Becoming smarter faster - self-financing smart cities

 

A city doesn’t need to have a huge budget to become ‘smarter’. Gary Thompson, UK sales director for Siemens Industries and Markets, Siemens Financial Services (UK), examines examples of smart city initiatives that can pay for themselves.

There are a number of obstacles to implementing smart technologies in a city environment. One of the biggest is funding. More specifically, the challenge for cities is to match the right financing tool with the right smart city initiative.

”Local

While the implementation of some technologies requires a certain amount of risk, others have very clear, calculable benefits.

For these initiatives, smart financing can make investments affordable because the return on investment (ROI) generated can be used to partially or wholly fund their deployment.

With limited public funds, accessing private sector finance for technology projects is becoming commonplace and local authorities are, more than ever, seeking creative solutions to bridge the funding gap between current budgets and tomorrow’s smart potential.

As budgets are being constantly squeezed, an increasing number of cities are now approaching smart transformation though a series of smaller, low-risk smart projects, which could be funded through some form of private sector asset finance arrangement.

Fixed visual surveillance, advanced public transit, and smart outdoor lighting are the three largest use cases, collectively accounting for nearly one quarter of global smart cities spending in 2018.

Here are a few of the smart initiatives that produce clear ROI and can be funded through smart finance from a private financier:

Smart Buses

Improving air quality is a high priority for many councils across the UK. Road traffic is responsible for around 40% of emissions of nitrogen oxides in the EU and around four fifths of nitrogen oxides which come from traffic emanate from diesel-powered vehicles. Upgrading bus fleets has the potential to greatly impact a city’s air quality.

Electric vehicles, for example, produce no pollutants at street level and up to 40% less CO2 emissions as a whole, compared to similar-sized petrol or diesel vehicles.

In addition, electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles not only help generate substantial fuel savings, but also enable lower operating costs, both of which can be factored into paying for the deployment of the technology.

This summer, the largest double-decker electric bus fleet in Europe is due to be deployed by Transport for London - 68 new electric double-deckers will join the city’s bus fleet, increasing the number of electric buses by more than tenfold.

Smart Lighting

LEDs are brighter than conventional light sources and so provide more safety and security in public spaces. They also have longer lifetimes and require less maintenance.

North Yorkshire County Council anticipates it will reduce the running costs of its lights by 40%, following installation of 5-7000 of the County Council’s lamps during 2017 and 2018.

”Local

As well as being more environmentally-friendly than standard lights, and therefore helping to reduce carbon emissions, the new, more efficient LED equipment is anticipated to an annual saving of about £1.285m.

Smart Building Controls

Smart controls give buildings a 'central nervous system' that balances and reconciles competing interests such as energy minimisation, occupant comfort and grid stability.

Today, things like fire protection, climate control, ventilation lighting and video surveillance are usually still controlled separately. Modern, sophisticated management stations, on the other hand, allow all building systems to be integrated into a single platform.

Use of smart control systems has the potential to reduce energy use, support carbon reductions and reduce running costs.

John Keats Primary School in London has implemented smart building controls that handle water and air heating, as well as internal and external lighting.

Room sensors and passive-infrared sensors detect occupancy in rooms and corridors and adapt the conditions accordingly.

With automated building controls and features like daylight harvesting, the system can reduce lighting and heating levels in areas where they are not needed, reducing energy costs by up to 30% compared to manually controlled systems.

Pupils at the school will also benefit from an enhanced learning environment, with the control systems monitoring conditions to provide optimum lighting, temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, all of which have been shown to improve concentration and alertness.

Smart Workforce Enablement

A wide range of public sector professionals are already mobile, such as city surveyors, parks maintenance, inspectors, engineers, outreach health and social services. As a result of mobile working devices and new workflow management software, these professionals can greatly improve their efficiency.

ROI is evidenced by mobile workflow management (often also incorporating smart routing and scheduling), with typical efficiency savings of more than 10% being reported..

For example, Ashford Borough Council in Kent made significant efficiency gains by deploying a mobile working solution for its housing officers.

The council’s 415 staff provide services to 4,500 homes in Ashford and a large network of surrounding villages. A mobile solution instantly provides housing officers with up to date information such as tenancy and rent data.

Delivering all information in real-time, the digital solution also includes search facilities, customisable watch lists, a calendar and reminder alerts to ensure deadlines are met and engagements are kept on time.

Financing Smart Cities

These are just a few examples of smart city initiatives that deliver clear ROI and can therefore self-finance.

Tailored asset financing packages make it easy for financial managers to understand total lifetime costs and therefore calculate a dependable ROI – a significant advantage for transparent financial planning and managing the good opinion of city stakeholders.

UK councils are realising that in order to benefit from smart city technologies they need to implement small scale initiatives rather than wholesale change. Nevertheless, even small initiatives require investment.

There are a number of funding sources and techniques available and the challenge is to pair the right financing model with the right technology. 

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Waste Projects Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£29,738 - £36,036 depending on skills
Do you have skills and experience relevant to local authorities, waste management and/or managing projects? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Environmental Health Officer (Environmental Protection)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £35,934
This role is in the Pollution and Noise Control team, leading the Majors and Project Support team... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project/Programme Manager (Construction) - 4 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
This is an exciting and challenging time and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction related projects, to achieve... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Community Environmental Support Officer x 5 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will work as part of a team tackling personal, nuisance and environmental anti-social behaviour to improve the quality of life for... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Health Officers within Environmental Protection, Health and Safety and Food Safety

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £32,878
We expect candidates to have expertise or qualifications in one or more of the relevant areas of Air Quality, Acoustics and/or Contaminated Land. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Director

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council
£92,826 - £111,231
This is an ideal opportunity for an expert waste management professional to make a real impact and to lead the service to outstanding. Fulham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits*

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity for a highly organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officer or a newly qualified graduate working towards... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Sector Reform

West Midlands Combined Authority
£110,000
The role requires someone with a talent for innovation and a passion for designing and implementing public services. West Midlands Region
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Vehicle Technician x3

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
All Candidates must hold a clean category C driving licence (CPC not required). Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Primary locations will include Clacton and Harlow only. Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part tim England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
£148,583
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recuriter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Highways Development Specialist

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
Seeking a highly capable strategic leader to join the team to develop our strategic pipeline of works and financial model. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£214 per week
Are you looking to gain vital work experience as an Apprentice? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Planner/Planner

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £32,878
The ideal candidate will already have... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
The successful candidate will... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Dacorum Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Worcestershire County Council
Competitive Salary
We’ll look to you to take responsibility for the high-calibre delivery of... Worcestershire
Recuriter: Worcestershire County Council

Street Cleansing Operative Driver (Large Goods Vehicles)

Redbridge London Borough Council
£22,377 to £23,607
We are looking to recruit staff for both our day service and evening service. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council