Mayors of some of the largest and most forward-thinking cities from around the world have gathered this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil to discuss their projects and visions for sustainable cities of the future at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit.
C40 put together a list of cities with the best practices in buildings, energy, lighting, ports, renewables, transport, waste, water. Here are some amazing projects in the world’s cities that are leading the way toward a more sustainable future.
Buildings: Berlin, Germany
The “Berlin Energy Saving Partnership” is an innovative program that helps building owners invest in energy-saving retrofits. It’s popular in the city because building owner don’t have to make upfront payments on the retrofits. So far 1,400 buildings in the city have benefited from the program and are saving about 26 percent on their energy bill, while cutting their energy use by about the same amount.
Energy: Toronto, Canada
A lake water air-conditioning system is reducing energy use by 90 percent compared to traditional cooling systems. Enwave Energy Corporation uses cold water from Lake Ontario to air-condition 29 million square feet of buildings in downtown Toronto.
Lighting: Chicago, Ill.
By switching many of its traffic lights to LED lighting, Chicago has reduced its energy output from traffic lights by 85 percent. The change saves the city $2.55 million and reduces 23,000 tons of CO2 annually. So far 1,000 traffic lights have moved to LED and the rest will be completed in the next three years.
Ports: Göteborg, Sweden
To compete for the business of a company that wanted to green all aspects of its shipping, Göteborg, Sweden developed a wind-powered onshore electricity port to power ships. Typically ships are powered by diesel auxiliary engines. The system cuts port-side emissions by 94-97 percent.
Renewables: Reykjavik, Iceland
Using geothermal energy for heat isn’t new to Iceland, Reykjavik has been doing it since 1930. So it’s no surprise that they have the world’s largest geothermal heating system and the city is powered completely by geothermal. Because of this, CO2 emissions have been reduced by up to 110,000,000 tons from 1944 to 2006. The system keeps 4 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year.
Transport: Bogotá, Colombia
One of the most advanced bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in the world can be found in Bogotá. The Bogotá Transmilenio system averages 1,600 passengers a day on each bus (nearly 1.5 million passengers daily). It has cut travel time by 32 percent, eliminated the need for many public service vehicles, reduced gas emissions by 40 percent, and decreased accident rates by 90 percent.
Waste: Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen’s waste management system sends only 3 percent of waste to the landfill. The city promotes waste prevention by encouraging recycling and composting. Consumers can recycle some of their waste at the stores where products were purchased. And about 40 percent of the city’s waste is incinerated, which has generated about 1 million megawatt hours of energy.
Water: Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo’s water management system is one of the world’s most advanced. Through an efficient leak detection system, the city has cut the amount of water it wastes in half. In the last 10 years the amount of wasted water dropped from 150 million cubic meters to 68 million. It’s leakage rate has dropped from 20 percent to 3.6 percent.
But these aren’t the only cities leading the way to a sustainable future, see the full list and check out all the smart projects happening all over the world.