How Paris Improves Building Efficiency to Become a Smart City
The emergence of smart cities holds great promise for the economy and the citizens, but it also presents certain challenges. Smart and sustainable cities are data driven and rely on IoT to connect the unconnected. But only capturing data from things is not the key challenge. The question is what to do with all that data. Aggregating the information in a way where it can be analyzed and used for improvements is essential. At the same time, political pressure mandates a green agenda and a more sustainable way of operating large cities.
On its way to a smart, sustainable city, Paris adopted an ambitious Energy Climate Plan: a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 30 percent before 2020. Together with Cisco, Paris launched a pilot experiment using Cisco Energy Management to develop a replicable energy optimization plan. By properly instrumenting various buildings and places in the city, Cisco Energy Management helps to benchmark buildings, direct investments where they need to be and measure improvements thanks to sensor networks called the Internet of Things (IoT).
A common mistake I see in many IoT projects is to start with deploying hundreds or thousands of sensors without even knowing what problems should be solved with the accumulated information. So instead, we started this project establishing a series of use cases that are based on real issues that had been brought up by occupants of those places.
For example, there is a dance training room with very specific issues related to how it was built. Temperatures are uneven and depending on the type of activity and external conditions, it can lead to uncomfortable situations for dancers. By measuring real-time temperature, presence and luminosity from both inside and outside the building, we can correlate the data to identify patterns all in the same system. Now it is possible to anticipate when conditions will become uncomfortable and raise an alert in advance, leading to proactive, corrective actions.
After the use cases were defined we installed hundred sensors that were specifically custom-made for this project, and that measure temperature, humidity, brightness, luminosity, noise level and human presence in different buildings. Cisco Energy Management delivers precise and regular data that enables the City of Paris to monitor the “real life” of the studied buildings – what’s happening inside depending on different parameters – to improve the buildings efficiency.
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