Multifunctional use of urban surfaces

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With SOFTS Power we create local jobs, make the city cleaner and more liveable, accelerate the energy transition and the implementation of solar power systems. By doing this we also make organizational buildings energy-neutral. How do we work? And how can you, as a municipality, make optimal use of urban surfaces in order to create a more sustainable city?

Why we started SOFTS                                        

SOFTS (Surface of Things) was founded 7 years ago, built on and driven by the notion that the process of sustainability has to become an integral part of the economy. In other words, sustainability has to evolve into a self-sustaining economic process independent of for example subsidies. We do this by activating urban surface into a variety of purposes. SOFTS has the shape of a for-profit social enterprise where local stakeholders are pivotal. Each project deliberately looks for local parties and employees to convert existing surfaces into sustainable areas.

How we work

The starting point is a civil society organisation (CSO's e.g. schools or sport clubs as the centrepiece of a local community) that indicates it has unused space, for example on the roof or on the facade of their building. Hence, we are able to implement our technology to turn this urban, unused area into an area that generates energy, collects rainwater or filters the air for example. Or all three functions at the same time. SOFTS invests with a high local involvement with the ‘Made in|by|for Protocol’. We invited local companies and educated local (unemployed) persons to build the technology.

Technological innovation

We are the first technological innovation in the world that uses urban surfaces in a multifunctional way, and by this sharing of urban surface our technology provides a unique and self-sustaining business model. Furthermore, SOFTS Power provides training and attractive work and prospects for job-seekers and people who have a disadvantaged position in the labor market of tomorrow. SOFTS actively seeks to involve local people and thus invests in and adds value to local communities.

What we do

Together with a local founder, SOFTS covers all expenses for implementing the technology. Let’s take 50 m2 as a starting point. The founder makes the investments possible for the social civil organization by covering all costs. All the benefits and services from this surface can be sold on the online platform SOFTS.world where 90% will return to the civil society organisation, where further investment in societal issues is stimulated and 10% goes back to SOFTS.world.  In this way the surface will lead in a period of 10 years to 1-2 local jobs, 1 energy-neutral (school) building, 1.000 m2 solar panels, carbon reduction equal to 10 households and an economic boost of the local economy.

Method and Goals

With SOFTS Power, we want to seduce the market to buy services via SOFTS.world. This provides combined revenues from local compensation, communications and environmental services. Our goal is to make every civil society organization energy-neutral within five years. The money that goes back to the civil society organization will be locally reinvested in order to generate more electricity from solar power, save energy, reduce CO2-emissions, stimulate employment and reduce the impact on our environment. When this goal is realized, civil society organizations will have more money to spend on their core business.

Launch in Rotterdam                                   

Currently in Rotterdam a first big-scale project is being launched, where a coalition is already created to make the project work. The local municipality was very willing to collaborate and the project will function as an example for other municipalities aiming for the same objective, namely a sustainable urban environment.    

Next steps and question to the community

In order to reach our goal of making civil society organizations energy-neutral within five years, we are welcoming other cities to follow the example of Rotterdam. If you are a municipality or civil society organization that wants to become more sustainable and energy-neutral in the near future, then do not hesitate to contact us.

We are looking forward to working with you on making your city more sustainable, cleaner and liveable! SOFTS Power can be implemented on many surfaces and locations (see for examples the pictures in this article and the video's below).

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Written by Rosalie de Bruijn on 18-05-16 www.cablean-group.com/softs-power

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