Today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and it’s predicted that by 2050, 76 percent of the global population will live in urban areas. This ongoing population shift has created unprecedented challenges for our cities, and leaders must meet growing citizen demands for things like efficient transportation and reliable infrastructure with limited resources. But it is vital that our city leaders meet these demands, because it is in cities that opportunities for higher education are pursued, innovations in health care are advanced and business drives economic growth. It is also in cities that 75 percent of the world’s energy is consumed.
At Microsoft, we believe that economically and environmentally sustainable cities are critical to achieving sustainability in society as a whole. Cities that are designed and operated to be energy-efficient have the potential to be one of the most effective means to this end. Today, we are excited that Microsoft has announced the global initiative CityNext, which furthers our vision for energy-smart cities.
Through CityNext, Microsoft and its worldwide partner network will help cities leverage technology solutions, including cloud computing, mobile devices, and big data to operate more efficiently, from public safety to energy infrastructure. Information technologies are already being integrated into urban energy infrastructure to help manage the dynamic nature of the supply of and demand for energy, and Microsoft CityNext will allow cities to address energy management issues on a new scale, while tackling other areas like transportation and public safety.
We’ve already started this work in many cities around the world, like in Seattle where yesterday we announced a High Performance Buildings Pilot Project – a smart buildings pilot for downtown Seattle inspired by the smart buildings pilot that we implemented on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. That pilot used Big Data to provide forecasted energy savings of 10 percent per year, which we anticipate will be surpassed by the Seattle pilot with energy and maintenance savings between 10 and 25 percent. We’re excited to see how Microsoft and its partners will continue to accelerate the evolution of energy-smart cities that will provide economic growth and quality of life for generations to come.