Will Marseille become a model metropolis for sustainable urban development within the Mediterranean region? It is, in any case, what the public institution in charge of the planning and economic development, EuroMéditerranée, hopes. It should be mentioned that this new ecodistrict project is rather ambitious. Named Smartseille, for the combination of “smart” and “Marseille,” the district under construction is planned to be a demonstration of technologies.
It’s in the Allar District, a 2.7 hectares (6.7 acres) piece of land located close to the EDF (Energie de France) regional headquarters, where 400 energy-plus-housing units will be built on 30,000 square meters (98,425 square feet) of land. A hotel with 90 rooms and 20,000 square meters (65,617 square feet) of offices and public facilities will also be built. Driven by BTP Eiffage, in collaboration with a collection of other businesses (EDF, Orange, SMEs) and associations, the project is a concentration of technology innovations and eco-constructions. The buildings will be designed to generate only a minimal amount of energy waste. But, the defining feature of Smartseille is that it was designed in consideration of its natural environment. The typical external conditions of the Mediterranean climate (sun, wind and sea) will be studied and integrated into the plans. For example, the shape of the buildings have been adapted according to the influence of the wind.
Sea Water for Heating
To save energy, EDF (through its subsidiary, EDF optimal Solutions) is developing a Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) technology system. A “sea water circuit” draws water from the Mediterranean to heat or cool a network of drinkable water in order to deliver hot water, heating, and air conditioning in the buildings. The SWAC technology system will ensure a reduction of 70% of buildings' greenhouse gas emissions. This solution has already been tested at La Seyne-sur-mer, in the Var region, but on a smaller scale. In addition, thanks to the principle of energy solidarity, the heat released by a building can be transferred to another, for example, from the offices to the housing units.
Smartseille’s first building is planned for April 2016 and its completion will be sometime in 2018, as part of the EcoCité project. Another district, called XXL, is also planned to be developed in the same area in the upcoming years. Much larger, this district will extend over four hectares (9.9 acres). EuroMéditerranée hopes to create a snowball effect, so as to make Smartseille a model for territories that have the same characteristics as the Phocean City.
Through the implementation of a SWAC technology system, Smartseille uses its natural environment to design a sustainable district. What natural feature could your city or region use to enhance its sustainability? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.