Circular South, Antwerp: community-driven sustainable area, with the help of smart technologies

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In 2018, the City of Antwerp kick-started the Circular South project. The aim is to encourage more efficient use of energy, water, waste and materials by the citizens of the New South district of Antwerp through an innovative community-driven approach.

This project is funded by the European UIA. The citizens have to know what they use and how to make smarter choices to better manage their resources. Smart meters collect their data and inform them of their daily use of energy, water and the waste sorting street through a personalised dashboard.

Citizens will be encouraged to make smart choices through behavioural nudges sent to them by SMS. Example: ´The sun is shining, your solar panels are producing, let´s turn on the washing machine!´ When citizens make the right choices, they are rewarded with circular coins sent to their e-wallets using blockchain technology.

Circular South has invested 1 million euros in PV. Integrated PV and battery storage will be placed in and on the buildings in the New South. This way, owners of apartments still own their own energy installations, while residents understand that it makes sense to use green energy when there is plenty available.

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  • The technical devices related to the monitoring of energy consumption (smart plugs, sensors, meters) have been purchased and are installed step-by-step.
  • The community is increasingly engaged although the KPI of reaching out to 200 engaged residents remains a challenge, the data treatment procedures and information flows are all-in place.
  • The user profiling and nudges have started, where as business logics for energy and waste and blockchains are ready to be used. Business logic for water remains to be done.
  • The dashboard is now fully operational, and the community center ”CIRCUIT” is experimenting new settings to be more efficient.
  • The Energy cooperative is launched, the Circular coins are implemented and the next 2 waste challenges planned for the upcoming months.