It’s an urban world we live in. It’s also a world in which cities will continue growing at a rapid rate. That’s why no decision will be as impactful for climate change and sustainability as how to manage energy use in cities, buildings, and even individual behavior.
The numbers speak for themselves, and show Asia’s potential to drive sustainability at the city-level:
• Cities create 70% of global CO2 emissions, despite only covering 2% of the earth’s surface.
• Of the world’s 33 megacities (10+ million residents), 17 are located in Asia.
• By 2030, there number of megacities will swell to 43. From this, 81% (35 cities) will be in Asia.
With these issues in mind, Adenergy CEO Arnaud Dauvillier joined the Asia Clean Energy Forum, an annual, APUEA-organized event bringing together energy experts and leaders from India to China, ASEAN and Japan.
This year’s panel discussion was entitled “Vision 20/20: Cross-Sectoral Innovations for a Sustainable Future.” Representing Adenergy, Arnaud Dauvillier shared his insights from past and current projects in energy efficiency, renewables and smart-city technology. The wide-ranging discussion explored challenges of sustainable urbanization, public-private sector collaboration and opportunities that have emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among his key messages, Arnaud emphasized the following points:
- Urban energy solutions must be multi-sector, must draw on multiple innovations. Cities are fundamentally diverse – not just in terms of people, but also in terms of buildings and the industries they serve. Therefore, city-wide energy efficiency must be about integration; it cannot be achieved with a one-size-fits-all solution, or by focusing on one sector alone.
- Reducing emissions isn’t just the government’s responsibility. Individual businesses and property managers have a vital role to play. Property owners, for example, must look beyond simple occupancy rate. They should give equal attention to utility operations and energy consumption. Done right, this wider focus becomes a value generator as O&M bills go down and the property becomes more attractive to tenants.
- You don’t have to do it alone. Every building and business has an obligation to optimize energy and utility use, but if you want to meet your KPIs, you need a deep understanding of local incentives and regulations, plus familiarity with the latest technologies and project experience. That is why we are seeing strong interest in energy-specialist companies that can work as a strategic partner to businesses.
- AI is bringing a new level of precision to the management of indoor environments and energy consumption. AC, lighting and other systems can be autonomously managed room-by-room, according to real-time occupancy, efficiency targets and human comfort levels. We can replicate this in buildings across blocks, districts and entire cities to create a network of energy-optimized smart buildings and cities.
- COVID-19 has changed priorities for on-site teams. Many businesses still want the culture and synergies that come from having their people together in one physical space. But how will they attract talent when so many people have gotten used to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer is that building owners will have to create better environments for people – workplaces that are optimized for energy-efficiency, sustainability and health.
- Virtual twin is enabling a new level of flexibility in the built environment. We’re seeing a rise in flexible use of buildings – transformable spaces where any area could quickly shift from co-working space to pop up gym, to café, etc. Virtual twin technology means you can model and test all the different uses of a space with a full view of energy and utilities. The virtual twin lets you see how different configurations will impact human movement and the look of the space, but also energy and utility use, ensuring that the space stays at optimal efficiency across different uses.