Smart cities certifications
Intelligence is associated with the capacity to generate new information and decision making, based on what is perceived or remembered. Applied to cities, infrastructures, tourist destinations or other environments, it incorporates additional features and objectives. Thus, it has to promote sustainability, efficiency, innovation, competitiveness, continuous improvement or resilience to changes.
Within the framework of the concept of smart cities, we are working on the development of national and international standards that conceptualize and specify the requirements to be met. These standards guide managers in decision making, and make it easier to verify compliance with policies or strategies that they set. In this way, the choice and implementation of any of these standards is a decision associated with the strategy of each organization, and the formal verification of its compliance a tool for its success and continuous improvement.
New contributions to the sustainability of cementitious materials
Some new products have required a redefinition of the technological scope for the cement industry to guarantee the special properties of the performances. HeidelbergCement Hispania offers these cement materials to the market in the form of premixes or binders.
At the city level, these innovations can be applied in buildings or in public or private infrastructures, with the aim of reducing air pollution, contributing to saving water or naturalizing cities and optimizing the consumption of natural resources to reduce the demand of energy of the buildings and to collaborate in the production of more sustainable energies.
HydromediaTM, cutting edge permeable concrete
Among the most visible consequences of climate change is the variation in the planet's temperature and rainfall, which leads to a significant loss of water resources.
Water is a fundamental and necessary element of life. For that reason, its conservation and efficient management are one of the fundamental pillars of LafargeHolcim’s activity, a commitment that goes beyond efficient use in processes to include the development of products capable of managing this resource.
It is under this premise that Hydromedia was born, a rainwater management system that enables the ultra-rapid evacuation of water directly into the soil, ensuring its reintegration to the natural cycle of water or its reuse. This sustainable solution guarantees the reduction of the pollutant particles present in the air and that penetrate the earth's lithosphere through rainfall, which translates into greater purity of the water reincorporated into underground springs.
Hydromedia thus absorbs and stores less heat from solar radiation compared to other materials, such as conventional asphalt, thereby reducing the heat island effect. This concrete has two product versions: pedestrian transit, designed for pedestrian application, and light vehicle transit, for use in spaces destined for road traffic. In both cases, the product acts as a natural recharge system for aquifers and reduces the risks of landslides and flash floods.
The pre-fabrication in concrete and its relation to the development of smart cities
There is no doubt that the smart cities represent a new challenge, for governments in all countries, despite the fact that the technology, increasingly more, should add new communication possibilities, reduce the distances and increase the productivity, the big question will be to supply the necessary energy. In this context, from the standpoint of engineering and architecture, there will be more and more the need of a judicious analysis of materials, systems and technologies to be adopted in the projects, reinforcing the fact that the projects should necessarily, be in consonance to the performance and, therefore, should be developed in an integrated way, considering all the requirements and disciplines.
The industrialization is of fundamental importance, as it is an intelligent way to build, as the rationalization occurs from the project and not only along the other phases of the construction. Another important aspect to be taken into consideration refers to the constructions as independent units of energy storage. Extrapolating the concept, from renewable energy sources, the constructions would begin to work as batteries.
The purpose of the present article is to point out, on the foreground, based on international documents, what would be the needs for the cities, as it would not be coherent to approach such aspects not understanding in a far reaching way what the cities really need. Besides the smart cities concept, the resilience is another aspect in relation to different nature events which requires attention. We do not understand that one single material can by itself solve all the questions: sustainability, performance, esthetics, functionality, among others. However, we demonstrate that the concrete, in its more rational way of utilization, the pre-fabrication, has a great potential to meet the proposed demands. Despite this question, we mention important aspect referring to persons, as we understand that so many studies would be useless if, effectively, the population’s basic needs would not be met and that the starting point should aim at the increment of the life quality of those persons who live in a city. Without an adequate infrastructure it is not possible to improve.
To conclude the article, with actual cases, we introduce three applications related to the basic needs that result in a better life quality to the inhabitants, in recent achievements in Brazil, a developing country where, together with the great challenges imposed by the 4th Industrial Revolution, in many areas it is still implementing its infrastructure.
Self-healing concrete is a smart material with the capability to seal recently formed cracks, at a micrometric scale, thus mitigating the subsequent loss of mechanical properties and tightness. Different strategies are nowadays under development ranging from the enhancement of the inherent sealing capacity of cementitious materials to the addition of different systems based on adhesive or bacteria. In general, these systems must be protected from the aggressive cementitious matrix to maintain their efficacy. Experimental results show that self-healing does not give rise to a complete recovery of mechanical properties.
Nevertheless, the characterization through tightness tests combined with visualization techniques and compositional analysis, confirm the efficient sealing of cracks of controlled width in the order of 500 μm or even wider. An epoxy-amine adhesive is considered as the sealing agent in the case of the self-healing ultra-high performance reinforced concrete developed in Spain in collaboration between the Institute of Construction Science ‘Eduardo Torroja’ (CSIC) and Tecnalia. The two components of the adhesive are incorporated into the material in an innovative way: epoxy is added inside silica microcapsules and amine as amine-functionalized silica nanoparticles. The development has included a thorough study of the interaction between the self-healing system and the cementitious matrix and the evaluation of the self-healing efficiency for crack widths up to 300 μm, both in standard laboratory conditions and in aggressive
Self-healing concrete is especially valuable in infrastructures with limited access for maintenance and repair operations or in the case of highly demanding working or environmental conditions. In these conditions, the higher durability under aggressive agents and the subsequent increase of service life obtained compensate for the increase of economical and technological costs associated with the addition of self-healing capability in concrete. Although further research is necessary in the field of self-healing concrete, this material will be with no doubt part of constructions in future smart cities.
