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Newsletter #1 - November 2014

Welcome to the 1st City-zen newsletter !

The UN estimates that by 2050, 70% of the world population will live in urban areas, which are the hubs of innovation and economy providing 80% of global GDP today (World Bank). The way these cities operate will significantly affect the lives of communities around the globe and it will impact our environment as well as our economies at all regional levels. It is crucial that smart solutions are put in place that support future needs in a sustainable and integrated way.

The European Commission takes much interest in the smart cities agenda. In 2011, the Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership was launched to boost the development of smart technologies in cities by bringing together research resources from energy, transport and ICT ; concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities. In 2013, 365 million euros in EU funds were earmarked for demonstration of urban technology solutions of the kind.

The City-zen project – which stands for City zero (carbon) energy – was one of projects receiving FP7 funding.  The consortium consists of 23 partners from 5 European countries, representing a rich synergy of industry, network operators, municipal representatives, housing corporations  and research institutes. Further on in this newsletter, you will read all about the burning ambition in Amsterdam and Grenoble to showcase pilot demonstration projects related to energy efficient retrofitting, innovative districts heating and cooling networks and smart grids.

In these demos, it is not only about upscaling innovative technology exchange between infrastructures but just as much about increasing the awareness of the citizens to change their energy use patterns. In this way, the project aims to raise value for citizens (by lifting resistance through involvement, dissemination and education – but also by showing the financial benefits), for industry (by finding business cases to make the infrastructure more mainstream) and for society (through increased RES and energy savings).

Cities need a new approach, a smart approach in which local government, residents and industry join forces to create livable cities. Together with the partners, we are eager to create some “new urban energy”!

Sarah Bogaert - City-zen coordinator

Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) and the Municipality of Grenoble

Why are you involved in the project ?

Annelies Van der Stoep, local coordinator (ASC) :

"Amsterdam Smart City is a unique partnership between companies, governments, knowledge institutions and the people of Amsterdam. In 5 years, ASC has grown into a platform with over 100 partners, which are involved in more than 70 innovative projects. We're working on ways to improve the city, because we believe in a city where it is pleasant to live and work. In City-zen, we can really make steps with the citizens who live or work in the area and use innovative technologies to reduce our fossile energy need."

Perrine Flouret, local coordinator (Grenoble) :

"Because of its urban morphology, drawn by rivers valleys and its close relationships with mountainous areas, Grenoble has forged a strong implementing culture of sustainable development. The Eco-district of Bonne (Concerto) was awarded in 2009 by the French government as the most advanced one (mobility, retrofitting, planning, energy, citizens). With City-zen, we want to carry on being innovative in research and development and to improve the quality of life of our inhabitants. Smart solutions and a closer link to citizens are required to meet the challenges of our city."

City-zen's website is online !

The new internet website for the City-zen project is now online : It presents all the information concerning the program and gathers all the results and the lessons learned from the project. City-zen is also on Twitter and LinkedIn, follow us to stay updated throughout the project.

Develop your smart city : City-zen game using real energy data

As part of the project, an applied game using real energy data is being developed by UK partner Clicks and Links. The game will be deployed in the cities of Grenoble and Amsterdam. The goal is to engage youth and citizens to save energy by raising awareness and changing behaviour.

TU Delft scores with world's most sustainable terraced house

With their concept Prêt-à-Loger, Home with a Skin, the TU Delft student team won first prize in the Sustainability category at the Solar Decathlon 2014 in Versailles. The Terraced house sets an example for improving the sustainability of existing buildings in Europe.

BNR broadcast on smart grids

BNR, one of the leading Dutch news radio channels, had a program on smart grids on Wednesday 19th of November. In this program, the focus was on a pilot with energy storage in batteries at home. In Amsterdam Nieuw-West, up to 10 people will have a battery at home to store their energy. This makes it possible to double the amount of solar energy a household can use themselves. With City-zen, this pilot will lead to a demonstration of up to 100 home batteries.

Assises de l'énergie - Bordeaux (France) - from 27 to 29 January 2015

Forum "Collaborative management of energy data : from urban planning to civic engagement"

The open data and services associated to energy data become increasingly popular to support the energy transition of cities. Therefore, under the Ecocité/City-zen project, GEG and its industrial partner Atos Worldgrid develop an experimental approach to intelligent and collaborative management of energy data with the cooperation of public operators in Grenoble : the Metro, municipality of Grenoble, Water of Grenoble and the heating company of Grenoble.

Biennale de l'habitat durable - Grenoble - 9 April 2015

The "Biennale de l'habitat durable" is an event that brings together all the actors who make the city of the future : funders, builders, artisans, engineers, project managers, residents, elected representatives.
On this occasion, as part of City-zen, a field trip will be organised to discover the ambitious projects of the city the 8th and 9th of April 2015.

Further information later about this field trip on our website, section "Events".

e information on or on our pages     
This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 608702.