Rising energy costs are prompting Polish city authorities to accelerate investment in smart and energy-saving solutions. Thanks to the change of lighting or sealing of water systems, the municipality can reduce costs by up to 70%. Investments also translate into lower costs for households and satisfaction for residents, which is increasingly important for investors looking for locations for their projects. Interestingly, smaller cities are also willing to invest in smart city solutions.
– Technology is not an end in itself, technology is to serve the well-being of residents, to make life better in every city, town, district and even village. We are seeing huge increases in energy prices, high water usage costs, and natural resources are running out. This is where technology comes in. By means of lighting management systems in the city, by increasing the use of water, we can reduce the bill up to 60-70%, which is very important at the moment with high prices – insists in an interview with Newseria Innowacje agency Małgorzata Ciechomska, director of IoT sales and business development at Orange Polska.
According to data published by Visual Capitalist, street lights are responsible for 20 percent of the total energy consumption in cities. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to invest not only in energy-saving luminaires, but also in systems that improve the use of lights. Replacing sodium and mercury lamps with modern LED lamps reduces electricity consumption by half, and the intelligent management system is another 25%. savings. Meanwhile, in Poland, according to the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, energy-consuming mercury and sodium lamps comprise about 60 percent. light sources.
– Street lights in many Polish municipalities are still several years old and in need of improvement. We are going very strongly in this direction. Almost all the lights in Bolesławiec will be replaced, and the savings resulting from these changes based on the old price amount to PLN 500,000. PLN, and according to the new price – more than PLN 2 million – Says Piotr Roman, president of Bolesławiec.
According to Northeast Group, the global investment market in LED street lights will reach $28.1 billion. in the next few years. By 2030, more than 70 percent of street lights will be based on LED diodes, and every fourth will be managed as part of smart city solutions. This trend of increasing investment in lighting is also visible in Poland. For example, Warsaw will replace all the lights on national, regional and district roads within a few months. Exchange of about 38 thousand. traditional sodium lamps for new LEDs will cost more than PLN 32 million in total, but due to lower electricity consumption, the city will save PLN 23 million per year. Another example is the district of Ścinawa in Silesia, where 12 villages will soon use the modern and intelligent Smart Light system from Orange to control street lights. This solution enables intelligent light control in such a way that the light intensity changes depending on the weather or location.
The second important area for saving is the use of water, whose resources are depleting at an alarming rate. Despite many signs that there is a threat to water security in Poland, we still lose a lot of drinking water. According to a recently published report of the Supreme Audit Office, in the past two years, in 20 regulated water and sewage companies in rural communities, there were 1.8 thousand. failure. A third of the water leaked from their nets before it found its way to the residents. Smart city solutions are to prevent such leaks. The Smart Water system from Orange monitors water flow data from water meters on a continuous basis, thanks to which you can quickly identify possible failures and their location. This not only prevents water loss, but also reduces the cost of asphalt and road maintenance. The system also catches mistakes in water users, for example in schools.
– In this way, we can reduce the inappropriate use of water, some leaks, injections, water failure from systems. It is very important wherever we deal with the natural resources used by cities, and we must remember that cities use up to 90 percent of resources, eg electricity – explains Małgorzata Ciechomska.
Investments in the area of lighting and water consumption have already been made by Bolesławiec in Lower Silesia, known as one of the smartest cities in Poland. The first investment was in the rental of city bikes. Then Przedsiębiorstwo Wodociągów i Kanalizacji allowed completely remote and unattended reading of water meter status after switching from radio system to GSM. Another investment is intelligent and energy-saving street lights. The last projects implemented so far were the installation of air pollution sensors that measure in real time the concentration of suspended dust: PM1, PM2.5 and PM10.
– We implement these activities in full, from environmental protection, through electric buses, to free public transport, which means that a large number of residents have moved from passenger cars to buses. It also includes activities in the field of improvement and organization of services, i.e. the eco schedule of waste disposal, issues related to water quality and the possibility of saving electricity, which is necessary to distribute this water. Various types of systems serve this purpose, which means that we quickly learn about each failure and can eliminate it, thanks to which we have less water loss. – list of city mayors.
– Medium and small towns and communities are more interested in smart solutions than big cities. Why? In a small town, one implementation translates into the comfort of life of residents, and the management of this city, and real savings – says the director of IoT sales and business development at Orange Polska.
As a result of such investments, maintenance costs not only of municipal infrastructure, but also household costs are reduced. According to the Curulis ranking, the costs of families living in Bolesławiec are the lowest in Lower Silesia. In this regard, the city ranks eighth in the country. According to the mayor of the city, investing in a smart city improves the quality of life of residents and their satisfaction, and this may be one of the most important criteria now also for investors.
– A large international investor, SRG Global, based in Detroit, was looking for a place to locate a factory in Slovakia, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and chose Bolesławiec. We show him large farms, which are very close to the road, and he says: Mr. President, everyone has plots, we want to invest in places where people want to live. Then it turned out that our campaign “Move to Bolesławiec”, in which we showed people well-functioning schools, sports facilities, and a water park, was useful. This list of various attractions that elevate the quality of life determined that today the company employs nearly 500 people here and is doing quite well – Says Piotr Roman.
– A wise saying the city does not persuade. It is often associated with something like, for example, biomarrot, which for many is the same as a regular carrot, but due to the bio seal it is 30 percent. more expensive. So first we have to control what is a good city, what technology makes life easier, and only then build this passion, which translates into real implementation – Says Małgorzata Ciechomska. – Orange smart city solutions already exist in about 100 cities in Poland and these growth trends are significant – he adds.