Ostensibly the TSB meters out money to SMEs with research and development ideas, but in practice a real application reveals that unless the SME is already in bed with the establishment, the TSB will not entertain such funding.





An example of gross un-sustainability. A city cannot generate its own energy from nature. It relies on electricity supply from utilities miles away from the source. There is no way that such a condensed layout could capture heat energy such as to be self sufficient. Cities are also choked with fumes from IC engines, so breeding grounds for disease. Why then do we have cities?





Set against housing shortages, sky high mortgages that are way beyond the means of the ordinary working man, and the complete lack of integrated heating and storage systems in UK housing stock, a charity called 'Max Energy Limited' applied to the TSB under their Buildings Better Connected call in March/April of 2013.


For this application a project leader was appointed who is a skilled advocate at appeals, winner of many in controversial circumstances. He is also a holder of a CAD drafting and design qualification and a bona fide patentee. He has seen several applications succeed without the need for appeal. As a background the project lead's family had been in house building construction for many years and were also manufacturers of factory low cost prefabricated homes.


The proposal was for a feasibility study to engage with local authorities, where pre-application communications with Brighton, Eastbourne and Wealden councils were all negative. None of the councils contacted could provide details of the affordable rolling housing stock. Clearly then, there was a need to set an example to see if the new Government guidance would be adhered to, when it came to sustainable housing applications. The proposal was to develop a method of application that would succeed. It was envisaged that a planing application would need to be made for an affordable unit with energy harvesting technology, and then fought at appeal. This would have been the case simply because if, as it appears, there is no rolling stock of affordable land, then any of the three councils would have been held to be negligent - and would of course wish to put up an argument to challenge the feasibility of the Goverment's guidance, targets, etc.


A budget of £12,138 was presented, being that the applicant was a charity and was doing this work at cost, also taking advantage of volunteers. 




A detailed business case was included as a Social Landlord Model, for 100 units on a 12 acre site. Crowded, yes, but no more so than a typical council housing estate. The financial case was set out to include payback of borrowed monies. The houses that were to be applied for, were based on current flatpack technology, with improvements and the inclusion of energy harvesting devices as part of an integrated unit. The object being to reduce build cost, where affordability is also sustainability. This example clearly set out how the results of the project would be exploited in practical terms. Once a planning case has been made at appeal and upheld by the Secretary of State, that is case precedent upon which all other house builders may rely. The TSB seems not to have known about case precedents and how the building industry relies on them when considering applying for planning permission - hence, is setting a case precedent one is disseminating the technology.




Zero carbon sustainability can also tick the affordable box. Or, affordable building design can tick the zero carbon boxes. It is one and the same thing, because sustainable means that we can afford it and keep on affording it. Where heat energy from the sun is captured is large quantities, that heat replaces heat that would otherwise involve the burning of fossil fuels, which is not sustainable.


The on site generation of electricity also contributes to savings, that turn such communities into micro generators. According to the TSB, this subject was "not addressed at all." But the 





The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £500k in feasibility studies to develop new knowledge and skills in integrating future infrastructure requirements into the very heart of buildings and communities. 

Whether in small clusters of buildings or major urban expansions, there is the need to integrate electric vehicles and opportunities for heat and power sharing and storage, propelled by the drive towards zero-carbon. All these requirements are providing business with opportunities to deliver a de-centralised infrastructure fit for the future. 

These feasibility studies will allow organisations to develop their ideas before we launch a follow-on £4.5m collaborative R&D competition, planned for January 2014. 

We are seeking proposals in the area of decentralised, inter-connected, heating, cooling and power systems at a building and community scale. 

Feasibility studies must be business-led and are open to companies of any size. Projects must be led by a UK-based business and may be developed by a single company or collaboratively. Projects are not expected to exceed £50k and must be completed in three months. 

This is a single-stage competition. It opens on 18 March 2013 and the deadline for receipt of applications is at noon on 1 May 2013. A briefing day for potential applicants will be held on 19 March 2013.




