Reducing the electrical load in NYCHA buildings

Sustainability Problem: Energy

The New York City Housing Authority pays resident’s utility bills in 27 developments, a total of 166,952 units and 1,979 buildings, which add up to $180 million yearly. Demand has been the main driver of the utility cost increase witnessed by NYCHA in the past year, with consumption remaining stable. The authority faces many deep challenges, including increasing maintenance demands, declining funding, and aging housing stock, which make extensive energy retrofits difficult to fund. In this context, NYCHA would like solutions to manage electricity demand and in turn reduce electricity costs without having to replace building systems entirely.

 Technology: Smart sensors on window-mounted air-conditioning units

  • To cut down on usage, H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design proposed installing sensors that regulate the air-conditioning compressor during peak energy usage, when watts are more expensive, while keeping the unit on and residents comfortable.
  • The companies estimate that this technology can reduce energy demand of air conditioners by 40 to 60 percent when demand is highest.


  • NYCHA and its residents
  • Utility company
  • Local government
  • T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design


  • NYCHA is currently working with H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design to implement their solution as a small-scale pilot projects that will range from 3 months to 1 year
  • The companies will install the solution at their own expense to demonstrate the benefits of the solution
  • At the end of the pilot, the Authority will evaluate the impact of the technology and, if successful, it may be applied NYCHA-wide


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Tech helping to reduce manure odors from Swine Industry is creating Circular Economies.

Sustainability Problem: People surrounding swine industries have lived for many years under the externalities of odors and water contamination because of the bad practices in manure treatment.

pigpicEach “pound” or “kilogram” of manure coming from pigs or cows has an interesting potential to generate energy for lighting, transporting, and heating/cooling. In the City of Santiago (Chile), 1,6 million of swines live in factories for supplying meat for the country as well as for exporting. The 1,600,000 swines, considering sizes and manure production, were estimated as an equivalent 16 MW of energy generation, considering 9 MW for thermal energy (heat), and 7 MW of electricity generation. Today, the swine industry understood that revenues coming from energy sales are extremely relevant to their business models, therefore, instead of expending money in manure treatment, they started to install “biodigester + Generators”. However, one big concern came up, there was a byproduct called “digestate”.  The digestate is a highly nutritive product for agriculture. If well managed, it can be used as a fertilizer. Bang! Now the swine industry, after many years, realized that all the externalities (odors) created to people living around the swine industry, can be turned into an opportunity.


The model of the circular economy can be summarized as follows. First, the swine industry sale meat. In addition, they take the manure and put it in the biodigesters, which generate electricity and heat (a new revenue), but also create digestate.

The digestate is treated and then provided (sometimes for free) for farmers cooperative in the area as a fertilizer. The farmers install pipelines to transport the digestate (sometimes swine industry contribute in the investment), and farmers production improve considerably because of the “natural” fertilizer. In conclusion, farmers reduce cost by not buying fertilizer and also increase revenues by creating additional value for their products.PBPO 2006 The benefits of agricultural small-scale biogas plants

3 steps for deploying the technology.
1.- Estimate energy potential identify the stakeholders involved in the ecosystem of the swine industry.
2.- Explains the benefit of using a biodigestor and a fertilizer pipeline. COnvince a venture capital or an investment fund to cover your expenses! Today the energy business in Latin America is pretty reliable!
3.- Install the technology, bring some cool operator from Europe or train people from your country, and start producing energy, reducing cost, providing fertilizer to farmers, and creating a cleaner city for all the neighborhood around the industry!



By Gabriel Guggisberg (gg2642) Week 2.

Sustainability problem: Deforestation

Technology to prevent it : Google Forest Watch 2.0

-Interactive, real-time, forest monitoring system.

-Uses satellite technology, data sharing and human networks around the world to provide information for the better management of forests.

-Aims to address the problem by providing a better alternatives to the technologies for monitoring that exist today that are not the best as they are not real-time.

Organizational stake-holders:

-Governments of several countries: the article mentions the Brazilian and Gabonese governments, for example, who are investing millions of dollars into monitoring their forests.

3 steps to deploy:

-Create a youtube video that showcases the machine’s capabilities

-Calculate how much deforestation can be slowed through monitoring to gain credibility

-Propose the solution to the governments that need it most


Using New Technology on Diesel Burn to Improve Air Quality


Area of sustainability category: Air Pollution

The air pollution is a severe problem for many countries including both developing and developed ones. It is worth noting that diesel emission is one of the main causes of air pollution in urban areas. Typically, in London, people have started taking actions and citizens want to change the current situation so bad that over 29 million people have signed for an action on diesel emissions in urban centers where have the highest car concentration.



