Smart Cities

Building eco-friendly cities: A panacea for climate change adaptation

eco-friendly cities - cleanbuild

Climate change has necessitated a gradual shift from the use of fossil fuels to cleaner and renewable energy sources.

As people seek ways to adapt to the effects of climate change, it becomes even more important to ensure that cities are not only eco-friendly but also sustainable. This is because most cities consume a greater part of the energy that the world produces as a result of the increasing population.

As the human population increases in number and size, so does energy consumption; hence, the need to transform urban areas into eco-friendly cities that are self-sufficient in terms of energy and sustainable living.

Considering the effects of climate change on the environment, building resilient cities is a step in the right direction because not many cities in the world were originally developed with sustainability in mind;  To be sure, this isn’t an easy feat because sustainability goes beyond achieving set climate targets.

Having in mind that cities differ in terms of their needs, opportunities, and issues, it is important to note that there is no single environmental solution that can be applied to all cities across the world. But there is one factor that is common to cities irrespective of their issues and that factor is their source of energy and how they use it.

Generating electricity using sustainable resources

No doubt, when it comes to producing clean energy, many cities can hold their own. However, as more energy is consumed, there is a possibility that it would become less sustainable for them.

Turning to other sources of clean energy like solar (photovoltaic, solar thermal), wind, biogas, geothermal, biomass, low-impact hydroelectricity, etc., does not only make them environmentally friendly cities but ensures the energy generated and used in running them is inexhaustible.

Strict building codes that favor green technology

Activities that take place in buildings are, more often than not, energy-consuming and result in huge carbon emissions which affect cities.

This can be tackled by creating eco-friendly cities with efficient buildings and using energy-efficient lighting and heating systems. This is more cost-effective and productive.

For example, some places in Singapore have taken significant steps in promoting eco-consciousness like painting roofs white and planting trees can reduce city temperatures while fitting smart street lights can reduce emissions thereby reducing city energy consumption significantly.

Investment in greener public transportation

Vehicles are a major contributor to carbon emissions and this is made worse when and where there is a traffic jam due to the concentration of the gas. While there are moves to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and adopt electric vehicles (EVs), there are other solutions to reducing emissions.

Some eco-friendly cities encourage commuting by cycling, car-sharing clubs where people join the club and use a car only when they need it, high-quality bus and underground rail systems, as well as areas with low emissions where only electric vehicles are allowed.

Low consumption of carbon-intensive products

Carbon footprints are everywhere including what we eat and the products and services we purchase. Meat and other products from animals contribute to over half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Eco-friendly cities can remain green by encouraging the purchase of locally sourced products with lower emissions.