Infrastructure networks provide the framework which connects the places in which we live, work and socialise. These networks form the backbone of modern society and the economy. They play a major role in determining growth and productivity so, to remain globally competitive, the UK needs to develop infrastructure which is flexible and integrated, yet resilient. 

Most of the government's £330bn investment over the next decade is targeted at large infrastructure projects. However, there is an opportunity to capitalise on this by developing local infrastructure that is inter-connected with larger-scale infrastructure, but which responds to customers' need for flexibility and convenience. This bottom-up approach may even influence the way in which the large infrastructure is implemented. 

A potential vision of the future is offered by Jeremy Rifkin (The Third Industrial Revolution, Palgrave Macmillan 2011); which was endorsed by the EU (2007) and included in UK energy policy (White Paper for secure, affordable and low- carbon electricity, 2011): 

‘where renewable energy and internet technologies converge to create a distributed energy grid, with individual buildings becoming the power stations of the future e.g. photovoltaic and fuel cell generation; interconnected by the internet to enable energy trading and sharing; with integrated energy storage; and encompassing an electric and fuel-cell vehicle infrastructure.' 

Once the feasibility studies have been developed, we will host a Collaboration Nation-style event. This will allow each study to be presented to an audience of potential customers and investors to help bring these new ideas to market. There will also be an opportunity to meet potential collaboration partners in order to apply for funding from our Buildings better connected collaborative R&D competition planned for January 2014. 

To join the online community and for further information on this competition, join the Modern Built Environment group on _connect. 

This competition complements the Technology Strategy Board's active portfolio of programmes in the areas of energy generation and supply, low carbon vehicles, digital connectivity and future cities. 

Details of other competitions in these areas can be found at under competitions, for example the current £5.4m competition, Power electronics – enabling a resilient energy system. 


This competition will fund technical feasibility studies which will enable businesses to acquire new knowledge and skills in integrating future infrastructure needs into the heart of buildings and/or communities. 

The types of opportunities include: 

* researching the enabling technologies that could catalyse buildings in becoming ‘the power stations of the future' 

* developing smart bottom-up systems thinking that is driven by needs for warmth, cooling, power and convenience 

* integrating DC power systems to supply consumer electronics from DC harvesting sources without AC conversion 

* use of energy harvesting and storage systems 

* integrated convenient charging systems for portable devices 

* integration of smarter charging and storage facilities for electric/hydrogen vehicles 

* information and communication technology to enable heating, cooling and power sharing 

* development of protocols to enable the trading and sharing of heating, cooling and power 

* preparing for the digital electricity era, to automatically manage energy demand [Human rights issue]

* developing techniques which enable complex systems to be understood and vulnerabilities to be identified 

* being part of a broader approach to energy management, waterways and green spaces for heat balancing


The focus of these feasibility studies is on integrating and enabling new types of local infrastructure systems. The research can be applied to any building type – new buildings or retrofit – and at any local scale of network, whether individual buildings, neighbourhoods, communities or urban districts. 

Proposals need to consider the spatial scale and complexity at which infrastructure systems operate, including how infrastructure can unlock new opportunities at an individual building and/ or community level. Future climate considerations are also important, to ensure resilience in the face of increasing intensity and frequency of extreme natural events. 

Feasibility studies must develop new areas of knowledge. They may be desk-based studies to prove a concept and/or include the early development and prototyping of new product ideas. They should also include market research and the development of collaborative partnerships in preparation for the collaborative R&D stage. Partners with a route to market might include infrastructure providers, supply chain partners, developers and contractors and building owners. 

The following are out of scope and therefore not eligible for funding: 

* proposals that only address energy efficiency within buildings as covered in other competitions

* transportation not associated with integrating charging and energy storage in buildings

* grid and community scale power electronics and associated ICT 

* energy pricing and tariff-based business models

* proposals focusing on off-grid living or working. 




The TSB allocated up to £500k to fund feasibility studies that address the technical challenges outlined in the scope above. 

