Smart Grid-Connected Cities See Higher GDP Growth

Cities that invest in smart-grid technology and infrastructure, called “connected cities,” experience an annual GDP growth rate that is 0.7 percent higher, an unemployment rate that is a full percentage point lower, and office occupancy rates 2.5 percent higher than less advanced cities, according to a study by Jones Lang LaSalle.

The financial services firm says this correlation between smart grid applications and cities’ economic performance underlines the strong relationships between public sector infrastructure custodians and power suppliers.

To evaluate the impact of smart grid investment on economic performance, the study compared a list of Smart Grid Cities from U.S. News & World Report with national averages for unemployment, GDP growth and office market occupancy (see chart).

The majority of cities’ urban landscape is buildings either owned or leased by private companies. To realize the full potential of smart grid technology, a new approach to building automation and integrated facilities management has emerged, where data is aggregated across an entire portfolio, Jones Lang LaSalle says.

Integrated facilities management systems that enable real-time energy use monitoring — such as JLL’s IntelliCommand platform — can help corporations better manage their use of the public grid, reduce energy costs and shrink carbon footprints, by optimizing the power drawn off the smart grid, according to the study. These systems make it possible to extend the benefits of the smart grid beyond the public infrastructure, and into privately held real estate, Jones Lang LaSalle says.

The worldwide market for smart grid data analytics will grow steadily through 2020, with cumulative worldwide spending from 2012 through 2020 totaling just over $34 billion, according to a September report from Pike Research.

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