What makes a Smart City smart?

Looking only at streets and buildings, it’s difficult to tell if a city is a smart city. Monorails may dart between tall glass towers that gleam in futuristic shapes. Boulevards may be wide and buffered with parkland. Is that a smart city?


One shining city might deplete resources and accumulate waste, while an older city allocates energy and water wisely, handling waste materials efficiently. Smart City citizens engage more in commerce and enjoy more at leisure. They spend less time in traffic or looking for parking spaces.

Data makes the difference. Here is what makes a smart city work for its citizens, government, and enterprise:

  • Awareness

    Data originates with sensors. A counting sensor might see the number of spaces available on a street. A pressure sensor might know that a dumpster is empty so the waste management truck need not stop there. Speed and location sensors might know where traffic has stopped.

  • Connectivity

    In smart cities, people, resources, and services are all connected through technology. A police dispatcher at an office console is immediately aware of a building alarm. Parks maintenance workers receive text messages when water gushes from a broken sprinkler.

  • Data Integration

    When room access systems interact with temperature control systems, energy and dollars are saved. When data from a building monotoring system works together with data from an emergency services system, the needed people and equipment are dispatched. Lives are saved.

  • Tracking

    In smart cities, an available bicycle at the nearest bike share location can be found via cell phone. Irrigation and fountains can be made responsive to drought. When a sold-out concert ends, more transport can be waiting and stoplight timings be adjusted until the audience has exited.

  • Processing

    Tolls, parking fees, and bus fare can all collected when incurred and without cash or credit card. Many licenses, fees, fines, and taxes can be paid via the internet, without a visit to city hall or county office. Fewer checks are written and fewer lines form at city desks.

Claiming the future

Each day, precisely at dawn, the world of the future becomes the world of today.

Solar-powered, self-compacting, wirelessly-connected receptacles in Orlando, Florida

Representatives from 200 cities attended the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo in Kansas City. Representing those cities, 2,500 leaders looked to the future. Many of them discussed goals for 2020, 2025, and beyond.

Many of those plans are in-progress today. In your city, you may not see wrecking ball or hear jackhammers shattering concrete. Instead, you may one day see a solar-powered, self-compacting, wirelessly-connected recycling bin. The next day, a digital map may show where buses currently are, and inform you when the next will arrive.

Smart cities require design, but not always demolition. The things that make a smart city smart… awareness, connectivity, data integration, tracking, and processing… can be implemented wirelessly with today’s technologies. Wi-fi and bluetooth work. Solar-powered parking meters and about 10 billion other devices have already been connected to the Internet Of Things (IOT).

Information is data organized for a purpose. Data that has been processed, interpreted, organized, structured, and meaningfully presented can be useful information. At that point it can become human knowledge, the basis of the smart decisions made in your smart city.

Your city has data. How much of it has been claimed as useful information for citizens, businesses, and civic leaders? The ecoPreserve team of trained, accredited, and experienced change agents is here to help actualize the city of your future.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable operations, decarbonization, and occupant wellness. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of three and has grown the company to over 20 of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
Remote work is not always possible., but an estimated 56% of jobs in the U.S. are at least partially compatible wit… https://t.co/Mz8U0J2tKL - 6 days ago
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Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
    • Traffic patterns
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.