Marlene Feist

Smart Water, Smart Buildings, Smart City!

Marlene Feist, Director of Strategic Development, Public Works & Utilities, 509.625.6505

Monday, February 17, 2020 at 2:38 p.m.

Smart Water, Smart Buildings, Smart City!

Two Spokane projects are being hailed as the one of the top smart city projects in the nation. The projects include the City of Spokane’s Cleaner River Faster program that’s designed to improve the health of the Spokane River and Urbanova’s Shared Energy Economy Model Pilot in the University District.

IDC Government Insights named the Cleaner River Faster project as a finalist in the “smart water” category and the Shared Energy project as a finalist in the “smart buildings” category this week in the third annual Smart Cities North America Awards (SCNAA).

2020 Smart City Finalist

The awards are designed to recognize the progress North American municipalities have made in executing Smart Cities projects, as well as providing a forum for sharing best practices to help accelerate Smart City development in the region. Finalists include cities, states, counties and universities.

As a next step in the nomination process, Spokane needs public support. Citizens are asked to vote for their favorite projects among the finalists. Here is the link to the voting, which opens Feb. 17 and runs through Feb. 26. Winners will be honored at Smart Cities Connect being held April 6th – 9th at the Colorado Convention Center.

The Cleaner River Faster program includes $350 million in work to improve the health of the river. It includes:

  • A total of about 16 million gallons in underground storage to manage overflows from combined sewers. Construction is nearly complete with some remaining work on the last of two dozen underground tanks, some of which can hold more than 2 million gallons of wastewater.
  • A third level of treatment at the City’s water reclamation facility, which processes about 34 million gallons of wastewater a day.  The plant will receive membrane technology traditionally used in drinking water treatment to dramatically improve the quality of the effluent.
  • Projects to reduce stormwater going to the river.  As part of its 2014 Street Levy, the City is voluntarily removing stormwater flows from piping systems as streets are rebuilt and other infrastructure projects are completed to reduce the amount reaching our river. 

Meanwhile, the Shared Energy Economy Model Pilot in the University District is designed to test the integration of energy assets—from rooftop solar and battery storage to building energy management systems—that can be shared and used for multiple purposes.

The goal is to demonstrate how both the customer and the utility can benefit from this shared energy economy model. The pilot is improving system efficiency and grid resiliency while providing building owners and non-utility generational asset owners with economic signals for decision making.

Urbanova leverages the vibrant urban advantages of Spokane to find new ways to make communities better for people. Spokane’s downtown University District is the living laboratory for scalable, replicable projects that harness data to gain insights, empower people and solve urban challenges in new ways—all with the goal of enabling healthier citizens, safer neighborhoods, smarter infrastructure, a more sustainable environment and a stronger economy.

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