Dubuque, United States
Smarter Sustainable Dubuque is a partnership between the City of Dubuque and IBM Research to pilot an integrated, cross-silo initiative for managing resources and reducing carbon emissions.
Smarter Sustainable Dubuque is an innovative partnership between the City of Dubuque and IBM Research. The project was initiated in 2009 when the City of Dubuque and IBM Research announced their intentions to make Dubuque one of the first "smarter" sustainable cities in U.S.A.
Plans include the development of new "smarter" technologies and the implementation of strategies to create a replicable, international model of sustainability for communities of 200,000 or less, where more than 40 percent of the American population resides. The model will integrate community engagement and education, more energy-efficient ways of operating municipal services and buildings, decreased carbon emissions, new employment opportunities, increased financial savings, and a higher quality of life for the entire community.
Smarter Sustainable Dubuque will provide Dubuque residents with the information and tools required to make smarter choices about resource consumption. The initiative is engaging Dubuque residents and businesses who, through advanced technology, will be able to voluntarily better manage their use of resources such as, water, electricity, oil, and natural gas.
This project was shortlisted for the 'Guangzhou Award' in 2014 in the following category: Deserving Initiative. Learn more about the award.
Background and objectives
- Alliant Energy (smart electricity)
- East Central Intergovernmental Association (manager of the public transit system)
- Neptune Technologies (water meters and data collection system)
- Racom (wireless backhaul technologies)
- Fergeson Group (data and meter reading technology)
- Camelot - (RFID technology)
- Chamber of Commerce (community engagement)
- Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque (community engagement)
- Green Dubuque (community engagement)
- Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (community engagement)
- University of Iowa (Masters Program)
Financing and resources
- EPA climate showcase communities grant: $473,136
- Iowa power fund: $1,400,00
- DOE smart grid data access grant: $500,000
- ICAAP grant: $300,160
- STP funds: $260,000
- City of Dubuque general fund: $60,032
- City of Dubuque utilities water fund: $1,012,000
- IBM in-kind match: $1,190,000
- IBM first of a kind (FOAK) grant: $1,000,000
- City of Dubuque IT help desk: $5,520
- Director of sustainable innovations contract: $100,000
- Community engagement partner incentives: $65,000
Results and impacts
- Local industry partners are taking products and services designed to respond to the needs of Smarter Sustainable Dubuque, and providing them to other communities across America, increasing employment and economic vibrancy.
- In 2011, the City of Dubuque entered into a partnership with the University of Iowa Masters Program to support Smarter Sustainable Dubuque by collaborating on milestone projects that examined alternative energy systems, addressed social equity components of sustainability, and developed a set of benchmarks to create performance measures for sustainability principles.
- In 2013, as part of an on-going relationship between Dubuque, Iowa and Townsville, Queensland, Australia, the Smarter Water pilot was launched in Townsville modelled on Dubuque. In addition to promoting water resource conservation in drought areas, the project received the Smart Infrastructure Project award at the 2013 Australian Infrastructure Awards.
Barriers and challenges
The two major challenges of the initiative Smarter Sustainable Dubuque initiative include keeping residents engaged beyond the pilot period and guaranteeing the affordability of smart metres.
Lessons learned and transferability
Other communities have learned from the Smarter Sustainable Dubuque Pilot progams and have started projects in their own communities. Smarter Sustainable Dubuque has also inspired other initiatives within the City, including a Department of Transportation grant for redesigning public transport routes, Green Iowa community weatherization and incorporation of Smarter Water into the K-12 school curriculum.
The following aspects have been key to the initiative:
- All of the Smarter Sustainable Dubuque pilots are cloud-based, providing ease of replication in other communities where citizens have smartphones and smart electric metering infrastructure.
- Effective communication and outreach methods included direct calling, email, e-newsletters, "community cafes", and social media.
- Providing incentives and education sessions proved effective methods of volunteer engagement.
- Dubuque, America, Smarter Sustainable Dubuque, Guangzhou Award, 2014