Nottingham City Council, UK, has become the first public sector organisation to partner with Innovation Gateway to build upon its progress in reducing the carbon footprint, waste generation and water use of its buildings. It joins the likes of supermarket chain Tesco, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Heathrow Airport.
Nottingham City Council already has experience in adopting innovations in renewable energy. Thus far, it has put in solar installations, air-sourced heat pumps and fuel cells to help the city reduce its environmental impact, and has already secured 16 out of the targeted 20 percent of Nottingham’s energy requirements from renewable sources to be achieved by 2020. It will be sharing its best practices, progress and results of investing and generating renewable energy with partners from the alliance.
“The partnership is the opportunity to take what we are delivering as a city council to the next level,” Wayne Bexton, Head of Energy Projects, Nottingham City Council, told Cities Today. “With our public-sector perspective, [this] gives us a unique angle into a lot of private sector drivers around corporate social responsibility and consequently, a distinctive approach to the common problems and challenges.”
The two challenges that Bexton hopes to tackle through cooperation with the alliance are water efficiency and solutions to building management systems. The goal would be to monitor energy consumption remotely and determine possible savings. “I think that what pushes us towards the smart city angle is remote management,” added Bexton.
Gordon Thomson, Director Commercial of Infrastructure and Energy at Nottingham City Council added that an economic challenge is to ensure commercial feasibility and scalability of the projects to drive sustainability and efficiency while decreasing cost. He also highlighted the importance of being at the forefront of cooperation with providers of new technologies and testing those modernisations in a diverse urban environment.
“We are seeking out for the proactive and innovative commercial world club partners, either among existing large cooperates or through assistance in bringing up local home-grown talent,” he said. “What matters is that the results work from the technological and the financial perspective.”
Thomson noted that partnering with the private sector allows the city to create an incubator-style environment which can facilitate the exchange of information and create working commercial solutions. “One of the key things is complementing each other, being the yin and yang which, put together, create a circle that works,” he explained.
Innovation Gateway, powered by 2degrees, is a coalition of organisations working together to transform the performance of their buildings with high impact innovations. The alliance shares innovative solutions to reduce costs and environmental impacts, notably around energy, waste, water and wellbeing. Since its launch, the platform has sourced over 500 targeted innovations from around the world to address partners’ challenges.