As urban areas witness an influx of citizens moving from rural areas, improving energy efficiency and ensuring the implementation of sustainable practices have become imperatives in major cities around the world. The more the number of city dwellers increases, the more energy is needed for cities to function on an optimal level. There are a number of energy-efficient ways cities are responding to the effects of urbanization – below, we’re listing six of the most common ones.
Learning how properties utilize and manage energy is of crucial importance when looking for ways to improve the energy-efficiency of properties. This can be done with the help of energy audits, certifications, as well as energy use disclosure requirements.
By monitoring and measuring the properties’ performance, property owners and managers are able to collect valuable data that will give them an insight into energy management of the building, which can then help them make necessary changes when it comes to energy utilization as well as make any administrative decisions that will increase the energy-efficiency of the properties in question.
Promoting water conservation
As the number of inhabitants in urban areas continues to rise, so does the cities’ water consumption, and consequently, water waste. Therefore, cities are in need of smart solutions that will help conserve their freshwater supply, and there are several ways to do this.
One of the most effective water conservation strategies involves the promotion of cost-effective water-saving devices that homeowners can purchase and install in their homes. These can be anything from low-flow faucet aerators and shower timers to water-efficient showerheads and dual-flush converters for toilets that are easy to replace yet can help cut the monthly utility bills significantly. Cities can also introduce energy-efficiency programs as well as offer tax deductions to further incentivize their citizens to introduce more energy-efficient devices throughout their homes.
Stimulating energy-efficient projects with financial incentives
Although energy-efficient projects are better options when it comes to the environment and the conservation of resources, the high up-front expenses that come with property development make for formidable financial hurdles. In order to overcome them, cities can offer different funding options. They can range from tax incentives and credit lines to bonds, rebates and mortgage financing. By offering financial incentives, investing in energy-efficient project development will be more alluring and the up-front costs won’t be as inhibitive.
Integrating energy-efficient public lighting solutions
More people and more vehicles in the city also mean an increased need for special access to lighting, especially when it comes to roads and streets. Since these public spaces operate 24/7, optimal visibility is a must, and when it comes to energy consumption, cities call for energy-efficient, long-lifespan light sources. Minimizing the negative environmental impact and reducing light pollution is achievable by employing different energy-saving methods such as investing in energy-efficient public street lighting as well as implementing eco-friendly illumination solutions into every aspect of a public lighting system. Doing so will increase the flow of traffic and passengers in city areas and improve their safety, all the while ensuring low energy consumption, functionality, as well as minimal maintenance costs.
Implementing better building codes and standards
Smarter development of cities requires the implementation of better building codes and standards as well as improving the energy-efficiency of the existing structures. One way to do so would be to create a minimum energy-efficiency standard that both existing buildings and new establishments have to meet. By doing so, landlords and property owners will be more encouraged to make energy-efficient improvements around their properties, which leads to long-term cost reduction. These standard energy-efficient requirements involve investing in construction, operation, as well as the design of the building, all of which can provide significant financial and environmental benefits.
Offering more public transportation options
Another effective way to reduce energy consumption in urban areas would be to make improvements in the existing public transportation system and expand its use by relying on different methods. For instance, cities could offer financial incentives in the form of discounts for using public transportation services. They could also make pre-tax payroll deductions or offer employer-provided subsidies.
Another way to help dissuade citizens from relying on personal vehicles (and consequently, gasoline) and encourage the use of public transportation is to introduce a variety of transportation options, invest in transportation station area planning, as well as introduce bike-sharing services. Although some of these are more complex solutions, they can be quite effective ways of decreasing energy consumption in urban areas.
The massive influx of residents moving from rural to urban areas has made energy-efficiency a top priority in many of the cities around the world. The preservation of natural resources, as well as the protection of the environment, are seen as keys to improving the quality of life of city dwellers, and different methods are employed in order to overcome the challenges posed by urbanization. The tips listed above are some of the most common ways cities are making a positive change and helping carve out the path towards a more sustainable future.
About the author:
Chloe is a graduated journalist from Adelaide and a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator. She loves everything related to decor, aesthetic and lifestyle topics. She is also passionate about photography. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take some stunning photographs of beautiful places. Beside all this, she enjoys drinking coffee and reading a beautiful book from time to time.