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R2Cities project responds to the need for a common methodology in Europe to regenerate inefficient neighbourhoods.
European buildings currently consume 40% of generated energy and are responsible for around 36% of total CO₂ emissions. With these figures in mind, renewal of energy management systems in our cities seems increasingly urgent.
That is precisely thepurpose of R2Cities, an ambitious project that is developing neighbourhood regeneration strategies in certain cities with the idea of reproducing them at a larger scale in other places, thus coming closer to the European Union´s scheduled goal of guaranteeing minimal energy consumption by 2020.
Thus, with the help of technology, renewable energies and the Internet of Things, a humble neighbourhood in Valladolid, Spain, may become a paradigm of sustainability and innovation, while serving as an inspiration for other European municipalities to emulate its energy strategy.
This is just an example, since R2Cities project is aimed at achieving a transformation in the most ancient buildings of some other European cities in order to turn them into efficient constructions with an almost neutral energy balance.
What do a building with structural issues in the neighbourhood of Lavatrici in Genoa, Italy, a low-quality construction in the district of Cuatro de Marzo in Valladolid, Spain, and a house with insulation problems in the neighbourhood of Yakacic in Kartal, Turkey, have in common? The answer is R2Cities.
The European plan has chosen these three areas, which present all kinds of construction-related issues, to turn them into a true example of what a Smart city should be. Each one of these cities has a distinct climatology, therefore featuring a variety of challenges that will serve as a reference for other places in Europe.
In Spain, Valladolid has been the chosen city to become a pioneer in energy efficiency. A total housing amount of 300 in the Cuatro de Marzo neighbourhood will reduce their thermal consumption through insulation improvements or TIC-based management system implementation.
This project, under the leadership of Valladolid´s Fundación CARTIF in collaboration with private initiatives by ACCIONA infrastructure, Onyx Solar Energy and up to 15 other companies, also includes photovoltaic solar energy systems, thermal solar systems and biomass boilers to reduce CO₂ emissions, and more efficient lighting equipment to decrease power consumption.
Genoa´s scenario is one comprised by a set of buildings called “washing machines” by their neighbours due to their resemblance with these appliances. They suffer from structural problems, giving away their poor energy efficiency. The R2Cities project has come up with a new heating system for 162 houses, capable of saving, with the help of small units with electric valves inside, heat meters and other devices such as solar panels, up to 50% in energy requirements.
Near Istanbul, in Kartal´s district of Yakacic, there is yet another inefficient lighting system and insulating construction model. That is why the R2Cities project plans to install alternative heating and cooling sources, and technologies based on renewable resources to turn the situation around in this Turkish neighbourhood. Three outdated neighbourhoods that in a short period could not only become Smart, but also a reference in a new sustainable and energy efficient model for the future.