Smart urban planning: controlled pollution
Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to cities. There are still high levels of toxicity in the air we breathe, and the price we pay is reflected in the annual toll it takes on our health and on the healthcare budget. Smart urban planning will see a revolution in changing atmospheric conditions and the environment. Along these lines, photocatalysis helps to protect the environment and improve general well-being.
There is now a broad consensus among all the sectors involved that the photocatalysis industry will experience significant growth over the coming years. Photocatalysis, based on the use of semiconductor materials, has numerous applications in fields such as improving air and water quality. It can reduce maintenance and building costs due to its self-cleaning properties, and can improve health and general well-being thanks to its biocidal and organoleptic effects, as well as its uses in the field of energy.
However, this promising technology is not well known among private and public infrastructure managers, or by the general public. In the field of environmental pollution, a stronger legislative framework, with greater regulation, and that removes the market for fraudulent products, as well as better knowledge of the technology among the technicians prescribing it, would improve the way photocatalysis is used.
Smart and sustainable cities to face the urban challenges of the 21st century
One overall challenge in the development of the cities of tomorrow is to respond to environmental issues related to climate change, demographic growth and economic growth. This is best done through the development of so called smart cities.
A smart city is based on the use of Information and Communication Technologies, Big Data and IoT to develop better and more efficient management of the city and associated public and private services.
Frontier technologies for smart cities
The definition of a smart city changes from city to city and country to country since the level of development, willingness, resources, and aspirations of the city residents changes. Hence in the present article, a brief analysis on how knowledge and technology can satisfy some of the most demanding requirements by a smart city is presented.
Contribution of industrialized construction and design to green city concept
With this article, we want to show how the industrialized construction connects directly with the green and sustainable city concept. A green city is a city committed to reducing the ecological footprint, that is, a city that applies habits, measures and ways of building, occupy the landscape and produce in a way that reduces the impact of these human actions on the environment.
An objective that not only concerns the Public Administration, orienting our cities towards this goal, but also to private entities with new proposals. "Fresh air" designing projects of mixed use, resulting in other types of urban, economic, green, ecological and social centers; Benefiting all its inhabitants.
Medellin chooses concrete as a sustainable material
Medellin is an example of a reinvented and progress focused city towards sustainability. The policies for the development of the "eternal spring" city consider the three fundamental pillars of sustainability: environment, economic and social. The city government and the engineers and architects who are participating in the growth of the city have chosen concrete as material that goes beyond the benefits established in the projects, contributing a high added value to the specifications of the urban development projects of the city. This article presents examples that confirm this, as Parque Biblioteca Publica San Javier, Colegio San Antonio de Prado, Metrocable Nuevo Occidente (Linea J del Metro and Parque Explora).
Case study: building with a thermally active concrete structure by nighttime evaporative cooling in Madrid, headquarters of IDOM-ACXT
IDOM-ACXT's new headquarters in Madrid has been operating since January 2011. It is a 16,000 m2 office block designed entirely by IDOM-ACXT itself, under the criteria of functionality, simplicity and quality. IDOM-ACXT designed the engineering and execution of the Thermally Active Building System (TABS); the first time TABS have been adapted to the Spanish climate.
These kinds of systems have two main characteristics: 1) the building's energy demand and production are separated in time due to the structure's energy storage capability and 2) the temperature of the heat transferring fluids are much closer to ambient temperature (low energy) than those in other heating and cooling systems. These two aspects, combined with the use of renewables energies - such as nighttime evaporative cooling bring within reach near zero energy consumption levels. From the summer of 2011, a comprehensive tracking and monitoring process has been carried out both on system energy operations and their impact on interior comfort. The results of that process are laid out in this presentation.
Innovations and advances in the field of urban pavements for smart cities
Pavements usually represent more than half of the public space in cities, placing their preservation and maintenance as key requirements for a proper management. Due to the role of pavements on the quality of life of citizens, improvements in this field entail a great source of opportunities for the transformation of cities. The use of concrete with enhanced properties in the paving of cities can add new functionalities to the traditional pavements and may have a lot of interesting applications within the framework of smart cities.
This work presents a global view on the management of urban pavements, showing some of the latest trends for their restoration through the use of concrete. This document has been structured in three blocks. The first one presents the use of pavement condition indexes as a maintenance strategy and the whitetopping reinforcements as an optimum constructive solution for the strengthening and rehabilitation of pavements. The second block describes the contribution of rigid pavements in the reduction of the heat island effect in cities and how to face the design to optimize the absorption, storage and irradiation of heat.
Finally, the last block presents some of the latest innovations in the field of concrete for smart city pavements. These significant improvements in the performance and maintenance strategies of pavements could place the companies that provide these technologies in the leading role currently hold by construction companies, thus leading to a paradigm shift in the sector.