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CHALLENGES

Cities face an enormous challenge: They must become more resilient and healthy places to live while reaching net-zero-emissions in just a few short years. The Clean Cities ClimAccelerator is an accelerator program focused on the impact of climate change in urban areas and the commercialization of clean technology (cleantech). It is targeted at start-ups that are developing solutions that focus on transforming city systems to become climate neutral—from mobility to waste, energy to health, and the built environment. The Clean Cities ClimAccelerator is looking for start-ups with the capability to contribute to systemic change in cities, and that can work in multi-stakeholder ecosystems.

 

The Clean Cities ClimAccelerator focuses on system-level innovations that address the impact of climate change in urban environments. This accelerator program is directly linked to EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration projects for healthy, clean cities, and their work with two specific “challenge owners'' from these projects—the cities of Vienna and Madrid. We have based the challenges for our Clean Cities ClimAccelerator on the portfolios of those two cities. 

Community retrofit - District renewal systems

Community retrofit and district renewal includes retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient and better at withstanding extreme weather induced by climate change, while also improving amenities for the buildings’ occupants. Thermal-energetic upgrades and the optimization of building services are both key to improving energy efficiency.

 

  • Reimagining supply chains to enable circular construction

  • Assessing the carbon footprint and life cycle of buildings in order to achieve zero-emission buildings

  • Efficient heating/cooling systems

  • Heating/cooling systems based on electricity

 

Green spaces, climate resilience & urban adaptation systems

Investing in nature can help to address climate risks, bolster public health, and improve community vitality. This can include, but is not limited to, strategic interventions using nature-based solutions in various areas around the city and using new models for engaging citizens. 

 

  • Efficient use and management of water in urban environments

  • Nature-based solutions for the physical transformation of public spaces to improve the health and well-being of citizens

  • Urban shade

  • Income-generating activities related to natural spaces in cities (ecosystem services)

  • Planning support tools 

 

Mobility, logistics, & public space systems

Mobility, logistics, and public space systems are challenging topics for many cities. These topics give rise to important questions such as: How does public space affect the sustainability of urban mobility in contemporary cities? How does facilitating mobility contribute to livability? How can public-private partnerships trigger shifts in commuting and mobility that have a systemic benefit for all?

  • Building sustainable infrastructure—physical and digital—that supports innovative mobility solutions 

  • Promoting public transportation and discouraging private driving and parking

  • Electric mobility and charging infrastructure

  • Solutions for a “15-minute” city

 

Renewable energy systems

Renewable energy sources—e.g. geothermal energy and low-temperature waste heat—are needed in order to upgrade district heating and increase the share of distributed electricity generation. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, high awareness about environmental and energy issues, and decentralized renewable energy supplies in urban neighborhoods will all play a crucial role in activating private households and local administrations.

 

  • Photovoltaic technology

  • Development of energy communities for the deployment of decentralized renewable energy solutions

  • Tools for verifying the fulfillment of energy efficiency/carbon footprint standards for projects

Mapping available building roofs for energy generation

 

Information & data systems 

Cities have different strategies for decarbonization that typically involve a combination of different solutions, approaches, and economic sectors. However, information, data, tools, and processes are crucial to achieving their long-term goals. For example, data systems can help municipalities become more efficient, effective, and evidence-based. They could also be used to adapt or fundamentally change processes or regulations that contribute to the acceleration of decarbonization. 

 

  • Data management for decarbonization

  • Life cycle and carbon footprint analysis to support urban decarbonization processes 

  • Methodologies and tools for carbon absorption assessment 

  • Data spaces: Assessment and forecasting systems for the design of environmental policies based on digital capabilities

(Please note, the points listed under each topic are examples and not an exhaustive list.)