The CSIR, with its rich multidisciplinary science, engineering and technology base – in climate change, environmental sciences, energy, water, building science, spatial planning and cleaner production – is ideally positioned to contribute to smarter places, including smart buildings, cities and regions, manufacturing, water use and energy use. Applying these skills to create truly smart places, would significantly improve the lives of South Africans.
Smart resource use: Smart interventions support prudent use of resources. The CSIR’s multidisciplinary capabilities are geared to strengthen resource efficiency and cleaner production for sustainable industrialisation. Industry decision-makers and policy makers will furthermore benefit from trade-off modelling capabilities and from CSIR skills in aspects relating to the circular economy – in which the maximum value is extracted from resources while maintaining harmony with the environment. These knowledge sets and associated tools are invaluable for decision support, notably for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and urban decision support.
Smart infrastructure (hard and soft): CSIR interventions include capacitating all spheres of government to improve all aspects relating to smart places – enabling smarter connected resources and infrastructure and revolutionising the way of doing business and delivering services through, for example, new business models on eco-industrialisation.
Smart utility services: Smart places are also places with efficient utility services, such as electricity and water. As far as energy supply is concerned, the CSIR focuses on renewable energy – solar, wind, supply forecasting and thermal storage. Research and development in energy systems focuses on the anticipated challenges of introducing more renewables into the energy mix and improving the management of electricity demand during re-industrialisation. The CSIR also has strong knowledge sets on grid planning and energy demand. In terms of water, expertise extends to water and wastewater treatment technologies, real-time water management systems, water resource monitoring and water resource risk mitigation.
Spatial systems for smart places: CSIR programmes related to smart infrastructure include spatial planning systems as well as advanced materials and processes. Relevant municipal programmes include science, engineering and technology solutions for infrastructure delivery as well as capacity and capability-driven local economic development.