People are at the Heart of Sustainable Cities

11 December, 2013 | By More

By Dr. Dora Lopez, Ph.D.; December 11, 2013

Do you know where many people is now turning to look for water, energy and produce? Their cities. We are rapidly running out of natural resources such as, farming land and the large populations – concentrated in cities – demand for these resources is on the rise.

Technology and Innovation

Not even the sky is the limit when it comes to energy innovation. The technology menu now can offer cities from aerial wind mills to artificial leaves to produce electricity. While many technologies can offer a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and lower carbon footprint, most of them struggle to offer a cheaper short-term alternative to conventional energy. But in reality, the implementation of these technologies will pay off when the benefits of reducing pollution are recognized and quantified in the mid and long terms.  

Energy and Water Efficiency

Energy and water efficiency technologies are here today. A very practical example is currently underway in the US: a goal of 20 million LED light bulbs installed by Earth Day 2014. It is estimated that this goal will prevent carbon emissions equivalent to that of 150,000 cars.  Any city in the world can set and incentive of this kind to become more energy efficient and smarter in a very short period of time. Water efficiency on the other hand, can range from smart faucets to washing machines that can wash more cloth with less water and energy.

Building materials and designs

This year, German technology gave the world, the first of its kind, bio-intelligent quotient building. The design combines a living space with the cultivation of algae that adjust to the seasons … in Hamburg! A German city known for gray days. Imagine the possibilities.

Another great advancement is the smarter use of materials. Have you noticed new materials have lost their cool? Everyone appears to be thinking on how to reuse and recycle almost anything. Twenty years ago most people did not recycle, now this activity ranges from daily shores as recycling glass, paper, plastic, and cardboard, to imposing art. Cities are great hubs for human creativity, one of the most impressive pieces I have ever seen was an aquarium mural made just with reused plastic caps.

Entrepreneurship and Social innovation

The “Latinoamerica Renovable” initiative started with an idea of a single person who thought about sharing renewable energy information online. In 2014, more than 20 renewable energy professionals have pledged to enrich the initiative. Thousands of readers in more than 38 countries. We are very humbled to be pioneering a social enterprise while creating market opportunities.

A smart city not only will have a combination of technology and innovation, energy and water efficiency, or have the best building practices but also will put people at heart. Today, a failed economic model has left many ignored and unable to reach even basic needs. Sustainable cities will become an example where human efficiency will be redefined from exploitation to putting into service the talent of all of its citizens while providing a level of life quality the world has never dreamed of.

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Category: Ecodiseño y Construcción Verde, Renovables, Eficiencia Energética y Medio Ambiente

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