Joules Technologies

Smart Cities & Communities

Empowering Smart Cities and Connected Communities: Transforming Urban Living through Sustainable Technology Solutions.

About Smart Cities & Communities

A smart city is one that uses technology to efficiently engage citizens and meet their needs. In the post-pandemic era, we must prioritize measures to address inequality and digital divides, which leave many of the poor, and poor cities, behind. Data privacy and transparency must be protected. Cities become smarter when citizens and communities use technology to coproduce an environment where their digital rights are protected and their cities are made more sustainable.

“Openness needs to be at the center of creating trust in bringing solutions to the citizens by using technology,”. Smart city is a continuously evolving ecosystem, empowering individuals to live, work and move in a safer, smarter and more sustainable way.

Six key goals have guided the technical development process for the LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities program:

  1. Inspire leadership
  2. Foster achievement of global goals
  3. Ensure continuity of performance from design to development and operation
  4. Leverage the large portfolio of complementing systems in GBCI portfolio, particularly STAR
  5. Expand the market from buildings to cities and communities
  6. Focus on quality of life of residents and enhance living standards.

Joules Tech offers Solutions as described by US Green Building Council’s LEED data handbook, We understand the Prerequisites to get a LEED certification and can support the Urban development or part of it’s Eco-system development to make the cities Smarter, Safer, most connected and Sustainable.

Solutions to make Smart Cities include:

Integrative Process Integrative Project Planning and Design is a fitting first guideline for the LEED criteria, as it sets the foundation for everything moving forward with up-front design. This precept is not just about designing the building itself. It starts with planning and designing everything about the building. As defined, the intent of this guideline is to “maximize opportunities for integrated, cost-effective adoption of green design and construction strategies, emphasizing human health as a fundamental evaluative criterion for building design, construction and operational strategies.” Did you catch that? LEED dictates human health as a foundational tenet for sustainable building design. Not energy efficiency. Not cost control. Not even recycled materials. The benefit to human health should be the primary influence on all our design decisions

Energy and Atmosphere at its most elemental level, the Energy and Atmosphere guideline is intended to support the design, construction and eventual operation of a building’s energy, water, environmental quality and durability components.

Water Efficiency the next guideline discusses reducing water use both inside and outside of buildings in order to slow the consumption of water that’s already in our aquifers, watersheds and municipal supplies. There are two main parts to this guideline: the Outdoor Water Use Reduction requirement and Indoor Water Use Reduction requirement. The intent of the Outdoor Water Use Reduction requirement is to design out the need for a permanent irrigation system. This could be done by utilizing plant life for project landscaping to reduce the need for irrigation water or by installing a more efficient irrigation system that relies on captured rainwater instead of drawing from reserve sources. There’s also a lot to be done towards Indoor Water Use Reduction. You could likely guess the top culprit of inefficient indoor water use. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, toilets account for roughly 30% of an average home’s water use. In fact, “by replacing old, inefficient toilets…the average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent every year.”

Sustainable Sites while there are provisions under this category for “preventing construction activity pollution,” such as soil erosion, waterway sedimentation and airborne dust, the primary concern of the Sustainable Sites guideline is the long-term protection of the building site. This sustainable design guideline prescribes that building sites undergo an Environmental Site Assessment with an eye towards protecting “the health of vulnerable populations by ensuring that the site is assessed for environmental contamination and that any environmental contamination has been remediated.”

Location and Transportation at first glance, the Location and Transportation guideline seems to be about protecting sensitive land, like prime farmland, floodplains, watersheds and habitats for endangered wildlife or plant life, from being leveled for highways and parking lots. However, the stated intention of this criterion is “to avoid development on inappropriate sites, reduce vehicle distance traveled, enhance livability and improve human health by encouraging daily physical activity”. This motivational tenet goes well beyond just encouraging exercise and promoting short commuting times, though. It expounds on the last criterion’s push to build with human health in mind, making the point that it is important to be equitable in where we choose to build. LEED is suggesting we should not put all the new jobs in areas that are already loaded with jobs, forcing those with the fewest nearby employment opportunities to travel the furthest to gain employment. Nor should we expect those without reliable travel options to rely exclusively on spartan public transportation for their work and errand commutes

Materials and Resources guideline begins with a discussion on reducing the amount of waste material that needs to be hauled away from a building and disposed of in landfills. First and foremost, a collection mechanism for recyclable materials needs to be provided in an ongoing fashion for all building occupants. These materials include mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics and metals. Additionally, separate collection should be provided for items requiring special handling, such as batteries, mercury-containing products, fluorescent light bulbs, paints, solvents and electronic waste. Whereas this section starts with waste management considerations for building occupants of the building, it moves into waste management considerations for the construction and demolition processes of the building project itself. The intent is to “reduce construction and demolition waste disposed of in landfills and incineration facilities through waste prevention and by reusing, recovering and recycling materials.”

Environmental Quality LEED’s Indoor Environmental Quality guideline removes all questions associated with defining minimum indoor air quality. Their top concern is evaluating the outdoor air quality and designing the requisite systems to ensure it is converted into or maintained at an acceptable quality level as it is consumed by the building. One of the contributing factors to sub-par indoor air quality is the exposure of building occupants, indoor surfaces and ventilation systems to environmental smoke. That makes the easiest step to fulfilling this guideline simply prohibiting smoking inside and limiting smoking outside to designated smoking areas that are at least 25 feet from all entries, air intakes and operable windows. Designing entryway systems that are at least 10 feet long and fitted with grates, grilles or floor mats can provide catchment for dirt, dust and other outdoor particulates that might negatively impact air quality. If an especially clean environment is required in your building, you may also consider pressurized vestibules and particle filters to minimize the inflow of contaminants.

Regional Priority may sound vague, LEED wants to encourage projects that address geographically specific environmental, social equity or public health priorities. They are six regional priority credits listed by geographic region (city, state, zipcode) and you can earn additional points for up to four of the six. You can easily query for regional priority credit opportunities near you at the USGBC website.

Innovation as much as LEED has prescribed the previous guidelines and credits, they don’t want to discourage new initiatives or thinking outside of the box. Here, they actually encourage and award credit for achieving a significant, measurable environmental performance using a design strategy that is not addressed in the LEED green building rating system. If you can discover a new method or innovative solution, you’ll be awarded. You can also receive credit for simply having a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) on your design team. LEED has found that the application and certification process is streamlined by having someone that “knows how LEED works” on a design team. They are therefore willing to provide an additional point of project credit for this simple inclusion. It’s an easy win, and you should always take a freebie where it’s offered.