Smart Cities


by Justin Kelly, Head of Business Development & Communications, Siemens plc

Industry View from

€30 million Triangulum sustainable cities project reaches successful completion

Participating cities share first results from the pioneering five-year future smart cities initiative as the project draws to a close

The €30 million award-winning Triangulum project is drawing to a close as the participating cities in the pioneering project begin to share the first results from the five-year long Future Smart Cities 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 (Netherlands) and Stavanger (Norway), 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. Simultaneously, three “follower” cities – Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic) and Sabadell (Spain), and an additional “observer” city, Tianjin (China) 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 – together with The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, partnered with Siemens 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, and the control of temperature and humidity are vital to their care and conservation, as well as that of the Grade I-listed building itself. The replacement BEMS used 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 Metropolitan University on its distributed energy system at the university’s Birley Campus, which includes a 400kWh lithium-ion battery that integrates with new solar panels installed on the roof. Together with the panels and the existing Combined Heat Power (CHP), the system can supply power to 900 student rooms and a large academic building. All these technologies are controlled by a Siemens microgrid controller, which chooses the best energy source to use and decides whether the battery should store or release energy.

A central cloud-based energy management platform effectively functions as a virtual power plant, managing 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, and the Alan Turing, Alan Gilbert and Ellen Wilkinson buildings at The University of Manchester. The controller is integrated with the BMS systems, switching non-critical assets such as heating and cooling on and off in response to demand on the grid to maximise energy efficiency, and 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 city-wide, the central controller could potentially save Manchester approximately 57,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum – 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 per cent of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, 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 proved 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 regional 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.”


Amanda Wallace, Deputy Director of Manchester Art Gallery, said: “We take climate breakdown very seriously, and safeguarding Manchester’s world-class art collection, while remaining true to our commitment to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint, is a top priority for us. Working with Siemens, and being part of the Triangulum project, has been a rewarding and productive process that we hope will take us one large step closer to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation.”


Professor James Evans, Professor of Geography & Manchester Urban Institute Smart City Lead at The University of Manchester, said: “Working with Siemens has really established the potential benefits of moving to a smarter and more sustainable urban energy paradigm in Manchester, especially the importance of sharing energy and data across different organisations.”


Professor Bamidele Adebisi, Smart City lead at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “Manchester is now one of the leading cities for Smart City technologies, using the expertise shared among partners to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. The technology has helped us to boost green energy solutions, and we can effectively balance energy demand, storage and usage, creating a more sustainable Oxford Road Corridor.”


Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, has committed to a carbon-neutral future by 2038. Manchester City Council, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Siemens won Public Building Energy Project Of The Year at the 2018 Energy Awards for the valuable work achieved under Triangulum.

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