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Top APAC Smart innovations

A project promoting low carbon tourism and intelligent transportation services in Taipei and an innovative campaign to encourage people not to drive cars one day per week in Seoul were among the smart energy innovations that gained the nod of energy officials from 21 APEC member countries in 2015.

Energy smart technologies and approaches in Asia-Pacific were evaluated as part of a best practices competition administered in conjunction with a multi-year APEC Energy Smart Communities Initiative (ESCI) to promote next generation development and growth within the sector.

The winning projects were selected from more than 200 public and private sector submissions and awarded gold and silver rankings across five categories: smart transportation, buildings, grids, and jobs as well as cross-cutting low carbon model towns.

The low carbon tourism project in Taipei and car-free days in Seoul initiatives won in the smart transportation category.

“New innovations and support infrastructure being developed in the Asia-Pacific are opening the door to potentially significant improvements both in the integration of clean, renewable energy sources and efficient energy use,” said Dr. Phyllis Genther Yoshida, Chair of the APEC Energy Working Group, which facilitates exchanges of technical information and assistance among member economies under its Energy Smart Communities Initiative and parallel best practices competition.

Other winners include:

Smart buildings: The energy conservation campaign at Richmond Stylish Convention Hotel in Thailand won the gold in this category. The hotel created a culture of energy saving and has reportedly reduced energy consumption by more than 4,620,724 kWh in the past four years, an amount equal to 3,368.06 tons of CO2 emissions. It also reportedly gave the hotel total savings of over THB21.38 million ($594,954.30) with the average return on investment of 0.87 per year in the past four years.

The silver award went to a Thai hospital which has also successfully implemented an energy conservation initiative.

Phyathai2 International Hospital found that the air-conditioning and lighting are the highest ratio of all major components in the facility. This led to an initiative to replace the equipment with water-cooled chiller and LED light tubes started from 2011. The energy management project as a whole reportedly generated up to THB12.57 million ($349,793.06).

Smart grid: The two winners in this category were the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which provide, under the direction of the Hawaii State Energy Office, guidance and structure on the key objectives of Hawaii’s clean energy future; and the construction of the Smart Micro-grid Demonstration Park in Linbain Township in Taipei, which utilizes the self-sufficient renewable energy to improve the energy utilization.

Smart jobs: The Energy Efficiency Training Program in Australia won the gold in this category as it builds the knowledge and skills of tradespeople and professionals to support improved energy efficiency practices, products, and services.

The silver award went to the Energy Hog program in the US, which was originally designed as an advertisement by the Ad Council, the US Department of Energy, and the Alliance to Save Energy to encourage energy reduction in homes.

Low carbon model: Two Japanese programs won in this category – the Yokohama Smart City Project (YSCP), which aims to build the Next Generation Energy Infrastructure and Social System; and the Kashiwanoha Campus City, a future-oriented town model that will set the blueprint for environmental sustainability.

The winners were revealed during a just concluded meeting of officials in Honolulu on the heels of the COP21 climate agreement clinched in Paris.

“Building awareness of smart energy concepts and the economic and technical capacity of the region’s diverse economies to replicate them will be key to advancing sustainability within the sector and new climate objectives globally,” explained Dr. Genther Yoshida, who is also United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy.

“When there are proven real world examples to which the public and private sectors can refer, it can do a lot to boost project development,” he added.

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