Industry Updates

How HVAC is powering Smarter European Cities

HVAC - a secret weapon in Smart Cities?

Smart cities are rapidly increasing across Europe, and the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) sector might be a secret weapon to bridging the gap between sustainability and innovation. This blog answers why.

Smart Cities

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What is a smart city?

Some background on what it is, and how it is evolving

A smart geography is one optimised with Information Technology (IT) disruptive technologies that can collect, store and learn from data. Municipalities across the world are directing cities to become smarter to increase efficiencies, sustainability, communication, and improve the quality of life for their citizens.

It is likely that if you live in a city, it is smart to some degree. Whether it is pioneering (e.g. London or Helsinki), emerging (e.g. Wroclaw or Munich) or laggard (e.g. Toulouse or Krakow) – Most cities in Europe are technologically intelligent. How to categorise a smart city largely depends on how its municipality has conceptualised, strategised or executes its smart plan.

However, an increasing number of municipalities across Europe, and the world, are now working to build ‘revolutionary’ smart regions. Take, for example, Île-de-France – one of the most populous regions in France. In 2018, Valérie Pécresse, President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France, launched a three-year plan to build Europe’s first smart region. Scenario planners imagine that smart cities are just the beginning, and in the future, we may expect to find an increasing number of smart regions, or the next likely buzz word – Smart Nations, similar to what we see in Singapore.

That is all very well and interesting. However, you are probably wondering about the role of HVAC in smart cities. Therefore, the below blog might surprise you by explaining how HVAC, and utilities as a whole, have an integral part in building smarter geographies.

How is HVAC sector is supporting smarter cities?

Smart functionality

Smart HVAC technologies power smart environments by minimising workloads, facilitating collaboration, communicating through the internet, and reducing exhaust energy emissions. Here are some functions we have used in order to innovate our products:

  • Home automation
  • Real time monitoring and control
  • Smart energy control and learning
  • Sensors
  • Maintenance functionality
  • Wi-Fi integration
  • Multi-language settings
  • Anti-frost and overheat
  • Email & push

Innovation and sustainability

Bridging the gap between sustainability and innovation

Part of many smart city plans is the commitment to increase sustainability, particularly in regards to carbon emissions. For example, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Smart Region initiative has pledged to develop and commission new technologies to help it achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

Adjacent to this, the HVAC sector has repositioned itself from being an energy exhaustive sector to one that shows promise to increase the sustainability of buildings. This is largely due to sophisticated technologies such as heat recovery and heat transfer system, plus optimising products with intelligent energy management functionality. As well as refrigerants low in Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP).

Take for example our energy-saving heat pump technologies that integrate technology to reduce exhaust energy consumption. Such as our Hydrolution units that has Smart Control functions that enables the unit to ‘learn’ household water consumption rates. Then, by using machine learning, adjusts the temperature of the water heater the following week based on the data collection.

Information Technology

Improving communications

Information Communications Technology (ICT) is an integral pillar in Smart Cities due to an ability to collect data, exchange knowledge to lead to better decision making.

Aside from integrating Smart Functions in HVAC, the industry is increasingly utilising data exchange processes such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) . Allowing different players, such as architects, engineers and construction managers to connect via digital construction interfaces. Therefore, enhancing collaborations, resources planning and risk reduction.

Related stories

How Industry 4.0 is reshaping air-conditioning.
Are buildings the gateway to a carbon-neutral world?
The technical hurdle 5G must jump to bring us smart cities (MHI Group)
Inside Singapore’s cooling system of the future (MHI Group)
Inside what could be the world’s first autonomous power plant (MHI Group)


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