Launched in 2019, the SPARCS project seeks new innovative solutions for the development of energy-positive areas as part of a large-scale joint European project.
The SPARCS project will explore and demonstrate innovative solutions for the design and deployment of intelligent and more sustainable energy systems to develop the city in a carbon-neutral and energy-positive direction together with its residents. In addition, the project will look at more sustainable mobility solutions and develop the functionality of transport hubs.
One of the key objectives of the international SPARCS project is to create a network of sustainable, energy-positive and carbon-free communities (Sustainable energy Positive & zero cARbon CommunitieS).
The project seeks solutions with the help of two so-called lighthouse cities, Espoo and Leipzig. These solutions are being replicated in five successor cities across Europe. There are three project demonstration sites in Espoo; the developing Kera area, the Leppävaara shopping center Sello, and the renovated Lippulaiva shopping center in Espoonlahti, which will open in 2022. These sites will develop smart, energy-efficient and locally based regional construction and mobility solutions based on renewable energy sources.
A key objective of the SPARCS project coordinated by VTT is energy-positivity, which means increasing local surplus energy production by means of renewable energy production and energy efficiency. The goals of the project also support the City of Espoo’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. The 5-year project will support cities in developing a common City Vision 2050 that focuses on digitalization, sustainable energy, improving air quality, e-mobility solutions and monitoring the performance of the solutions developed.
One important goal of the project is to build participatory management and design models, as well as ecosystems and processes, together with companies, partners, and research organizations, and most importantly, together with residents. In the SPARCS project, residents are at the heart of the decision-making process and the project ensures that citizens are aware of all activities.
The project is part of a major challenge related to enabling changes in mobility and energy use and practising a more sustainable lifestyle. In energy solutions, the analysis focuses on regions instead of individual properties. The goal is to generate globally significant imprints for the city – new innovations.