Photo 212805065 © Phuttaphat Tipsana |
Dreamstime M 212805065

COP27: Solar Impulse Foundation clarifies net zero goals for smart cities

Nov. 14, 2022
The Solar Impulse Foundation has announced the launch of its innovative Solutions Guide for Cities, billed as a compilation of cleantech solutions designed to help urban centers quickly build a robust climate mitigation program.

Ahead of the Solutions and Cities thematic day at the international climate conference, COP27, being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the Solar Impulse Foundation announced the launch of its innovative Solutions Guide for Cities, billed as a compilation of cleantech solutions designed to help urban centers quickly build a robust climate mitigation program.

The Solutions Guide for Cities will be officially introduced during the European Commission virtual program for COP27 and tracked in a live webinar exploring how cities can unlock the opportunities in their ecological transition.


Among the solutions vetted and labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation as both clean and profitable, the foundation selected a sample of 188 that are effectively solving key challenges for cities' decarbonization and had real life case studies of implementation across more than 130 municipalities and 28 countries.

Solar Impulse-identified solutions for cities include more environmentally friendly building materials such as recycled concrete made of processed mixed granulated demolished rubble, efficient biobased insulation panels, anti-glare and heat managing glass for windows, greywater recycling, vehicle-to-grid, geothermal storage, and geothermal air-water heat pumps, as well as often overlooked but highly effective energy efficiency measures.

Despite the increasing sense of urgency, the foundation notes that most cities have not started net zero planning because they lack an analysis of key sectors contributing to their emissions, have no access to the most relevant technologies and solutions, and face difficulties in prioritising their efforts.

The Solutions Guide for Cities addresses these core issues by showing where actions can be taken across the value chains of five main sectors that are closely interlinked with a city's ecosystem, including:

  • Energy & Power Grid
  • Construction & Buildings
  • Mobility & Logistics
  • Waste Management & Water
  • Urban Infrastructure

Further, the guide details and addresses the myriad "pain points" that city leaders face in managing their ecological transition, including significant adoption roadblocks.

The foundation says the Guide utilizes a unique bottom-up approach, leveraging cleantech innovators' knowledge of their clients' adoption barriers and highlighting their success stories to inspire climate action.

Pilot cities

According to a press release, Lisbon, Portugal and Montreal, Canada will be two of the first pilot cities for the implementation of the guide. Other interested cities include Stockholm, Geneva, and the Paris region (Île-de-France), with more coming.

"The partnership we are announcing today will accelerate the deployment of solutions to the environmental challenges faced by cities, and we hope that many of them will use some of the tools developed by the Solar Impulse Foundation," said the Mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante. "Climate action is at the forefront of Montréal's priorities and as the North American Vice President of C40 I will keep working to move the needle forward both locally and internationally." 

"As Mayor of Lisbon, I am proud and committed to endorse the Solutions for Cities initiative that the Solar Impulse Foundation is leading," said Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas. "Cities are uniquely placed to provide a sustainable economic model where clean energy serves the needs of our citizens, in particular the most vulnerable. Lisbon is committed to delivering that sustainable approach with new technologies and innovative solutions. To achieve that, I count on the support of the Solar Impulse Foundation and the relentless determination of my friend Bertrand Piccard."

One of the first, as early as the 2000s, to consider ecology through the lens of profitability, Bertrand Piccard is considered an opinion leader on the themes of innovation and sustainability. Founder and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he promotes qualitative growth by demonstrating the economic potential of clean technologies. Denouncing the absurdity of polluting and inefficient systems that are still too often used today, he advocates for the modernization of the legal framework to facilitate access to the market for efficient solutions. His voice is heard within the largest institutions, such as the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Economic Forum, and his commitment has earned him several nominations, such as Champion of the Earth and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

"Our foundation has identified more than 1,400 technological solutions that exist today to protect the environment in an economically profitable way, but the world is not moving fast enough to acquire the implementations needed to reach carbon neutrality," said Piccard. "Cities are the primary generators of economic activity and at the same time they are responsible for three-quarters of global carbon emissions. Our Solutions Guide for Cities demonstrates how solutions can be implemented in a profitable way to help speed their decarbonization plans."

To assist in this task the Solar Impulse Foundation invited other organizations, called "systemic enablers," to join the initiative and share their best practices to move from urban vision to solutions adoption. These groups, including the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), and NetZeroCities, among others, have been working on these requirements for many years and will help cities in deploying solutions from the guide.

"We believe the players that are most eager to boost climate solutions adoption are the ones who can make a business out of it," concluded Piccard. "Yet we recognise that the solutions and their capabilities are only part of the puzzle. The goal is to modernise the legal framework to create a need to pull the solutions to the market."

For more news, projects, and profiles in the smart buildings ecosystem, subscribe to the SBT newsletter and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Security & Technology Series: Webinar 3 - Proptech

Date: May 22, 2024Time: 1:00 PM EDT / 12:00 PM CDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00 PM GMTDuration: 1 Hour eachGold Sponsors: Genetec, ISSSilver Sponsors: EVOLV, OpenEye ...

Building Security & Technology Series: Webinar 4 - Lessons Learned

Date: May 29, 2024Time: 1:00 PM EDT / 12:00 PM CDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00 PM GMTDuration: 1 Hour eachGold Sponsors: Genetec, ISSSilver Sponsors: EVOLV, OpenEye ...

Handwashing Survey Research Drives Industry Solutions

Sharing well researched data on consumer likes and dislikes in public bathrooms, this guide presents handwashing public restroom hygiene trends and survey insights for facility...