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sustainable cities

Self-sustaining cities: The UK’s best city to survive a zombie apocalypse

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Wind farms, electric vehicle chargers and recycling centres are just a few ways the UK has learned to be more sustainable and benefit society at the same time. But which UK city would be most successful if left to their own devices? 

Based on the environmental factors and number of self-sustaining features in the most populated UK cities, such as air quality and farming areas, created an index-based point system to uncover which city is most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Living in Cambridge is your best bet to surviving a zombie apocalypse, amassing 348 points.

Cambridge is home to the most onshore wind farms (24) and recycling centres in the UK (5.68 per 100,000 of the population) – meaning that those looking to self-sustain are more likely to be successful in producing their own energy and reusing waste!

Following in second place is Swansea, with the city collecting 341 points. Surviving an apocalypse in Swansea would be made easier as they have the largest number of open park space (45.8 parks per 100,000 of the population) along with the most farmers (1.86% of the population), resulting in lots of outdoor space and professional farming knowledge. 

Belfast is the third best place in the UK to survive a zombie apocalypse (329 points). The city has the fourth highest percentage of farming areas in the UK (75% of land) and a significant number of wind farms(19). 

Fourth and fifth place go to Bristol and Armagh city, receiving 275 and 262 points respectively. Bristol has the best air quality in the UK and Armagh places highly due to the city’s large farming areas.

To complete the top 10 cities most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, along with their best features, the results are as follows…

=6. Plymouth (254 points) – yearly solar energy production and farming areas

=6. Newry (254 points) – recycling centres and farming areas

7. Edinburgh (249 points) – parks and farming areas

8.  Dundee (230 points) – farmers in the city and farming areas

9. Gloucester (226 points) – parks and farming areas

10. Manchester (207 points) – parks and farming areas

Collecting just 82 points, found that Oxford is the worst city to live in if there was a zombie apocalypse. Due to the lack of wind farms (0), farmers (0.53% of population) and moderate air quality, they rank at the bottom of the table.

The second worst city is Preston. With 104 points, the city has just over 2 parks per 100,000 people and only 32 electric vehicle charging devices per 100,000 people.

Following in third is Derby, amassing 108 points in total – the city’s moderate air quality and low volume of recycling centres are partially responsible. 

In fourth place are Southampton and Nottingham, both joint with 110 points, and following in fifth is Glasgow with 111 points

To complete the top 10, alongside their worst rated self-sustaining features, the results are as follows…

6. Leeds (134 points) – wind farms and electric vehicle charging devices

7. Sunderland (136 points) – recycling centres and farmers

8. Leicester (140 points) – electric vehicle charging devices and recycling centres

9. Reading (141 points) – parks and wind farms

10. Liverpool (142 points) – recycling centres and farmers

You ca read about the full methodology and more information about each city’s factors here:

€30m Triangulum project touts sustainable cities success

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The €30 million Triangulum project is drawing to a close, with participating cities beginning to share the first results from the five-year programme.

Triangulum is one of 14 European Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse Projects (SCC1) funded by the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

Since inception in February 2015, Triangulum has followed the journeys of three ‘Lighthouse’ cities: Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (NL) and Stavanger (NO) as each city implemented and tested innovative smart solutions in bids to create more sustainable urban environments.

Twenty-two partners from industry, research and government have steered and developed numerous mobility, energy, ICT and business improvement projects as three ‘follower’ cities from Lipzeig (D), Prague (CZ) and Sabadell (ES), and an additional Observer city, Tianjin (CHN) have shadowed developments; replicating the most successful concepts and solutions as Triangulum evolved.

In the UK, Manchester looked at the key issues of ICT, mobility and energy. Manchester City Council – the lead organisation of Triangulum in Manchester, The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University – partnered with Siemens as the technical partner to investigate how to balance energy consumption and demand, reduce costs and carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy along the city’s Oxford Road Corridor.

In 2019 Siemens upgraded the Building Energy Management System (BEMS) at Manchester Art Gallery to create a more stable indoor climate within the 200-year old listed building.

The gallery houses priceless artefacts and artworks where the control of temperature and humidity were vital to the care and conservation of thousands of valuable pieces and the Grade III listed building itself.  The replacement BEMS utilised a demand-side response operation that activated heating, cooling and humidity on a needs-basis while predictive analytics were used to return energy sources back onstream when required.

Siemens has also been working with Manchester Met University on its distributed energy system at the university’s Birley Campus. A 400kWh lithium-ion battery, installed at the University Birley Campus which integrates with new solar panels also installed on the roof as part of the project.

Together with the solar panels and the existing Combined Heat Power (CHP), it can supply power to 900 student rooms and a large academic building.  All these technologies are controlled by a Siemens microgrid controller, which will choose the best energy source to use and whether the battery should store or release energy.

A central controller – cloud-based energy management platform – effectively functioned as a virtual power plant and managed the renewable loads in tandem with the BMS located at three sites around the city: the Central Library and Town Hall Extension for Manchester City Council, Alan Turing, Alan Gilbert and Ellen Wilkinson buildings at The University of Manchester. 

The controller integrated with the BMS systems and switched non-critical assets like heating and cooling on and off in response to demands on the grid to maximise energy efficiency; compensating for different weather conditions or changing populations in any of the buildings.  The solution optimised energy consumption, reduced CO2 and lessened the area’s dependence on the grid.  Scaled citywide the central controller could potentially save Manchester approximately 57,000t CO2 emissions per annum – that’s the same as taking 12,000 cars off the road each year!

The findings from the Manchester pilot will be used to develop smart city quarters in other cities around the world. With 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050 [UN] devising sustainable urbanisation solutions will be key to managing future growth and development.

On the conclusion of Triangulum and the completed energy-related work, Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK said:  “We are immensely proud to have participated in Manchester’s smart city vision and have learned and demonstrated, in equal measures, that with the right blend of investment, technologies, governance and citizen engagement, cities can evolve to be eco-efficient and fit-for-the-future. Triangulum has shown a blueprint for low-carbon, cost-efficient smart cities.  Manchester and Siemens have proven it is achievable, repeatable and scalable. Now to meet the carbon neutrality targets set by many cities around the world – these projects need to be rolled out at city and regionally-wide scale to have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

Martine Tommis, Manchester Triangulum Coordinator at Manchester City Council, added: “Working with Siemens as part of the Triangulum project has been a really exciting contribution to supporting our journey to meet our ambitious target of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2038.  It is essential to innovate and create a much smarter, more efficient city, which is why we will continue to support the development of new energy systems and eliminate the need to use fossil fuels. The project is a tribute to what partnerships can achieve for our city.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay