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Intelligent traffic solutions, green buildings, water management, and smart grid infrastructure are just a few of the technologies helping to steer today’s urbanization toward sustainability.
The challenges presented by sustainable urban development are immense. In 2010, 82 percent of Americans lived in cities; by 2050 it will be 90 percent. Cities are responsible for around two thirds of the energy used, 60 percent of all water consumed and 70 percent of all greenhouse gases produced worldwide. Sustainable cities are looking at ways to improve their infrastructures to become more environmentally friendly, increase the quality of life for their residents, and cut costs at the same time.
With the world’s most comprehensive environmental portfolio, Siemens is a perfect partner in sustainable city development. Our longstanding expertise has given rise to innovative technology for sustainable solutions in energy efficient buildings, water treatment facilities, transportation infrastructure, public safety systems and healthcare imaging and diagnostics.
For a real-world look at how our solutions can be implemented today, please download "Smarter Neighborhoods, Smarter City". This report contains detailed recommendations on how to help America's largest urban area - the City of New York - plan for more sustainable growth. You can also view the Clean Energy Solution survey results conducted in cooperation with The U.S. Conference of Mayors and sponsored by Siemens in order to understand how to address today’s urbanization challenges. Just how sustainable North American Cities are today, you can see in the “US and Canada Green City Index”.
In an effort to recognize communities that are leading the way in sustainable development, Siemens has partnered with the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) to recognize communities that are successfully taking on the challenges of 21st century sustainable development. For this, the company has created the Siemens Sustainable Community Awards.
Our mission has led us to be recognized as the Supersector leader in one of 19 Dow Jones Sustainability Index categories (Industrial Goods and Services). And while every one of our employees is proud of this distinction, they also realize that much work still lies ahead. Moving forward, Siemens remains steadfast in its commitment to our partners and the complex sustainability challenges we need to solve together. With new technologies and a renewed sense of optimism, we’re confident we can.
As an integrated technology company, Siemens has always maintained that sustainable goals and business goals are one and the same. Investing in cleaner and more energy-efficient solutions can be a benefit to bottom lines rather than a burden, increasing profitability and driving growth. If that’s not reason enough, key decision makers face both mounting pressure to comply with new regulations and a customer base that demands environmental accountability. Fortunately, some business leaders have been quick to implement sustainable practices across their value chain. But many others simply don’t know where to begin. For them, it isn’t the will to become sustainable, it’s the way.
As companies navigate today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s important to consider that energy use alone can have a profound effect on the cost of doing business. Reining in operational costs can not only improve bottom lines, but also produce less waste, reduce toxic emissions and increase output.
Siemens has a long-standing commitment to helping clients successfully implement sustainable technology solutions across their organizations. From low-loss electrical grids to eco-friendly transit systems to fully automated manufacturing processes, our offerings are making a big difference in the way companies, utilities and state and local governments reduce their footprint and achieve optimal business effectiveness.
In Tennessee, Siemens technology is helping an auto plant collect rainwater, reducing its overall consumption of water by 20%. In North Carolina, Siemens natural gas turbines contributed to a 60% reduction in a plant’s CO2 emissions, not to mention nearly $1 billion in projected savings over the operation’s lifecycle. In Hawaii, Siemens has been selected to electrify the state’s first rail transit system, which upon completion is expected to reduce traffic congestion by about 30,000 vehicles per day. Every innovation that’s put into place is done so with an eye toward achieving both economic and environmental success.
Cities continue to grow as more and more people move into urban areas and with this shift towards urbanization, cities are experiencing an increasing strain on their current infrastructure systems. Roadways, power grids, telecommunications lines and efficient healthcare all rely on a strong infrastructure to handle demand. Optimizing these infrastructural networks in order to achieve sustainable development is an immense task which requires public and private cooperation.
Technologies for a reliable and environment-friendly energy supply play a key role in the sustainable development of cities. Siemens offers components and solutions for the entire energy conversion chain. This starts with power generation in highly efficient combined gas and steam turbines, solar power plants and wind turbines. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Siemens invested more than U.S. $350 million in our state-of-the-art gas turbine manufacturing plant, which doubly contributes to a sustainable development. The facility has created 700 new jobs in a region with high unemployment, and it will help address the increased demand for reliable and clean energy in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Electrical power can be transported to sustainable cities and communities with little loss via high-voltage direct current lines which help maintain an efficient transmission of energy throughout the country. San Francisco has implemented the first high voltage direct current (HVDC) PLUS System in the world to transmit energy directly to city businesses and residences.
