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Cities can become more sustainable by getting ‘smart’ about key energy issues such as lighting.

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So said Philips’ senior director, energy and climate change Harry Verhaar, pointing to new technologies in LEDs which could help to significantly cut city electricity bills – half of which go on lighting non-residential buildings – as well as contribute to matters such as security and identity. Verhaar was speaking at a special conference during Mipim Asia  entitled ‘What Makes a City Smart?’, which looked at the role of industry and the technology sector in shaping our cities for the future.

Philips, Verhaar went on, is working on healthcare models and developing new solar powered LEDs to allow budgets to be spent elsewhere. ‘It’s very encouraging the number of private businesses that see it as good business sense’, he said. Emmanuel Lagarrigue, senior director, corporate strategy and development, Schneider Electric, agreed : ‘For the sake of sustainability, cities have to be smarter’, he said, which also meant staying competitive for mature economies.

The session also looked at the importance of an integrated approach covering energy efficiency and management, alternative energy sources, clean tech, recycling and waste management, and smart grid initiatives.

Buildings need to be the first port of call when it comes to trying to address energy issues, said Dr Reinhold Achatz, head of Siemens corporate research and technologies, since they consume 70 per cent of the total energy used. But transport is another key contributor, so sustainable technologies as they apply to roads have a major part to play too. Hybrid vehicles, some of which are designed to replenish energy through their braking system, could come to the aid of places like Hong Kong, not just in energy terms, but in helping to cut pollution from the city’s bus network too.


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