"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives"

Abba Eban

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)

"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"

Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789



Sustainable development in smart cites and smart islands for faster energy transition and democratization of public utilities

Moderator: Prof. Goran Krajačić

Smart islands and smart cites are becoming places with advanced technological solutions and complex integration of energy, water and environmental systems. Widespread use of the best available ICT solutions provides many opportunities to collect, analyse in interpret large amounts of data which further opens up space for use of many tools based on AI and machine learning. On the one hand the tools are used  for forecasting  and planning of systems development, their operation and maintenance while on the other they are supporting development of future markets, new services and most important the tools could speed up energy transition and democratization of production, distribution and storage systems for the many of public utilities. The panel will discuss current projects, applied solutions as well as future developments and barriers in application of  sustainable solutions in smart cites and smart islands.

Prof. Davide Astiaso Garcia
Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Davide Astiaso Garcia is Associate Professor of Thermal Sciences, Energy Technology and Building Physics at Sapienza University of Rome and General Secretary at Italian Wind Energy Association (ANEV). He is currently the Project Coordinator of the EU Interreg Med project PRISMI PLUS “Transferring a toolkit for RES Integration in Smart Mediterranean Islands and rural areas”, and is currently involved as Principal Investigator for Sapienza University of research team in two H2020 projects (GIFT - Geographical Islands FlexibiliTy - and ILIAD - INTEGRATED DigitaL Framework FOR Comprehensive MARITIME DATA AND INFORMATION SERVICES), and one EEA project ( YENESIS - Youth Employment Network for Energy Sustainability in ISlands). His full operating skills include, among others: Renewable energies, smart energy systems, energy efficiency in buildings, energy modelling, energy forecasting, environmental impact assessments, pollution risk management, indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring and mitigation measures. He is contracted by the European Commission Research Executive Agency (REA) as expert for the evaluation of the project proposal under H2020 calls “FET OPEN (Future Emerging Technologies)”. He is Editor at Journal of Energy Research and Reviews and Guest Editor at Applied Science and Frontiers in Energy Research. He is author of more than 100 scientific publications mainly concerning energy themes (H index 30 in Scopus database).
Marine Renewables and digitalization strategies and technologies for smart and sustainable islands
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Generating electricity using offshore renewable energies and its connection to the grid and local storage is one of the main challenges to speed up the energy transition in the next years. Furthermore, digitalization strategies and technologies are one of the main pillars of the Next Generation EU fund to support member states impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The integration of these two topics is essential to optimize the energy flexibility of islands, where onshore renewable energy sources are often only partially accessible due to natural and landscaping constraints, and, on the other hand, energy consumptions are generally characterized by a high seasonality. In this context, my speech will briefly introduce models, best practices and solutions currently investigated in some EU funded research projects, including machine learning and neural networks models to assess and forecast marine renewables potentialities, as well as virtual power systems and digital twin models to match renewable generation and energy needs, trying to trigger a discussion on how to facilitate the energy transition of islands using marine renewables and digitalization strategies and technologies.

Dr. Yee Van Fan
University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Dr Yee Van Fan, MPhil, is a Senior Researcher in Digitalisation, Circular Economy & Net Zero at Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and a Researcher in the Sustainable Process Integration Laboratory, NETME Centre, Brno University of Technology. She serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Cleaner Production (Elsevier), Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilisation and Environmental Effects (Taylor and Francis), and Subject Editor of Energy (Elsevier) under the topic of Energy-Economic-Environment. Yee Van's research interest lies in material recovery and clean energy, supported by sustainability analysis, optimisation, and scenario modelling. Her research to date emphasises life cycle analysis of the solid waste management sector from micro to macro scales. This ranges from assessing optimal treatment strategies for waste collection and management systems to forecasting GHG emissions from waste flows by understanding relationships with demographic and socioeconomic factors. Her current research focuses on digitalisation as a potential enabler of net zero and circular economy targets.
The Challenges in the Development of Smart Cities and Smart Islands
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ICT solutions supported by AI and machine learning provide opportunities to collect, analyse, and improve system development planning. It plays a role in speed up energy transition and facilitates future development and improved efficiency.
The advantages of “smart” are generally known; however, the benefits are not absolute in all cases. Several challenges associated with Smart Cities and Smart Island have to be considered in tackling the potential cons.
These include (i) waste generation and (ii) the rebound effect of the rapid development, as well as the security issues. The short introduction intended to highlight the challenges of Smart Cities and Island from these three aspects, with examples given. It leads to the discussion of
(a) Is smart technology sustainable – enhancing recycling rate, increase waste generation?
(b) Would smart cities and smart islands reduce energy consumption?
(c) Is smart technology making us smart (improve the quality of life) or dumb?

