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Vancouver taps Cisco, Pulse Energy in quest to be greenest city in world by 2020

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Vancouver, Canada has partnered with Cisco and Pulse Energy in its quest to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. Targets: buildings, datacenters and the smart grid.

In its quest to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, the Canadian city of Vancouver on Thursday announced a formal partnership with Cisco and Pulse Energy.

Speaking from the Shanghai World Expo, mayor Gregor Robertson -- who was elected on a platform of making the city a cleantech hub and combating homelessness -- said the goal was "audacious" but attainable.

"Green is not just good for the environment," he said on the phone from Shanghai. "It is good for business."

Beginning this year, the three companies will begin implementing technologies related to building energy management, home energy management, urban carbon footprint reduction and data center efficiency.

Translation: it's about using technology for urban planning.

Here's how the initiative will materialize:

  • A pilot of Cisco's Network Building Mediator and Pulse Energy's software to monitor and manage energy consumption for several city-owned buildings, including City Hall.
  • Pilot deployments of the Cisco Home Energy Controller, to help consumers monitor and reduce residential electricity consumption.
  • Use of Cisco's cloud-based Urban EcoMap as a consumer-facing portal for residents to view climate change information (transportation carbon emissions, waste, etc.) and steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • A model energy-efficient green datacenter at the University of British Columbia to research, develop and deploy smart grid applications.
  • A "living lab" showcase of local technologies.

A few interesting statistics were offered during the call, which included Pulse Energy CEO David Helliwell and Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale.

They are:

  • 700 million people will be urbanized in the next 10 years.
  • Big cities are getting bigger: 100 new cities with a population of 1 million or more are expected by 2025
  • The top 20 megacities use 75 percent of world's energy.
  • 40 percent of city energy is used in buildings.
  • Three billion people will have Internet connectivity in the next 10 years.
  • By 2013, there will be 1 trillion [Internet-connected] devices. In 2004, there were 300 million.
  • 10-year targets: reduce crime by 20 percent, energy by 50 percent, traffic congestion by 20 percent, water consumption by 80 percent.
  • What it takes: visionary leaders, public-private partnerships.

Cisco also mentioned its pilot programs in Amsterdam, Seoul and San Francisco; case studies in Kuwait, Qatar, New York City and its own Cisco campus; new development in Songdo, South Korea, Chengdu, China, Lavasa, India, and PlanIT Valley, Portugal; and revitalization projects in Toronto, San Francisco, Barcelona, Colorado, Holyoke, Chongqing (China) and now, Vancouver.

The announcement was intended to coincide with Vancouver's Green Capital Day.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure