Urbanization can be good for the environment: Schneider Electric

Urbanization can be good for the environment: Schneider Electric
Asia is urbanizing rapidly, and this can bring negative consequences to the environment. Against this backdrop, governments are looking for ways to ensure cities’ environmental sustainability. In a recent article submitted to a&s Asia, Tommy Leong, Zone President for East Asia and Japan at Schneider Electric, notes that the private sector can play a significant role in this by helping city leaders gather key data, use that information effectively and develop a clear, long-term strategy.
 
Citing New Urban Agenda (Habitat III), Leong mentions that Asia is urbanizing at a more rapid rate than any other region in the world – by 2050, some 64 percent of Asia will become urban. “Environmental sustainability is one of the core principles addressed, in order to build urban resilience, as well as mitigate and adapt to climate change,” he said. “This is one of the most crucial concerns in Asia, being one of the world’s most climate vulnerable regions and a growing emitter of greenhouse gases in its own right, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total.”
 
With this, governments are thinking about how the urbanization megatrend can be leveraged to further sustainable development. And according to Leong, the private sector can play a role in this area. “This is where private sectors can contribute their industry expertise – by working with municipalities and partners to ensure that city leaders have all of these things in place. This might involve tracking, managing, and forecasting sustainability metrics such as carbon, water and waste; optimizing the performance of building infrastructure; and developing long-term sustainability plans to address priorities, needs, and issues,” he said.
 
According to him, Asia cities have been using smart technologies to achieve sustainability, and their efforts can be seen in three key areas – buildings, water and energy. In terms of buildings, smarter building management systems enable users to gain further insights into building operations and reduce consumption. “For instance, the Prime Minister’s Office in Malaysia achieved 40 percent of energy savings and is certified the platinum status of Malaysia’s green building standard, the Green Building Index (GBI), after adopting our building automation and energy monitoring system. This retrofitting project simultaneously helps Malaysia meet their Copenhagen promise to reduce 40 percent carbon emissions by 2020,” Leong said.
 
Water management, meanwhile, has also become smarter thanks to solutions such as improving water management systems and networks, preventing and reducing leaks, and optimizing processing. “When implemented in East Water’s water pipe network – Thailand’s most advanced, efficient and complete water pipeline at approximately 400km long – such solutions reduced water loss in the pipeline from 20 percent to 3 percent, and reduced energy consumption by 5 percent,” Leong said.
 
As for energy, more and more countries are turning to renewable energy in place of fossil fuel. “One such example is the San Lorenzo Wind Farm, which is part of an effort to give greater emphasis to the use of more sustainable energy sources in the Philippines. It adopted an end-to-end solution that protects the wind farm from many system faults and ensures reliable production all-year round, especially as it is projected to generate over 120 GWh of electricity annually and be capable of sustaining the energy demands of 48,000 households,” Leong said.
 
He added that companies are leveraging the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart grids to build more efficient energy infrastructure in cities. “When electrical systems of buildings are connected to smart grids, the grids detect power usage in different parts of the city and divert power to places where it is needed most,” he said.


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