Prof. Iva Kovacic
Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
Iva Kovacic is Full Professor and Head of Department for Integrated Planning and Industrial Building, Faculty of Civil Engineering, TU Wien. She is expert for Building Information Modelling supported interdisciplinary planning, and life-cycle analysis and optimization of built environment. I. Kovacic conducted numerous funded national and international research research projects for energy- and resources- efficient industrial building and production and development of digital plattforms for Circular Economy. Iva is certified auditor of ÖGNI/DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), licenced architect in Bavarian Chamber of architects, and member of ASCE - American Society of Civil Engineers. As practicing architect, she worked in Austria and abroad (Germany, USA). Iva Kovacic is born in 1973 in Zagreb, Croatia. She has studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology, where she also obtained her PhD Degree at Faculty of Civil Engineering in 2005. She holds a post-gradual degree in Project Management in Construction from Bauhaus University, Weimar since 2002. She obtained her habilitation (venia docendi) in Integrated Planning in 2016; and is Full Professor since 2018. Iva Kovacic is principal investigator at GCD - Center for Geometry and Computational Design, TU Wien, and lecturer at DOKWERK; Stuttgart Univerity; University of Zagreb and School of Engineering at Jönköping University.
Digital urban mining cadaster as a Smart City Instrument
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Building stocks and infrastructures are representing the largest material stock of industrial economies. In order to minimize the use of primary resources, greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy consumption for production of new materials, the “Urban Mining” strategy aims to recycle these urban stocks.

Smart City Vienna Strategy is based on the interplay of the three dimensions of: quality of life, resource conservation and innovation.

The Quality of Life addresses Vienna as the city with the highest quality of life and life satisfaction in the world; focusing on social inclusion in its policy design and administrative activities.
Resource Conservation foresees reduction of its local per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, and by 85% by  2050 (compared to the baseline year of 2005); reduction its local per capita final energy consumption by 30% by 2030, and by 50% by 2050 (compared to the baseline year of 2005) and finally reducing material footprint of consumption per capita by 30% by 2030, and by 50% by 2050.  By 2030 Vienna is an innovation leader; Vienna is Europe's digitalization capital.

For enabling of reduction of material footprint as well as to increase recycling rates detailed knowledge about the composition of building stocks is needed, as well as new methods for assessment, modelling and prediction of upcoming material flows in the future.

New business models to enable sustainable digital planning, construction and deconstruction workflows that facilitate the reuse and recycling of building materials and components along the lifecycle are needed.

How can digital technologies such as Building Information Modelling, GIS, blockchain and smart contracts enable a transparent, recycling-friendly assessment and tracking of building materials and building components along the lifecycle, thus minimizing and reducing emissions and waste?

What requirements must be met for a generation of publicly accessible digital urban mining cadaster as an instrument for a Smart City?

