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Other innovations 01/06/2016

Two winners will tackle urban heat islands

On December 14, 2015, winners were announced for the call for projects in "Solutions for addressing urban heat islands in the Mediterranean region", which was launched nearly a year ago by ENGIE and 10 partners.Michel Esteve, ENGIE’s Regional Delegate for the area, was the original driver of the call for projects. The topic of heat islands in the Mediterranean is important to him, both personally and as part of ENGIE’s commitment to the energy transition.

Hello Michel. The subject of urban warming is an important issue for you?

Yes, the problem of urban heat islands, especially in summer, is of course related to global warming, and it’s particularly acute in the inner cities of urban areas in the Mediterranean, where it often goes hand in hand with impoverishment in historic centers.

This call for proposals was launched with 10 institutional and local partners in order to find solutions, preferably innovative ones, and to help the proposals become a reality. The ultimate goal is to identify effective ways of helping them gain momentum and then to export them to other cities around the Mediterranean.

Are you surprised by the success of this call for projects?

We were all very pleased with how successful the call for projects was, since thirty solutions were submitted.

The call for projects asked for both technical and social solutions, so we received a wide range of applications that we had to narrow down.

The selection committee included representatives from all of the partners with different interests, which didn’t make it easier to choose a winner. That’s why two solutions were chosen in the end: a more technical one, the ECIC design office, and another that was more socially-oriented with the Inspire Institute.

Tell us about these two solutions.

They’re very different!

The Inspire Institute creates urban farms and wooded areas that both produce fruit and vegetables and improve social cohesion and generate energy.

The ECIC gets involved upstream to prevent heat islands from developing, but it can also identify them and improve cool spots.

Both winners were chosen following extensive debate. This reflects various interests of the partners in the call for projects.

How do you intend to work with the two winners?

Each of the partners in the call for projects will support the winners in their specific way.

This may involve connecting them with people or institutions like ADEME, the AVItem Envirobat or BDM, or including their solution within their work programs and working groups such as ARII, or doing life-size tests such as the Cité des Energies.

ENGIE and its subsidiaries will introduce them to the Group's Innovation leaders and indicate which entities they should work with. They will get commercial support and financial or assistance; the solutions will be integrated into ENGIE Ineo and ENGIE Cofely offerings.

Lastly, can you give us some feedback on the experience?

I am very happy with both results of this call for projects and with how the collaborative effort was set up. This type of call for projects is extremely helpful for both startups and for major groups like ENGIE. The exchanges have been really positive: ENGIE provides commercial or financial support, while the startup contributes new blood and disruptive ideas.

Source: Christine Leroy

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