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Building upon the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Homes program, Scott Mills uses his expertise as a building retrofitter to bring sustainable infrastructure to residential buildings. The DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Homes program partners with builders, architects, and innovative partners who must register and complete concrete and rigorous guidelines to be considered and listed as one of these homes, both in its production and usage. There are six in Georgia, all focused on clean energy and sustainable living, including one in Serenbe (where we will be on Ray Day!). Mills takes these guidelines and expands them to the bigger picture of an individual’s footprint. Into the home, he brings PV solar, batteries, and EV charging in order to cut pollution and generate revenue for the homeowner. Such a focus on the individual’s impact and remediation through residential living reminds us of Ray Anderson’s goal to “brighten the corner where you are”.
The evolution of the automobile has led to bigger and better designs since its birth in 1885 that not only have made driving more efficient, but also safer. Today, electric vehicles (EVs) are roving the streets more than ever before, with more than one million now on U.S. roads, and self-driving cars are changing the game even further. With the growth in electric vehicle usage, what’s the next step for infrastructure?
Bladed wind turbines have been a staple image of clean and affordable energy since the famous Dutch Windmills beginning in the 15th century (although the first recorded windmills were in Persia around 500 to 900 AD). Today, “wind energy is at the crest of initiatives to address global warming in the coming three decades” said Paul Hawken in Drawdown, (the same man who inspired Ray C. Anderson’s spear-in-the-chest-moment in 1994!).
Mowing lawns is a beautification practice for neatening the land we come in contact with daily. However, consistent mowing of the grass actually removes nutrients from the soil and lessens the health of the root system (here is an interesting article on the creation of lawns and their effects on nature). Robotic mowers aim to return grass clippings back to the soil while mowing at the preferred height for the type of grass, allowing the nutrients to return and the root system to grow. The zero waste and zero gas production in addition to its safety precautions make a robotic mower a potential solution to an unkempt yard rather than a standard lawn mower.
Most Americans are now familiar with ridesharing. Whether they’ve tried it or not, there is no denying the growth of this business, with Uber and Lyft the most notable and profitable names. Ridesharing is booming in metropolitan areas as people require short trips without the hassle of gas, parking, and navigation. Commuting road trips, however, still rely heavily on the individual's car, wallet, and time. Some companies are using new technology to promote long distance ridesharing.
Looking for a smarter, more efficient way to operate parking lots, CloudParc provides a solution that utilizes machine learning, computer vision and cloud connections to revolutionize the parking monitoring process. For years the technology surrounding parking lots, parking safety, and parking efficiency has seen little to no development. CloudParc is moving to change this by utilizing computer vision technology to monitor a parking lot, streetscape, etc. and provide real-time updates on available parking spaces, duration of parking in each space, track collisions or accidents and more. CloudParc offers a service to reserve parking spaces, locate and reserve areas with availability, and even pay for parking through a comprehensive app. Down the road, this technology could further advance the internet of things as a strategy for operators to monitor fleet performance, or analyze the types/emission factors of vehicles using a roadway. Even further opportunities exist to prioritize low-emission, clean vehicles and progress the traffic trends to a smarter, safer, healthier climate for cars.
Roadways are windy. Not only the natural wind, but the ever-flowing movement of traffic is a huge driver of roadside airflow. The Devecitech Enlil turbine looks to make use of this untapped energy source with vertically standing dynamic wind turbines. With compact frame and innovative design, the Enlil turbine is set to capture the constant movement generated from passing vehicles. The technology is still in development, with a working model on its way, but the team at Devecitech estimates each turbine to generate a kwh of electricity per day, enough to power ***. Median wind capture is an innovative solution to promote energy efficiency and to make use of a source of power that has yet to be utilized. Roadways make wind and with technology like this we can put this resource to use.
