Our Smart Sustainable Districts team and our partner community support city stakeholders to develop and deliver transformative sustainability projects at a city-district scale. We prioritise a collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders in tackling simultaneous challenges. Our experience has shown that working at the city-district scale brings the complexity of whole-city urban challenges down to a more viable neighbourhood unit. City and district stakeholders can plan, pilot and prove approaches that overcome challenges to systemic change – to then be scaled back to city-wide implementation.

The problem

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) is a major urban district development in London regenerating the east end of the UK capital. QEOP is owned and managed by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which was formed in 2012 to use the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of the London 2012 Olympic Games to develop a dynamic new city district with the QEOP at its heart. LLDC’s plans include:

  • housing for 55,000 people by 2031
  • 40,000 jobs on and around the park by 2025
  • creating a cultural and educational district with investments of £1.3 billion in world-renowned institutions by 2021, and
  • securing the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

The major focus for the district is on creating high-quality buildings based on inclusive design and high environmental performance, greening and rehabilitating the environment, and evolving with the local community.

The solution

As part of the SSD programme, QEOP focused on two key strategic strands:

  1. Optimising energy systems and the resource efficiency of the park’s buildings and sporting venues, and
  2. Collecting and using real-time, local data to enhance navigation across the park as well as user experience and quality of life.

EIT Climate-KIC introduced LLDC to the right partners to jointly develop innovative solutions to address these two strands. A new energy management system, which tracks remediation, makes recommendations and supports a proactive approach to energy conservation was trialled with French energy provider, Engie. LLDC also worked with the ICRI Lab to pilot domestic smart energy meters in its residential blocks, helping to make energy consumption tangible and promote energy conservation.

EIT Climate-KIC partner, Technical University Munich, set up a cutting-edge, architectural- and management data store project for LLDC that enables its user to compare and correlate many different types of datasets.

The impact

The complex energy optimisation, undertaken in both, district heating and cooling networks, delivered substantial energy savings, reducing the carbon coefficient of the district network by 15 per cent and leading to over 30 per cent operational energy reductions for the Zaha Hadid London Aquatics Centre. The energy savings were reintegrated into the network operation.

Getting public feedback on the development was a crucial part of the evolution of the park. The team developed a number of innovative engagement tools to gather feedback, with an emphasis on interaction and fun. The park trialled smart features that respond to social interaction, such as 3D projections, and launched the so-called Hello Lamppost concept, whereby street furniture engages in conversation.

An overarching approach to data architecture and management allowed the information stemming from different systems within the development to be integrated on a single platform, enabling LLDC to compare and correlate many different types of data sets; a major shift away from standalone, in-house databases. This LLDC data project is a test-bed for London, too. The Mayor’s office and the London Data Store are involved in the findings with the aim to use the innovative approach across the capital.

EIT Climate-KIC’s role

Each of the work streams in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park drew on the expertise of EIT Climate-KIC’s Smart Sustainable Districts programme and its partners. EIT Climate-KIC also enabled LLDC to share innovation concepts with other European districts and helped the district gain wider recognition across London and the UK.

“So many of the themes that run through the Smart Sustainable Districts programme fit with our ambitions. That’s why we wanted to be part of it,” comments Jennifer Daothong, Head of Strategy and Sustainability at LLDC.