An intelligent and flexible grid infrastructure is essential to ensure a sustainable power supply in the U.S. An overloaded power grid can cause the kind of blackout that swept through New York City and much of the Northeast corridor in the U.S. in 2003. Blackouts like these can be prevented with a reliable, environment-friendly, and affordable energy grid system. Smart grid solutions from Siemens pave the way for efficient grids and intelligent power consumption.
In healthcare, too, a shift in thinking about the use of energy and raw materials has set in. Both ecological and economical requirements must be considered when faced with the challenge of creating sustainable infrastructure solutions. Siemens helps hospitals to pave the way for the future – with green hospitals. With its modular Green+ Hospitals concept, Siemens is firmly gearing its healthcare portfolio toward environmental care and sustainability.
The most decisive factor for protecting the environment and minimizing costs in hospitals is power consumption. Energy costs can be reduced through energy optimization, building automation, and the use of energy-saving equipment. A smooth and safe workflow with structured clinical pathways, short examination times, and the comprehensive use of IT is also key to the economic efficiency of a hospital. And with more comfort and gentle treatment for patients, Green+ Hospitals can attain greater competitive appeal and also ensure a better quality of life.
How do we get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible? How do we get people out of gridlock and on the move again?
For starters, intelligent traffic control systems contribute to helping traffic flow. They reduce fuel consumption, air pollution, and noise by allowing cars to stop less frequently. Scoot , Siemens’ adaptive control system for communities in the U.S., measures the traffic volume at intersections and regulates the traffic lights accordingly. Scoot is used in Orange County, Florida, for example. The frequent sudden rainfalls there regularly led to traffic jams when the many tourists tried to go back to their hotels from the beach. Thanks to Scoot, the city no longer needs to reset the traffic lights manually.
Public transportation systems like trams or metros become an increasingly important network for connecting people, particularly in cities where space is limited.
Siemens is the number one provider of light rail vehicles in North America. Our S70 vehicles have been developed specially for the North American market. They are used in mass transit and regional services linking the suburbs to the city, such as in Houston, San Diego or Portland. In Atlanta , Georgia, the vehicles will be operating in the city center as part of a comprehensive regional streetcar and light rail transit system. The S70 is built in the U.S. using sustainable manufacturing practices.
For intercity travel, high-speed trains are an environment-friendly alternative to cars and airlines. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has published a study, which shows that building high-speed rail networks has a significant positive economic impact. They could revitalize city centers, create new jobs, and safeguard the environment for future generations. The Siemens Velaro consumes only 0.14 gallons of fuel per seat per 100 miles and is the perfect fit for America’s future high-speed rail network.
Electromobility can help achieve sustainability in private road traffic. Electric vehicles provide a clean and sustainable solution for individual mobility when powered by electricity from renewable energy sources. Siemens offers a complete range of products for the electromobile future.
Buildings account for 40 percent of worldwide energy consumption and about 21 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
A green building requires efficient infrastructure, accurate information management, and continual real-time maintenance. When all three work together, you can reduce your facility’s greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality, and maximize efficiencies. Total Building Solutions (TBS) is what we call this at Siemens. This means the integration of all systems that are part of the building services infrastructure, such as heating, ventilation, climate control, and evacuation systems. The integration of all these systems provides greater convenience, and improves security and energy efficiency. When dealing with electrical power, Totally Integrated Power (TIP) is the answer for reliable distribution and low operating costs. Green buildings are simpler to run and function more reliably – at lower cost.
Assessing a building’s cost effectiveness means taking into account of all the costs that will be incurred during its lifecycle – not just development costs. Savings potential can be fully exploited through transparency in use and operation, ongoing upgrades, and the improvement of individual components – or through comprehensive energy modernization and accompanying energy services. This type of maximized energy efficiency takes pressure off public sector budgets while protecting the environment at the same time.
Modern lighting in offices is designed to create a positive atmosphere that helps employees concentrate and enables an effective and creative working environment. OSRAM’s innovative, coordinated lighting systems provide work-conducive lighting which is not only economical but also improves the working conditions in your building.
Building safety and security is not just about protecting assets. It also often involves ensuring personal safety. Siemens takes a holistic view of building safety and security: Protecting buildings, assets, and people. The Siemens portfolio encompasses universal safety and security solutions and services, focusing on intruder detection, video surveillance, access control, field service control centers and emergency management systems.