Prof. Goran Krajačić
University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Goran Krajacic, Ph.D., ( is working as associate professor at DEPEE (UZ FSB) and head of Power Engineering and Energy Management Chair. His field of work includes energy markets, research in energy planning, energy system optimization; island energy system modelling and optimization, development of models for simulation of energy systems, renewable energy sources, energy storage, energy economics and policy. Since his employment at DEPEE he has been working on the many international and EU projects as well as on national project Smart Energy Storage for Sustainable Development of Energy Systems. He worked on development of SEAPs for local communities on the islands and development of financial mechanisms for support of the energy storage technologies. He was also involved in development of Strategy for self-sufficient island Unije as well as several other strategies for achieving 100% RES energy systems on the islands. Currently he is coordinating FSB participation in the project H2020-LC-SC3-2018-ES-SCC- INSULAE- Maximizing the impact of innovative energy approaches in the EU islands. Since 2002 he has been a member of Local organising committee of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems Conference (SDEWES). He is also SDEWES Centre Secretary since 2009. The results of his scientific work were published in the more than 80 papers, according SCOPUS database his h index is 32.
Dr. Julian Wang
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, United States
Julian is an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at Penn State University ( and also affiliated with Materials Research Institute and the Department of Architecture. He directs ArchiLambda Lab that focuses on interdisciplinary applications of building science in sustainable, healthy, and interactive building environments. Before his work at the Penn State, he has previously worked in the University of Cincinnati, Tsinghua University, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. His recent research projects, such as solar-responsive building façades, microclimate environmental control, windows and daylighting, have been supported by U.S. National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Science and Technology. Julian is the recipient of a recent NSF CAREER award to research the thermal and optical behaviors of windows consisting of multi-layer functions and near infrared (NIR)-selective effects. He also received the Richard Kelly Award of Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, studying the interactions between visual and thermal environments via machine-learning methods and wearable sensor data. Additionally, Julian is also chairing several committees/divisions in the area of sustainable and smart building environment, such as Solar Buildings Division in the American Solar Engineer Society.
Personalized Interaction with Indoor Thermal and Visual Environment in Smart Buildings
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The smart building paradigm requires the understanding and incorporating indoor occupants’ needs and responses to the indoor visual and thermal environment conditions, which is not only for the provision and maintenance of individual occupants’ comfort but also the optimization and operation energy efficiency of building heating, cooling, and lighting systems. There are some widely recognized human indoor comfort prediction model and measurement methods, which has been well incorporated into the overall energy-efficient building design and building systems. However, the measures derived from these methods usually represent an “average” view of a group of users; in the smart building paradigm, differences in individual physiological responses and sensations, habitual conditions, and preferences over time and within different situations need to be taken into account. With the development of sensor technology and computing techniques, various real-time monitoring and predictive systems have been developed in recent years. Accordingly, by sensing, measuring, and predicting the dynamic personal factors, such as physiological features, behavior types, physical activity levels, user preference over time, and indoor positions, the advanced building control systems can adjust the specific components to enhancing occupants’ comfort in the micro-environmental conditions and offering great potential for energy savings.

Prof. Aleksander Zidanšek
Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Aleksander Zidansek is Professor of Physics at University of Maribor, researcher at Jozef Stefan Institute, and Secretary General of the Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School. Dr. Zidansek holds Ph.D. in Physics and Master Degrees in Physics and Business Administration, with specialization in sustainable development management. Prof. Zidansek is active in both solid state experimental physics and in research of renewable energy. He has been involved in a number of national and international research and education projects in solid state physics, security and in sustainable development. He received a Fulbright Grant for research at Montana State University with Prof. V. H. Schmidt in 1995/1996. He became associate member of tt30 in 2001 and associate member of the Club of Rome in 2005 ( He is Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science since 2012 and Trustee since 2021.
ICT Competence Development for Sustainable Development in Smart Cites and Villages
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The contemporary development is causing numerous crises, such as economic, health, environmental, social etc. Among these, the crisis in education is the most important for assuring long-term sustainable development of the human civilisation. Therefore, this contribution focuses on educational opportunities that address the urgent need to transform human settlements into smart settlements, cities, villages, islands etc.

Recent progress demonstrated that new technologies alone are not sufficient for this transformation. They need to be accompanied by a cultural transition, which is only possible by significant improvement of ICT competences among the general population. In this presentation, options for efficient improvement of the most relevant ICT competences are presented. They are analysed in terms of the expected advances in the ICT technologies, in particular by the fast 5G and 6G telecommunications and new applications of artificial intelligence that are based on the deep learning convolutional neural networks.

Recommendations for efficient implementation of the most relevant ICT competences in cities, villages, and islands are presented that enable these communities faster development into Smart Cites, Smart Villages, and Smart Islands.


Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.