Cities of the Future: Songdo, South Korea – Energy

Songdo International Business District's information technology network manages energy use in every building, making the city very "green." Episode 7 in the series.


As populations expand and economies grow, people are consuming more non-renewable energy sources than ever. The race is on to make cities radically more energy efficient.

Songdo, South Korea, a new city built entirely from scratch, is on the forefront.

In Songdo, a revolutionary information technology network manages energy use in every building.

Jean-Louis Massaut, Director, Cisco Services Korea: The network that we deploy here is actually connecting all of the components in the city, all of the building subsystems together, so that we can bring energy savings.

Scott Summers, Vice President, Gale International:We're improving the efficiencies of each of the buildings. Our windows have low U value that reduces the amount of sunlight coming in and keeps the energy of the heat or cooling inside the building. Another component to reduce energy consumption (is) we light up the buildings with LED lights.

Peter Lee,Sustainable Design Specialist, Cosentini Korea: On the system level, we introduced water-cooled air conditioning system; it has never been applied to any Korean project before. We also have central home network system through which you can control your electricity use to reduce the dependence on the energy.

These innovations are helping reduce energy consumption in each building by 30 percent.  The city is also tapping into renewable natural resources.

Lee Jong-Cheol, Commissioner, Incheon Free Economic Zone: Sunlight, solar energy, windforce energy are being currently used to operate the city. Even human waste isn't simply disposed of. It is processed through a recycling system and a co-generation plant producing necessary energy.

Scott Summers: We have a co-generation facility that uses natural gas to power electricity. And the waste heat is in the form of hot water, and so we use that waste heat to run up our buildings and provide heating for our residential units.

By 2040, worldwide electricity demand is projected to be 80 percent higher than it is today. Songdo is a model for cities trying to keep pace.

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