Siemens helps sustainable cities reduce their CO2 footprint and protect the environment. The Siemens environmental portfolio offers outstanding products and solutions that make a direct, demonstrable contribution to the environment. Our energy-efficient solutions range from public transportation and building technology to renewable energy technology like solar and wind. Siemens also produces environmental technologies designed to keep our air clean or save water. In 2011, the Siemens environmental portfolio resulted in a savings of 317 million metric tons of CO2.
Apart from carbon dioxide emissions, air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide also contaminate the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes more than one million deaths per year to urban outdoor air pollution. Siemens offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for cutting air pollutant emissions. Siemens has used flue gas purification systems for decades as an effective means of controlling emissions from coal-fired boiler plants and industrial processes.
Flue gas scrubbers are used in the U.S. to comply with the emission requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The sulfur dioxide of unpurified flue gas is largely absorbed by a scrubbing solution, and ultimately converted into gypsum that can be used for such purposes as the production of plasterboard walls, or as an additive for cement.
Siemens also makes an important contribution to increasing air purity with its newly developed electrostatic precipitators. These are used for waste gas purification at power plants, industrial companies, and garbage incineration plants, and achieve precipitation rates of nearly 100 percent.
Waste is a major environmental problem. It comes from households and businesses; from street garbage and construction and demolition waste. For sustainable cities, solving the problems of waste requires a myriad of tasks including avoidance, separation, reuse and recycling, safe, environmentally sustainable disposal, and regular documentation and analysis of the amount of waste produced.
Progressive cities – the ones built for today and tomorrow – sit on a grid where the power supply is the human kind: Ideas and innovations that make places more livable, more prosperous, and better positioned for the century ahead.
The technologies may be different from city to city. More reliable power sources. Smarter ways for moving people from home to work and back again. A skyline that works with, not against, the air and ground that it occupies. In these cities, vision is the building block, and the common factor. Infrastructure —with intelligence.
“More and more cities are realizing that sustainability requires innovation. It’s an important lever for economic growth and competitiveness,” says Alison Taylor, Chief Sustainability Officer for Siemens USA.
A technology and infrastructure partner for cities seeking to position themselves for the 22nd century, Siemens earned the distinction Supersector Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2012. “People and businesses thrive in sustainable environments,” says Taylor. “And the smartest, most innovative cities are working hard to create them.”
Four city success stories of new technology and the power of innovation
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Using High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) PLUS technology from Siemens, San Francisco’s Trans Bay Cable enhanced the city’s power-transfer capability, increasing access to cleaner, less expensive hydro, geothermal, and solar power–all transmitted through a 53-mile cable system running under the Bay.
HVDC PLUS technology reduces the energy footprint for dense urban environments—no requirements for outdoor filters.
San Francisco’s HVDC PLUS system has the capability of transmitting up to 40 percent of the city’s peak power needs, as well as providing much needed in-city reactive power.
James Alligan, Vice President–Operations, Trans Bay Cablec
When Houston, home to more than 5,000 energy companies, committed to energy efficiency in addition to its world-famous power product, it turned to partners like Siemens. To date, the city has completed remaking more than 5 million square feet of municipal properties more efficient from the inside out.
Ranking fifth in the U.S. in number of LEED-certified buildings, Houston has introduced vegetative roofing and rainwater harvesting to its skyline.
The city’s green-building push eliminated more than 30 million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent, and contributed to a 30-percent reduction from the energy baseline.
Scott Minnix, Director, General Services, City of Houston
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
The city of Charlotte turned to Siemens, the country’s top provider of light rail vehicles, to connect its urban core with outlying commuter neighborhoods. The 10-mile Lynx line has generated $1.4 billion in development and investment.
One Siemens S70 vehicle has the ability to remove in excess of 770 automobiles from the road.
Charlotte’s light rail system exceeded 20-year projections for ridership within three years. Seventy percent of riders reported they’d never been regular users of other public transit like city buses, demonstrating officials’ belief that professionals in the city’s thriving financial-services sector would embrace Lynx.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx
SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA
Already a model of efficiency with its privately contracted city services, Sandy Springs gave a further green light to progress with the installation of adaptive traffic controls on its roadways. Siemens’ traffic optimization solutions create responsive intersections that keep motorists flowing smartly and smoothly in this busy Atlanta suburb.
Smarter signals provide a return on investment through reductions in travel times, fuel usage, emissions, and accidents.
Sandy Springs is collaborating on the adaptive control technology with neighboring cities Alpharetta and Roswell.
Bill Andrews, Traffic Control Manager, City of Sandy Springs
Illustrations by Aaron McConomy