“New Technologies Which Could Improve Urban Air Quality”, website: Policy Exchange,

  • The ezero1 technology can improve the fuel combustion cycle by adding additives
  • Small amounts of hydrogen added into the vehicle air intake can provide a more efficient burn of fuel
  • This technology can be applied on existing cars and vans
  • This technology is produced by UK developer CGON and is available commercially



  • Private car driver who wants to reduce carbon footprint and enhance fuel efficiency
  • Tourism companies such as car rental company, bus companies etc. which want to save fuel bills to lower the operation costs
  • Car manufacturers who want to enhance engine performance and provide a more sustainable car model
  • Municipalities which want to change current sever air pollution problems



  1. The company may conduct an analysis to find where car owners are huge and people’s awareness of air pollution is high. Thus, CGON may find the best target for launching this product in the early stage.
  2. To further attract potential clients, CGON should proactively seek opportunities of attending Auto show, air pollution or energy-related conference to increase people’s awareness of this technology
  3. CGON may also seek for partnership with city governments and tourism companies. For example, CGON can take part in government’s environmental enhancement projects. CGON can offer discount and free installation if large volume orders are placed.



People & Civic Tech in NYC.

Sustainability Issue.

People living in Manhattan now have access to public wi-fi through LINK-NYC. In addition, people living in big cities can observe how solar tech is used for multi-purposes and at different scales. However, most of the population have neither access to tech solutions, nor proximity to deployable technologies to solve day-to-day problems.

In 2017, after many weeks of civic engagement activities, starting by training sessions about tech opportunities, building advisory teams, and figuring out potential economics improvement by using Tech, the program Neighborhood Innovation Lab (NIL) was launched in Brownsville, NY. NIL seeks to enhance economic development through technology, but it also compromises the deployment of two civic technologies during the implementation of the strategy.

Osborn Plaza, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York.


Solutions deployed

Technology Objective: Show how the technology can be part of our daily routine, as well as to familiarize people to new devices using internet of things (IOT).
Bigbelly solar-powered smart waste and recycling system, which can hold up to five times the amount of a regular trash bin and uses sensors to notify maintenance crews when it is full.
Soofa smart benches, which use solar power to offer free charging for mobile devices.
Big Belly (right), Soofa Smart Bench (left)

Where and How?
Big belly could be a potential solution to remote or public areas, while the Soofa Smart bench, can be deployed at any plaza if a cost-benefit analysis supports the investment. Most of the tech solutions for civic engagement require the use of the internet, for example, big-belly to report full capacity.  Therefore, sites, where Link NYC is already installed, are potential areas to take advantage of the use of public wi-fi.

Steps for Implementation.
1.- Mapping areas where tech could create a new economic development opportunity. Create a tech strategy, invite partners, create an advisory team, and get support from the Mayor´s office of Tech + Innovation.
2.- Solve people, SME´s, and other´s problems, if possible, by implementing tech solutions.
3.-Deploy civic tech in the area to create engagement in the civil society.

Neighborhood Innovation Lab.
Waste Management Solution.
Smart Solar Bench.

by, Gabriel Guggisberg (gg2642)

The great pacific garbage patch

Sustainability issue:  The great pacific garbage patch is a water and waste pollution issue. This patch of marine debris located in the pacific ocean has been stuck there for years due to the pacific vortex which keeps it circling the waters

  • Instead of chasing after the waste, the “Ocean CleanUp” will instead deploy barriers that use the same water currents that makes the waste stuck in place, to collect that same exact waste.
  • Sea life will not be impacted as only lighter than water plastic objects will get caught in the net.
  • Over 10 years, these nets can clean up half of this waste.

Organizational stakeholders: International Coastal Cleanup, Trash Free Seas, Greenpeace International

3 steps to deploy technology: – Introducing the idea to the organizational stakeholders who can fund it, soliciting help and materials from individuals if this is to be done from volunteer work (already being done), sensitizing populations so they are more willing to help when it comes to waters that we all share and that do not affect their immediate lives.


Bladeless wind turbines trialed


1. Sustainability Problem

Energy: Global energy demand continues to grow, and renewable energy technologies are often less acceptable than fossil-fuel technologies because of the cost to manufacture and concerns about unintended impacts. Wind turbines, in particular, are often opposed because of noise pollution, shadow flicker and bird strike.

2. Technology Article Summary

Can bladeless wind turbines mute opposition?

by Dominic Bates
Published 6/1/2015 on theguardian at

  • Spanish company Vortex Bladeless has developed a wind turbine that captures close to 40 % of wind energy  without the use of blades.
  • The turbine uses the principle of aeroelastic coupling: wind currents form whirlwinds or vortices in contact with the structure, a single mast mounted on a frictionless magnetic bearing.
  • Vortices cause the mast to oscillate, a movement that increases exponentially as the frequency of the vortex approaches the resonance frequency of the structure. This mechanical energy is easily converted to electricity.
  • The structure is cheaper to produce than a conventional bladed turbine, has no wearing parts, is much quieter and is not expected to harm birds, so is poised to overcome the most significant arguments against wind turbine installation in the UK.
  • The turbine has not yet been produced to scale, but Vortex Bladeless hope to release a 100 W, 3 metre model and a 4 kW, 13 metre model in the next 18 months.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

This technology is initially intended for distributed generation. In this phase it might affect the following stakeholders:

  • Communities living off-grid in Africa and India
  • Homeowners in the UK interested in domestic generation
  • Policymakers considering restrictions on height of domestic turbines
  • Environmental and community groups including RSPB and CPRE