Projects must be led by a UK business and may be developed by a single company or be collaborative. The amount of funding per project will depend upon the type of participant and the type of research being undertaken. SMEs can attract public funding for up to 75% of their eligible project costs and large businesses can attract up to 65%. Total costs are not expected to exceed £50k and projects should last no longer than three months. 

To find out whether your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

Involvement in this feasibility study competition is not a prerequisite for applying for collaborative R&D funding. However, it is specifically designed to enable organisations to evolve their ideas, to begin to understand market needs, and to develop relationships with other organisations to enable a strong collaborative R&D proposal.





While the application process was costly (time consuming) in itself, it showed us that the TSB lack the insight into the practicalities of everyday building issues. The application form is limited in space (character allowed) such that no details of a complex design and planning proposal could have been included. Yet, the applicant was chastised for not including details. If ever there was a catch 22 situation, this was it.


It became obvious that unless the assessor was familiar with the technology, or law relating to a proposal, such that shortcuts could be made, an applicant with a truly original concept could never make a case to the satisfaction of a TSB non-practitioner. After which the making of an application is of course a waste of time, but not for the TSB, who gained valuable IP and ideas that they might then assimilate in formulating forward funding proposals.


Despite engaging one of the foremost experts at winning difficult appeals, the TSB said that Max Energy had not engaged an expert familiar with the planning aspects. What the TSB meant of course, was that they did not recognize expertise by results, but rather wished to see a consortium partner with letters after their name. The letters would save them the time of looking at what the lead strategist had accomplished. They completely overlooked the fact that applications were open to individuals, which of course means no consortium should have been necessary for an application to succeed. We wonder why the TSB would bother telling persons what the rules are, then not apply them.






We hope that the Horizon 2020 calls will fair any better. The ERRIN Network, in collaboration with the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform, will organize an information session and a brokerage event on the Horizon 2020 call for Smart Cities and Communities on the 13th of December 2013.  This is essentially the same criteria as the TSB call for 'Buildings Better Connected.'


The EC Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform ( has the dual aim of identifying and spreading relevant information of technology solutions and needs required by practitioners and providing information for policy support to the High Level Group and the European Commission. It is both a web-based and physical Platform open to anyone who registers on it. Backbone is the contributions by stakeholders in a bottom-up way, owned by the stakeholders. The Platform is one of the two governance bodies of the Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (EIP).


The event will target a wide spectrum of companies, universities and researchers from Europe and beyond and will foster the creation of consortia for the upcoming Horizon 2020 Energy calls on the 3 Focus areas:


The proposal that was entered for the TSB call in March 2013, appears to meet all three of these criteria. What a shame that the TSB were so short sighted, in not recognizing a solution when one was presented to them.






Thon Hotel Bristol Stephanie, Brussels  -  Wednesday 9th July 2014




Philipp Barth, Policy Officer, DG for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, Smart Cities and Sustainability, European Commission

Joost van Iersel, President - Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion, European Economic and Social Committee

Gulnara Roll, Head, Housing and Land Management Unit - Trade and Sustainable Land Management Division, UN Economic Commission for Europe

Dr Catriona Manville, Analyst, RAND Europe

Ivo Cré, Senior Project Manager, Polis

Claire Roumet, Executive Director, Energy Cities



Today, nearly 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and the figure is likely to increase over the next few decades. Cities are main centres for all economic, social and cultural activities in Europe and create around 80% of the EU's gross domestic product. According to the European Commission, urban areas consume 70% of energy, and account for 75% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, thus, making cities the place where most energy savings could be made. Cities have an important role to play in achieving national and European green-growth strategies, such as the EU’s 20-20-20 targets notably through innovation in energy, transport and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).


According to a recent European Parliament policy study Mapping Smart Cities in the EU” (January 2014), the core idea of Smart Cities is to better connect human capital, social capital and ICT infrastructures in order to generate greater and more sustainable economic development and a better quality of life for citizens. The concept of Smart Cities calls for intelligent approaches to local economy, mobility and environment by focusing on people’s needs and interests. Over the past few years, projects and programmes have multiplied at local, national and European level and some lessons can already be drawn from past experiences.


