As cities have become key actors of the energy transition, assessing the benefits of Smart City projects only in terms of energy savings appears to be limited to encompass the real effectiveness of these investments. In a dedicated chapter of the book ‘Smart and Sustainable planning for cities and regions’ gathering the proceedings of the SSPCR 2015 Conference, researchers from EURAC have studied possible ways of evaluating the economic value of the ‘co-benefits’ generated by Smart Cities projects.
According to the authors of the chapter, a co-benefit is defined as “any additional positive impact of a policy, programme or project, arising alongside the desired primary goals”. In fact, Smart Cities projects often generate added value for the local environment, whether by improving the air quality, reducing energy poverty or training professionals for the installation of innovative and eco-friendly equipment. In addition, these projects contribute to raising awareness of citizens on energy and sustainability-related issues, thus fostering the replication of good practices at local level.
Nonetheless, co-benefits of Smart Cities projects are often insufficiently taken into account when evaluating the impact of the measures implemented. To help addressing this issue, SINFONIA project partners have studied the co-benefits of 36 European Smart City projects and proposed different techniques to provide a monetary measurement of each of the previously identified co-benefits. This work, conducted in the framework of the SINFONIA project, will enable local governments to evaluate more precisely the real economic impact of the measures implemented and facilitate the replication of best practices in other districts and cities.
If you are interested in the results of the research work conducted by EURAC, you can buy the book chapter or the full book gathering the proceedings of the SSPCR 2015 Conference here. The work of SINFONIA project partners will also be presented at the SSPCR 2017 Conference, to be held in Bolzano between 22 and 24 March. For more information on the conference, you can visit the website or click here to register.