected to grow by another 2.5 billion people by 2050”

All across the globe, urban populations in cities will consume additional energy and produce even more CO2 emissions.

Heating: strategic decisions really work
With billions of people living in urban buildings all over the globe, and with related heating demands and costs on the rise, no one should overlook available solutions and innovative ideas when taking strategic decisions about our future.

A lot can be done. Take a look at Nantes. Mentioning the 6th biggest city in France might not sound very closely related to the urban growth at first. However, its urban area could exceed 1 million inhabitants by 2030 so adopting an appropriate strategy towards a greener, healthier tomorrow is definitely something one should think about carefully.

The steps Nantes has been able to take so far are definitely worth looking at. The construction of the new Nord Chezine heating network, a project taking place in several stages between 2017 and 2021 and including schools, administrative buildings, a nursery and 7,400 residential apartments, is estimated to make the city capable of reducing 17,000 tons of CO2 per year starting in 2020.

Moreover, the heating district network is projected to be powered by more than 80 % renewable energy and heat recovery, making the project even more commendable.

The example set by Nantes shows how efficient cities, building owners and residential and commercial buildings solutions suppliers such as Danfoss Heating can reduce CO2 emissions, lower the costs and raise the overall quality of life.

The solutions are here, ready for implementation. Next question should be, where can we join forces?

District heating in London - Danfoss articles on energy efficiency

Steps towards urban efficiency

Efficient Buildings

  • Implement building codes, minimum performance standards and progressive policies that encourage the use of best available technologies
  • Focus on cost-optimal solutions for building renovation

Efficient Energy Systems

  • Encourage local heat planning and usage of local energy
  • Integrate industry surplus heat and heat from data centres, supermarkets … – when feasible
  • Prioritise combined heat and power generation
  • Connect heating and electricity (thermal and electricity grids), use synergies between sectors … = smart energy system

Efficient Digitalisation

  • Embrace new digital opportunities
  • Take lead in the digital transformation by creating connected products and services
  • Pave the way for predictive maintenance, improve urban system reliability, uptime and service life

Source: Danfoss

For more on digitalisation and heating, please join our webinar on Monday Oct. 28. See more