Gavin Slater and Ciaran Higgins, both working on several energy demonstrator projects for Future City Glasgow, tell us why energy matters in the future city.

In Glasgow, Energy Efficiency really does matter. The consumption of energy, be it to heat your home, cook your dinner or light your office, is almost unavoidable in today’s world. The cost of this energy and the carbon emissions that result, however, are major factors in the drive to reduce consumption and this weekend’s Future Hacks hackathon seeks to address this challenge.

By reducing energy consumption two key benefits arise: lower bills and reduced emissions. From a local perspective, increased energy costs, without reductions in consumption will simply result in more people falling into fuel poverty and the overheads of organisations and businesses within the City increasing. From a more global perspective, increased emissions could exacerbate climate change and lead to a more uncertain future for subsequent generations.

Glasgow City Council is seeking to play its part through a range of programmes:

• The Sustainable Glasgow Initiative has committed the City to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 against 2006/07 emissions level;
• Through the Strategies Towards Energy Performance in Urban Planning (STEP-UP) programme, we will create an Energy and Carbon Master Plan to set out how the 30% target will be met; and
• Through its Carbon Management Plan, the Council aims to meet the same target against its own 2006/07 baseline.

Each of these strategies were developed using an evidence base of data. The Energy Efficiency Demonstrator within the Technology Strategy Board Future Cities Programme, seeks to build on these strategies and develop a number of projects that will demonstrate how technology can help energy efficiency projects built upon increasingly accurate data, in order to show how the city could cut emissions, save money and address fuel poverty.

Specifically, the projects seek to do the following:-

• To promote and enhance energy efficiency in buildings and housing in Glasgow.
• To open up energy data produced via half hourly meters, automatic meter readers (AMR), building management systems, and buildings sensors.
• To enhance GIS mapping and online mapping tools to enable better energy planning in the City.
• To link with universities in Glasgow to identify research opportunities that will support the energy efficiency objectives of the demonstrator.
• To engage with partner organisations through the Sustainable Glasgow network to identify replicable demonstrator projects for energy efficiency and smart grid applications.
• To ensure all data produced via the demonstrator project is integrated with City Technology Platform and, where applicable, the Operations Centre.

A hackathon project could entail one, several, all or none of the above: all it needs to do is enable people, homes or businesses to save energy!