With the global pace of urbanization unprecedented, cities around the world will need to become smart in how they reduce emissions, use resources efficiently and become resilient to extreme weather events.
A smart Brussels sprouts up
One city leading the way in using technology and smart initiatives to mitigate climate change, encourage efficiency and enhance resilience is Brussels.
How green is your electricity?
Brussels’ greencheck.brugel.be tool allows electricity customers to check the percentage of green electricity (mainly wind, hydraulic, solar and biomass) they receive from their energy supplier. Specifically, customers:
- Obtain their last annual electricity invoice based on an actual reading of their meter
- Enter their European Article Numbering (EAN) Code (an 18-digit number)
- Get the percentage of green supply for the EAN code
- Click on a green column to display the details of their electricity supply for the month
- If unsatisfied with the amount of green electricity supplied, switch electricity providers
Be Circular-Be Brussels
Brussels has launched the Be Circular-Be Brussels call for projects to encourage the transformation of a linear economy into a circular economy within the Brussels-Capital Region. With a budget of €1.5 million, all businesses, SMEs, micro-businesses, self-employed people, non-profit organizations, business partnerships etc. in the area can apply for funding of up to €80,000 each to initiate an approach or project which aims to move the applicant’s core business towards more sustainability and the circular economy in one of the following four themes:
- 3R (repair, reuse, recycle) with a focus on textiles, electrical and electronic appliances as well as toys and furniture
- Supply (except for agricultural products)
- Construction industry
- New economic models of the circular economy
Enhancing resilience to floods
To enhance resilience to climate change extreme weather events, Brussels has developed two flood maps that have been put online by Environment Brussels:
- The Flood Hazard Map: This map identifies areas of potential flooding (of low, medium or high amplitude and frequency) due to stream overflow, runoff, sewer backup or temporary rise of the groundwater
- The Flood Risk Map: This map represents the negative consequences of flooding in hazard zones on the issues of population, economic activity and industrial installations (where flooding could cause accidental pollution), areas of drinking water and cultural heritage. These issues are considered ‘at risk’ and are indicated on the map when they are located in the flood zone
A true smart city uses both technology and social initiatives to reduce emissions, enhance efficiency and become resilient to climate change.
*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley), and of the forthcoming titles Blue and Green Cities (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance and society.