Planes, trains and automobiles are not the only ways to get around, and humans are not the only things moving from here to there. Working alongside existing roadways, these animal bridges aim to help wildlife safely navigate our interstate systems in their natural migrations. Animals on the roadway pose a significant hazard to the wellbeing of species as well as the safety of drivers using the road. Further, animal collisions provide a serious economic concern as they are estimated to cost nearly $8 billion in annual repairs, safety measures, etc. These wildlife crossings are popping up around the world as an innovative solution to these problems. Beautiful, innovative, and effective, these installations help the impact of our roadways become less intrusive to the natural world.
Looking towards the next generation of tire technology, Revvo (formerly IntelliTire) is an emerging organization working to transform the safety of tires. The Revvo software platform leverages AI and machine learning models to better predict tire tread life and explain "why" tires wear from changing road conditions. With proprietary sensors embedded directly inside the tire, Revvo tire management tool captures tire diagnostic data where the rubber meets the road. The custom design ensures that the sensors survive the harsh environments each tire experiences and optimizes the performance of highway fleets in real time. The technology is a first look at a sensor-enabled AI software platform to monitor tires performance and conditions, helping the driver and fleet managers better understand the overall health of the tires on their vehicles. This diagnostic information feed leads to increased vehicle uptimes, optimized efficiency, and improved safety on the roadway.
While electric vehicles on the road are buzzing with popularity, the technology does not start with rubber hitting the road. Ampaire Inc. offers a new era of flight with a clean, quiet, cost-effective revolution to air travel. From retrofitting vintage aircraft into modernized, electric planes to developing electric and hybrid commercial airliners, Ampaire Inc. is racing towards more sustainable air travel with their eyes to the sky.
A somewhat "unseen" source of emissions is the day to day operations of a standard street-cleaner. Accounting for nearly 26 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted annually, a single street-cleaner is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This new take on the familiar CityCat 2020 street cleaner is the newest model of cleaner running completely emissions free. With 8 hours of street-sweeping battery life, and the full 2 cubic meters capacity, the CityCat 2020ev is a quiet, efficient and more cost-effective way to keep our streets clean and healthy. This tech, coming from Bucher Municipal, is paving the way for a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable streetscape. In fact, a single CityCat 2020ev operating for one hour a day for a single year accounts for over 6,000 kg of atmospheric carbon dioxide. If broadly adopted, and regularly utilized, a fleet of these vehicles would have a tremendous effect on the emissions associated with the traditional street sweeping process.
Although still in its infancy, carbon recapture could become a viable solution for roadside emissions. Small-scale, efficient carbon capture installments along the roadway could scrub the air as it becomes polluted by passing vehicles. The transportation sector is a huge emitter of greenhouse gasses, and mobile carbon capture could be an avenue to decrease emissions as we slowly transition into EV and emission-less vehicles. Direct Air Capture (DAC) devices could be placed throughout highways and congested city streets to catch the emissions of passing vehicles, or could be installed directly onto large fleets for company incentives. Prototypes of this project are still in development, but advancements are made everyday. Viability and resource intensiveness of this process are the only limitations!
Median wind turbines make the most of the continuous airflow generated from everyday traffic. As the flow of cars moves across the highway, they create a wind mechanism that is lost on the typical roadway. Installing turbines in the median, between moving cars, harnesses this wind and increases the use of clean, efficient energy as it is created.
BuzzBox IoT offers a unique opportunity to promote the health and wellbeing of native pollinator populations. Providing automatic diagnostics for beehive health, the BuzzBox team utilizes a solar powered, app-run, remote monitoring system to follow beehive activity, swarm warnings, and overall hive health. This data helps both hive owners and the general public play a crucial role in preserving pollinator species and fostering a harmony between hive health and our transportation avenues.
Stormwater runoff is a huge contributor to pollution, nutrient runoff, and increased urban erosion. Innovative ideas are required to provide solutions for the waste that accumulates in a storm surge. Sieve-like netting is used here to collect debris as it washes off the streets before it is transported through the water systems into urban reserves.