2.5 Make the best use of energy and material flows by encouraging synergies between players
Knowing our territories’ resources and flows
The problem at hand
One company’s waste can be another company’s raw material, leading to financial savings, and optimised resource and waste management on both sides.This concept is called “industrial ecology” or “circular economy”.
The huge material flows entering, leaving and crossing cities include building materials, raw materials, food products, manufactured goods, solid, liquid and organic waste, fuels, etc. But we have very little knowledge of these flows and many opportunities are lost. Territories do not optimise these flows of materials and waste as they should, and they continue to squander considerable amounts of resources. Energy is produced from waste, and building materials are recycled here and there, but we are far from our potential optima!
Applied to a city, industrial ecology is called territorial ecology. It involves co-ordination and dialogue between players from the same sector or from sectors of activity likely to create synergies.
Making the best use of a territory’s material and energy flows is a good management principle.
Gaining as much knowledge as possible about these flows, including waste flows of all sorts, is essential but not sufficient. The information must be made available, for example via an Internet-based exchange, which means involving the relevant players in order to optimise synergies.
Conditions for success
Cities and towns that show the way
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Energy Cities, Local authorities in energy transition.