As the saying goes, you can't manage what you can't measure. But, even if you do measure climate-related KPIs, you need a point of comparison to know how well you're doing. Cooperative benchmarking shows you how you stack up against other municipalities on relevant KPIs, helps you ask the right questions, identify best practices and inspire your municipality to better performance.
Knowledge That Leads to Best Practices
How would Toronto mayor, John Tory, know whether the city's recycling rate of 53.8 percent (2016) was poor, average or great if he didn't have a point of comparison? Sure, by monitoring this KPI the municipality would probably be able to manage it, maintain it and make incremental improvements over time. But with the added knowledge that Los Angeles' recycling rate is 74.9 percent, however, the picture changes, and a few opportune questions arise: "How does LA pull this off?", "What are they doing, that we're not doing?" "What can we learn from them?" And here lies the real value of cooperative benchmarking: Knowledge that leads to best practices.
Start With One KPI
So where do you start? Set up a meeting with the management of your neighboring municipalities. Discuss how you can mutually benefit each other through a benchmarking program and what KPIs you should measure. One KPI is all you need to start with. Examples of measuring indicators include, but are not limited to:
- Air quality
- Water quality
- Greenhouse-gas emissions per capita
- Share of commuters who drive
- Average commute time by Car
- Excess fuel consumption
- Accessibility of jobs by public transit
- Alternative-fuel stations per capita
- Share of electricity from renewable sources
- Number of smart-energy policies and initiatives
Let's say you agree to begin benchmarking CO2 emissions from public buildings per square meter. On a worldwide scale, buildings are the worst climate sinners. They use 25 percent of the world's water reserves, 30 percent of the world's energy and account for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Create an Intuitive Dashboard
To then effectively measure and monitor the KPIs you have agreed on, the municipalities involved need a software solution that allows them to visualize data in a common interface, just like Oslo municipality did with their climate barometer. At eSmart Systems, we call this a Smart City Dashboard.
This top-level platform connects to an unlimited number of databases and sensors and gives you a detailed real-time status overview of all critical KPIs. It also enables you to drill down into the data as needed.
In the case of municipal buildings, for example, you can get an overview of the biggest loads in real-time and initiate actions that reduce and level out energy consumption to avoid peaks.
The municipal dashboard gives you insights you’ve never had before and helps you discover new connections based on data acquisition and benchmarking. Most importantly it's a system you can grow with, enabling you to connect to all kinds of data sources.
Compare, Ask And Learn
With a willingness to benchmark and a municipal dashboard in place, you are on the path to reaping the benefits of cooperative benchmarking. Now you just have to compare the numbers, ask good questions, learn from the best in class and watch your municipality’s climate performance improve. If you'd like to learn more about how to make your municipality smarter, read Elisabet Karlsen's free e-book on Smart Cities.