Smart Cities, Smart Planet

Three Ways Smart City Technology Can Impact Climate Change

As the planet emerges from a very sweaty summer, there is no denying the physical manifestation of climate change. In fact, Nasa clocked July 2023 as the hottest summer since they began recording earth’s temperature in 1880. Instead of wasting time on the blame game, it is imperative that we move into an active mode of solution seeking and smart technology has a lot to offer. 

The complexities inherent in climate change mitigation require both advanced technical applications combined with community approaches that can bridge the gap between idealized versus realistic behavior change. In other words, we won’t get where we need to go without changing what we’ve done in the past. Smart technology can support that mission and find common ground between the ecosystem of public, private and nonprofit stakeholders.

Smart city technology can support both short and long term solutions. Given the urgency experienced by so many over the past few months, here is an amended list of solutions that can be implemented somewhat quickly. This grouping is not exhaustive, but rather presents a snapshot in hopes of stimulating ideas and inspiration for climate change adaptations at the local level. 


The International Energy Agency cites that buildings account for approximately 26% of global energy-related emissions worldwide. Digital sensors, enabled by wireless technology, hold keys to innovative ways to offset the energy used by buildings. Integrated building management systems can help to optimize energy monitoring of HVAC, lighting, and water usage so that building owners, property managers, and tenants can make better decisions to decrease waste and increase savings. In addition to benefiting the planet, this may also reduce costs. This is just one example of how implementing smart technology can serve every sector’s agenda.


How we move about and between urban areas makes up 14 percent of climate pollution globally according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. This welcomes a natural alignment with smart technology as projects to optimize traffic management are well underway in cities around the world. Data collected and analyzed offers insights to increase efficiency for vehicle miles traveled while also offering real-time information for public transportation options. Parking management can also decrease drivers idling and circling in search of the perfect spot. Small actions taken in collective form and enabled by smart technology can offer results that make a positive impact on carbon emissions. 


The Smart Freight Centre attributes 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions to logistics. There is natural overlap with the transportation sector as freight shipment and delivery is a large portion of emission and energy expenditure. AI-enabled technologies, such as hyperlogistics, are emerging that offer alternatives to large format trucks hauling and delivering goods. Tubular Networks, which is a company working to create new solutions, describes hyperlogistics as “turbo-charged point-to-point last-mile tubular delivery systems.” This is one of many greentech approaches that are simultaneously addressing challenges experienced by industry and the planet by cutting costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

These are a small sampling of the smarter technologies that produce benefits for industry while also making a local and global impact. Other longer term solutions involve much-needed adjustment to urban planning, water and electric utility optimization, and infrastructure-related measures. Many of these solutions and the people who are implementing real change will be at Smart Cities Connect in DC this November 2023. Please attend and learn more this Fall!