Powering Progress: DE-CIST Project Sparks Inclusive Energy Communities in Rotterdam

How can AI technology contribute to a sustainable future? Dr. Rebecca Moody leads DE-CIST, a pioneering research project that classifies neighborhoods and buildings based on energy potential, with citizen input at its core. By integrating feedback, the project seeks to foster inclusive solutions, support grassroots energy initiatives, and facilitate connections between stakeholders in order to build resilient communities, reduce energy inequality, and pave the way for a more sustainable future. “Our goal is to develop a comprehensive solution, both technically and socially, that empowers citizens, communities, housing corporations, municipalities, and other stakeholders to efficiently and inclusively build and maintain an energy-sustainable future.”

How does the DE-CIST project use technology to gather different types of information to help make cities more energy-efficient

In the DE-CIST project, we integrate a diverse range of data sources, including social data, environmental indicators, air quality metrics, and building-specific data. By analyzing this comprehensive dataset, we aim to identify and prioritize energy efficiency measures. Our approach looks beyond mere energy savings; we also consider the socio-economic aspect of energy poverty, ensuring that our efforts have a meaningful impact on those who need it most.

What part of the project are you most proud of?

At this point in time, we haven’t yielded any definitive results. Nonetheless, we are very proud of our highly motivated and dedicated team members, each coming from diverse backgrounds. What sets our project apart is the integration of various disciplines that traditionally operate in isolation. Bringing together mathematicians, engineers, climatologists, sociologists, and public administration scholars is a unique aspect of our endeavor, and we believe it’s the key to our project’s success and makes us quite unique.

How do you involve citizens, communities, researchers, and governments in co-creating solutions for energy sustainability? And how does the project make sure everyone can use the information to make things fairer?

We’ve already conducted interviews with stakeholders to gather their valuable input, insights, and concerns regarding the project and their expectations for the tool. At this point, our focus has shifted towards engaging citizens directly. We’re actively reaching out to residents in the pilot areas of Rotterdam, establishing connections, and involving them in the project. As for ensuring universal access to the information, that’s a challenge we’re still working to address.

How does the DE-CIST project plan to connect different stakeholders to facilitate an inclusive and efficient approach to building and maintaining an energy-sustainable future?

Through the organization of focus groups, we’re actively fostering connections and collaboration among stakeholders, citizens, the city of Rotterdam, and scientists. We aim to harness diverse perspectives and expertise, working collectively towards a future that is inclusive, equitable, and prosperous for all members of our community.

More about the DE-CIST Project

On June 28th, the DE-CIST project launched in Rotterdam, spearheaded by Dr. Rebecca Moody (EUR) and a consortium including Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Technical University Delft, Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Resilient Delta Initiative, the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics, and the City of Rotterdam. Supported by a 1 million Euro grant from Google.org through ICLEI Europe’s Action fund 2.0, DE-CIST aims to gather data on individual buildings, integrating it with meteorological, air quality, emission, and socio-economic data.