Mayor Miro Weinberger, City Energy Efficiency Team, and IBM Officials Roll Out Smarter Cities Challenge Final Report


September 4, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick

Mayor Miro Weinberger, City Energy Efficiency Team, and IBM Officials Roll Out Smarter Cities Challenge Final Report
Share Recommendations and City Plans to Become Greener Through Broad-Based Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger, members of the City’s energy efficiency team, and IBM officials today rolled out the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) final report, the culmination of a productive, three-week pro bono consulting engagement last spring with a six-member team of IBM’s top experts.  The team was tasked with determining how Burlington could become an even better, greener community by planning and implementing broad-based greenhouse gas reductions that take advantage of Smart Grid infrastructure and other investments the City already has made, while strengthening Burlington’s economy and financial position.  The final report envisions Burlington becoming synonymous with green technology through the implementation of four focused recommendations:  leverage the Smart Grid; optimize the McNeil Generating Station; enable electric vehicle sharing; and promote energy efficiency execution.

“The Smarter Cities Challenge final report lays out achievable, pragmatic steps towards Burlington’s ambitious, long-term climate goals,” said Weinberger.  “Burlington is fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in IBM’s worldwide effort to make cities smarter, more effective, and more responsive to their citizens.  We thank IBM for this opportunity and the Global Team for their hard work during their engagement and in preparing this report.”

The project was funded by an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities) announced in November 2012 and valued at $400,000.  Burlington was the smallest US city and the second smallest city on the globe (after Geraldton, Australia) to earn the grant.

“I’d like to offer a special ‘thank you’ to Mayor Weinberger and his team for their active participation in the Smarter Cities Challenge work last April,” said Marian Lawlor, Manager, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs.  “As the IBM team noted in our report, Burlington extended a warm welcome and demonstrated a genuine pride in the City, as well as the passion, preparation, and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will lead to improved quality of life for its residents and to Burlington becoming a smarter City.”

The report suggests various tasks to be completed in short-, medium-, and long-term timeframes.  Weinberger committed his team’s focus to implementing the short-term tasks over the next 12 months, including the following steps for each of the four key recommendations:

  • Leverage the Smart Grid to inform citizens’ options and drive actionable insight toward conservation of all important resources by providing a consolidated resource consumption portal, combined with an event messaging system
    Short-term steps
    • Complete the Smart Grid, Advanced Meters rollout
    • Complete the Energy Engage user Web portal rollout, allowing customers to look at their electricity use throughout the month, better understand how they are using electricity, and set alerts to help manage their usage
    • Evaluate options for integrating gas and water meters into Smart Grid
  • Optimize the McNeil Generating Station by establishing a project team whose goal will be to provide firm recommendations on the most effective future uses of the station
    Short-term steps
    • Continue and conclude the district heat conversation, resulting in a decision about the possibility of implementation
    • Reopen and conclude the biomass gasification conversation, resulting in a decision about the possibility of implementation
  • Enable electric vehicle (EV) sharing program and integrate it into the existing public transportation system with links to nearby cities, helping to address traffic, parking, and greenhouse gas emissions challenges
    Short-term steps
    • Develop and test EV sharing program value proposition
    • Identify EV supplier
  • Promote energy efficiency execution through the use of a team of trained community and student volunteers who proactively encourage an increased efficiency solutions adoption rate in City homes and buildings
    Short-term steps
    • Confirm experts to conduct efficiency programs training
    • Train volunteer teams
    • Encourage that more energy audits, both for electric and heat, are conducted
    • Set benchmarks and community goals for energy audits, both for heat and electric

The officials from IBM’s Essex Junction, Vermont offices who joined Mayor Weinberger at today’s announcement included:  Lawlor; Thomas Jagielski, Operations Manager; Chris Gillman, Senior Engineering Manager; and John M. Cohn, IBM Fellow, Corporate Technical Strategy.

The City team who participated in the news conference included: Kenneth A. Nolan, Burlington Electric Department (BED) Manager of Power Resources; Mary Sullivan, BED Communications Coordinator; and Jen Green, Sustainability Coordinator, Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO).

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.  The program, IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city's leadership.

Visit the CitizenIBM blog to read about some of the lessons learned during previous IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagements and to better understand the challenges that cities face.  To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge website.  Follow them on Twitter @citizenIBM.

To view a complete copy of the IBM SCC final report for Burlington, please visit the Mayor’s Office Web page.


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