SINGAPORE--As the World Cities Summit wraps up, ZDNet walks the exhibition floor and spotlights three booths featuring a social system that runs on smart technology to help reduce carbon emission, city crisis management and green building technology.
With a population of 3.7 million, Yokohama is Japan's largest city. Its Smart Community Project, initiated two and half years ago, looks at a new social system based on smart technology and aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2025.
A consortium involved in the initiative comprises Yokohama City Government, Accenture, Toshiba, Nissan Motors, Panasonic, Meidensha, Tokyo Electric Power and Tokyo Gas.
Before last year's tsunami, earthquake and nuclear crisis, Yokohama's electric supply had one of the world's lowest outage minutes. TEPCO, which provides electricity to the city via an energy grid, generated surplus electricity which it could sell to other prefectures.
"The earthquake changed everything," said Nobuko Asakai, senior manger, Accenture Japan. "We had to revise our five-year plan and work in a resilience factor."
Accenture, which advises the consortium, said as electricity was shared round-robin in the country, functions such as dynamic energy pricing had to be quickly included in the plan.
"We had to incentivize people to use less energy," said Asakai, adding that electric vehicle use and other energy-efficient options were rolled out as part of the city's plans.
The Yokohama Smart City project won a Barcelona Smart City Award last year.
Asian Network of Major Cities 21
The Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC21) is an international network of Asian capital and major cities, undertaking joint projects on crisis management, environmental countermeasures and industrial development, and applying the outcomes for Asia's development.
Members include Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Metropolitan Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Yangon, Ulan Bator and Tomask.
Kaori Miyama, supervisor of international joint projects for Tokyo Metropolitan Government, said 12 joint projects are currently underway to resolve common issues among major cities. For instance, an urban and global environment project--led by Tokyo, with the participation of nine other member cities--was aimed at tackling global warming. This included drawing up feasible energy policies for Asian cities, such as the reduction of carbon emissions, using bio-fuels and other new forms of energy, and undertaking exchanges in technical information.
Founded in 1967, the Singapore-based architecture firm has deep concerns for the built environment and the need to create architecture of excellence. Its projects include The Singapore Flyer, Emporium Pluit in Indonesia and West Chateau in China.
DP Architects' Zero-Energy Building, launched in 2009, was the first building in Singapore and Southeast Asia to be retrofitted with green building technologies, and won a Green Good Design: Green Architecture award this year.
Converted from a three-storey school building, the building currently houses classrooms and offices, and is a testbed for green building technology. The 4,500-square meters building generates its own electricity from solar power through 1,540 square meters of panels installed on its roof and other prominent places.
Zero-Energy Building works two-fold to achieve net-zero energy consumption and generates 100 percent of its energy needs using solar power. First, passive systems were implemented to reduce building cooling loads. Second, these were supplemented by intelligent active feedback systems that require minimal dependence on natural resources.
It is expected to generate about S$84,000 a year in energy savings using green building technology, incorporating the building's natural cooling and lighting elements in its design, and tapping solar energy.
Clement Teo is a freelance IT writer based in Singapore.