Siemens has opened a centre for sustainable urban development in London. Known as the Crystal, it is described as the world's largest exhibition dedicated to the subject, presenting existing infrastructure solutions that make life in cities more sustainable and environmentally friendly. It’s also a centre for Siemens’ own research and development into smart city technologies and innovations.
The building will serve as a technology and innovation centre and conference venue, bringing together politicians, infrastructure experts and the public to develop views on the future of cities. According to Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher at the opening ceremony: "Cities are the engines of the world economy and also have the greatest impact on the environment. The development of our planet will stand or fall with the development of cities. Looking ahead to the urban future, the Crystal showcases a wide variety of opportunities and concrete solutions".
Siemens invested €35m in the Crystal, which consumes 50% less power and emits 65% less carbon dioxide than comparable office buildings. Renewable energy sources meet the Crystal's heating and cooling needs, a photovoltaic system generates green electricity and rainwater is harvested for use. On the BREEAM and LEED international assessments for energy-efficient buildings, the Crystal will receive top scores.
Review: Quite an investment for Siemens, but it reflects the value of potential business from smart city projects. Siemens is a significant player in the market, helped by the range of technologies it has to offer across the business, including data centres, construction, transportation, healthcare, etc.
Not sure about the comment on cities being the be-all and end-all, though. We certainly need to make cities smarter and more efficient, before they destroy the environment, but in the long term a better solution would be to spread the load, for instance with more people working from home helped by fast broadband. It’s unfortunate that in the UK broadband doesn’t seem to be considered necessary infrastructure. We’re still building railways for people to get between cities as fast as possible, which will help to destroy the environment (and the farmland that cities rely on for food). There’s a limit to urban sustainability.