Building on the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative, launched in 2011, the European Commission has committed to supporting EU cities in the development and implementation of the Smart Cities strategy through the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). The Partnership consists of the High Level Group and the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform, which aim to implement a Strategic Action Plan and to promote SmartCity concepts on a wider scale.


In the long-term, every city should provide improved and smarter public services that are more citizen-centred, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. New investments are being made in research and new technologies, and institutions are also paying renewed attention to integrated smart city solutions across Europe. Experts and policy-makers recognise the need for strong partnerships between cities, industry and citizens to improve urban life through more sustainable and integrated solutions.


This special international symposium will assess the challenges that lie ahead in creating smarter cities and moving towards improved and sustainable public services for citizens. The symposium will explore the need for flexible partnerships between public and private sectors as well as diverse industries such as telecommunication, energy providers, manufacturers, and suppliers to ensure improvements in mobility, energy consumption, governance and social cohesion in European cities.

Delegates will:

  • Assess EU actions and objectives to support the Smart Cities concept

  • Explore possibilities for increasing cooperation between institutions, local authorities and industries

  • Discuss the social, economic and environment dimensions of Smart Cities

  • Examine innovative projects and initiatives at local level

  • Share best practices and ideas on key innovations and bottom-up strategies 






Registration and Morning Refreshments




Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks



Defining and Mapping Smart Cities – Main Progress and Challenges

  • Identifying the Characteristics of a Smart City

  • Finding a Common Working Definition for All Actors

  • Defining Clear Objectives for European Smart Cities - Smart Governance and Partnerships

  • Lessons Learnt from Previous Studies and Projects




First Round of Discussions




Morning Coffee Break



Promoting a Transversal Approach to Smart Cities

  • Integrating ICT Systems and Using Big Data

  • Social and Environmental Innovation as Key Drivers for the Smart Cities Programmes

  • Gathering Multiple Stakeholders at Local, Regional and European Level

  • Examples of Best Practice 




Second Round of Discussions




Networking Lunch



EU Actions and Strategy on Smart Cities

  • Meeting Europe 20-20-20 Targets - Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

  • Discussing the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Objectives

  • Using EU Funds for Smart City Programmes

  • Successful Examples from the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform 




Third Round of Discussions




Afternoon Coffee Break



Innovations in Urban Development and Transports

  • Moving Towards a More Efficient Use and Consumption of Energy

  • The TIDE Approach - Encouraging Urban Transport and Innovation at the Local Level

  • Sustainable and Innovative Mobility Across Cities

  • Successful Examples of Implementation 




Fourth Round of Discussions




Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks




Networking Reception and Refreshments



Symposium Close


Solar assisted eco city cars


A sustainable city begins with a transport infrastructure that is sustainable. Such an infrastructure begins with a city car that can recharge near instantly, from a service facility that is affordable and load levels. Such a system is under development in Sussex, England, but the company concerned is not eligible for funding under current EU rules because they are not an academic institution, nor a company that is prepared to borrow (unsustainable practice) to develop such disruptive technology; the risks being too great. Development is therefore gradual and IP is offered to companies that have sufficient reserves and an income stream to support more rapid development.




SMART cities of the future must be based on sustainable transport systems



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Housing Authorities and Professionals

Energy Leads

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Green Education Professionals

Schools and Education Stakeholders (including LEAs)

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Solar thermal collector integrated in the roof of a new flatpack


UK - A nicely integrated solar home - as far as we know the 1st proposed. Zero carbon living that is affordable - provided that sensibly priced land is rolled out  to keep houses below the £50,000 target. The US department of energy are also on the case.


    US Department of Energy on climate change and better buildings










A group of Eastbourne residents fed up with the impossibility of attaining a home in the United Kingdom while a low wage earner, have formed a Society to investigate the possibility of building houses that are affordable and sustainable at the same time. The academics have had their chance and failed to kick start any project as advanced as this. The TSB also failed to grasp the planning issues and the need for some organisation to set a case precedent. The financial risks involved were far too high, but a consultant strategist has agreed to work on this project on a no-win, no-fee basis.







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