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The project plans to investigate, implement and validate energy neutral ‘Smart Urban Isles’ (SUI), defined as ‘areas around a public building, which make use of the synergies between different (building) functions and of the scale advantages for energy solutions’.

The aim
Balance locally the energy system as much as possible. The Smart Urban Isle aspires to move forward with the urban energy savings. Based on a three cornerstones procedure, the aims of the SUI project will result at a whole new urban planning, which allows cities to grow in a sustainable way. Consequently, an innovative new concept for city planning will be developed, where cities are arranged and grow through small-integrated areas.
These areas may consist of several buildings; the optimal scale will be evaluated, and will depend on different (technological) solutions. On this basis Smart Urban Isle will be probed as innovative basic energy unit in the City of Limassol, to indicate its potential to become a Smart City and act as a model for the other towns and cities in Cyprus.

The Project’s areas of investigation
The project is formed and developed under three complementary and integrated blocks:

  1. Mini networks
  2. Bioclimatic and responsive building design 
  3. Management platform

The mini networks include decentralised renewable energy generation, energy storage and distribution, and consider integration of (electrical) mobility. Bioclimatic design of buildings (and urban planning) with optimal integration with the mini-network will be developed, using the public building as an example. An energy management system to control and optimize energy flows will be carried out taking into account innovative ICT measures.

The energy efficiency framework
The SUI concept is in line with actual European policies regarding energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energies. Therefore, the SUI project will attract attention from the municipalities in Cyprus to assist them to reach those goals. Furthermore, a main objective of the EPB Directive requires all new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2018. Thus, we have a political factor to pursue on this undertaking: we must achieve the European Commission objectives concerning energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. Also, the SUI project will develop several strategies to show how this concept can be implemented in urban fabrics, and indeed, the SUI project will implement those strategies obtaining real data proving the feasibility of the SUI concept in the cities in Cyprus.

The local market target
In Cyprus buildings consume more than 30% of the final energy. In order to obtain a bigger impact, the Cypriot SUI consortium is going to use as a case study an Urban Isle in the centre of Limassol, the second larger city in Cyprus with over 100.000 inhabitants. In Cyprus it is estimated to have a total of at least 100 potential SUIs. With the minimum energy refurbishment measures applied in existing buildings towards nZEB buildings more than 60% reduction is estimated to be possible both in the final energy consumption and the CO2 emissions. Based on that, by applying energy efficient measures in the holistic approach of a SUI concept, higher cost effectiveness will be achieved and greater reductions, both in final energy consumption and CO2 emissions, are expected, boosting at the same time the national economy.

The Cyprus case study
The SUI will be developed in the centre of the City of Limassol, at a central and visible location; the outdoor interventions on the site will have an everyday impact on the passing by citizens. The Cyprus team will consider an applied research and implementation approach, on an actual building case, to fully develop the SUI concept. In collaboration with the other partners a holistic model and implementation plan for a SUI in Cyprus will be developed. In this model the bioclimatic domain of the SUI will be investigated by the team, along with the possible inclusion of the management platform and the renewable energy production, with innovative and technological solutions, which will utilise the potential of the solar and other beneficial energy aspects, in order to make the smart integrated city, come true in Cyprus.
In the framework of dissemination of the project’s results, an Info-day will be organised to inform the technocrats and the public at large about the outcomes and the benefits of the project. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) conducted a study on the implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) obtaining some interesting conclusions about the engagement of the general public to sustainable carbon-free technologies.

Download the SUI Overview presentation here.

The authors would like to thank the EU and the Research Promotion Foundation for funding, in the frame of the collaborative international Consortium (SUI) financed under the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities Cofunded Call. This ERA-NET is an integral part of the 2014 Joint Activities developed by the Joint Programme Initiative Urban Europe (JPI Urban Europe).

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