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Vortex Bladeless: develop 100 W and 4 kW models for market
  • Policymakers: reconsider the current 11.1 m height restriction on turbines in residential areas
  • Policymakers: exempt bladeless turbines from subsidy withdrawals designed to discourage bladed turbine installations

See also: for a discussion of unintended impacts of bladed wind turbines


Liam – Improving the LifeCycle of iPhones

1. Sustainability Problem: Waste

There are billions of technology products and they are constantly being replaced by by new or different technologies, but in a world with limited resources and over-flowing landfills, we can not discard all of our old gadgets to landfills and rely on freshly sourced materials to build the replacements. Improper disposal of technology can be dangerous due to toxic chemicals in the battery, such as cobalt and lithium.

2. Technology: Liam The Robot

Apple Just Unveiled a Blazing Fast iPhone Recycling Robot

by Lacey Cook, Published 3/21/2016 on inhabitat at

  • In March, Apple introduced a new member of the Apple Renew program, Liam, a robotic arm
  • Liam is programmed specifically to dismantle iPhones into reusable parts and safely recycle toxic materials found in the battery such as lithium, and cobalt
  • Once dismantled, the parts will be broken down further to be reintroduced into the global supply chain
  • Apple provides pre-paid package labels to customers returning old or unwanted devices, they will also receive a gift card if the returned device has any value

3. Organizational Stakeholders

  • Apple
  • Toxic waste management facilities
  • Landfill facilities
  • First generation resource/material providers for technology
  • Current, potential, and future Apple customers

4. Deployment

  • Increase public awareness of Apple Renew, the company’s reuse and recycling program
  • Incentivize or require users to return old products
  • Share Liam technology and programming with other technology manufacturers or disposal organizations to increase the total impact

See also:


Circular Content Management System (CCMS): Track and Trace Tool for Supply Chains


Technology and Background

Circular Content Management System (CCMS) is a cloud-based platform developed by Improvement IT with Netherlands-based clothing manufacturer Dutch aWEARness. All garments produced by Dutch aWEARness are 100% recyclable and are leased to the consumer who returns it after use so the materials can be reprocessed back into raw materials. Though a relatively small company, Dutch aWEARness aims to promote the circular economy and collaborate with other designers, retailers, manufacturers and others involved in the textile industry. Dutch aWEARness has used a track and trace barcode system for all of its products and materials and is now making the platform, CCMS, available for others in an effort to increase transparency and facilitate the circular economy.

How CCMS works:


  • Data input  (i.e. suppliers, processes, energy, raw materials, transportation modes, etc.)
  • Batch code is created for every step of the chain and linked together
  • QR code generated for final product
  • Scan shows all materials, partners, environmental impact and a Google map of the product’s route

Sustainability Problem

Textile waste takes up approximately 5% of U.S. landfill space according to EPA estimates and only 15% of textiles are currently recycled in the U.S. By promoting the circular economy, the CCMS enables greater accountability and transparency regarding raw materials and waste in the textile/apparel industries. The tool not only facilities better supply chain practices and facilitates the circular model for manufacturers but enables consumers to have a better understanding of the sourcing and environmental impact of the product. The tool in of itself does not solve the problem but facilitates the transition to a circular model that will reduce waste, encourage re-use and recycling of materials, and lessen the environmental impact of textile production.


  • Apparel industry
  • Textile manufacturers
  • Clothing retailers
  • Suppliers
  • Consumers
  • Governments (Dutch aWEARness has partnered with the European Commission’s Eco-Innovation program)
  • NGOs and activists
  • Software developer, Improvement IT

Technology Implementation

The platform is leased using a subscription-based model and training and maintenance is provided. Potential challenges are scaleability and cost. The data tracked is based on input provided by the user so accuracy of data input would be crucial to the tool’s performance.








A Cheap and Sustainable Way to Keep Temperatures Down

Problem: Electricity consumption and thermal comfort: The use of air conditioning (AC) units in residential buildings is one of the main drivers of electricity consumption variation in hot places. In a climate change context, it is urgent to find sustainable alternatives to achieve thermal comfort in order to avoid a positive feedback loop between temperature and emissions. There are also financial implications for households, as their energy bills increase by using AC units.

Technology: A homemade recycled “air conditioning” unit was developed in Bangladesh to deal with residential high temperatures. The device consists in a simple board with circular holes cut out in a gridded pattern. Then, plastic bottles with the bottom part cut off are attached to each hole. The board is placed on a window with the bottles faced outside. The wider part of the bottles will catch the wind from the outside and funnel it into the inside. The mechanism has proved to lower indoor temperatures up to 5ºC.



  • Users of Eco Cooler units.
  • Governments on the three levels of countries with hot weather.

Process: Currently, the project is being backed up by the Grey Group and the Grameen Intel Social Business to try to scale it and reach as many people as possible. As the device can be built at home, the implementation process should be focused on information campaigns to educate people on how to build it and install it. A partnership with local governments could be valuable to provide with technical assistance to the households.