Smart birdhouses give free WiFi with air quality improvements

1. Technology (

This Amsterdam-based startup has developed a low-cost TreeWiFi device, built within a special birdhouse with sensors that measure the surrounding air quality. This data is then collected and sent to a server for further analysis. After processing, the air quality data is made public for everyone to see, and the device displays the pollution level through an LED status light. When the device detects an improved air quality in that particular area, the LED light turns green, which communicates the fact that the birdhouse can now share WiFi internet connection. Furthermore, users that connect to the network get relevant tips & tricks on how to improve air quality locally before going online.

It aims to provide relevant stakeholders with a better understanding of the workings of air pollution. Through this device, air quality management can become more inclusive of local citizens, establishing a motivation to create effective change through their own actions.

TreeWiFi hopes to contribute a solution which fulfills the following goals:

  • Make air pollution visible to city residents
  • Measure on a hyper local scale
  • Make data visible and relevant to citizens
  • Involve local communities and neighbourhoods
  • Reward positive change and provide tools to negotiate with the government

2. Sustainability Problem

This technology aims to provide an incentive system for residents to take control and claim ownership over their local air quality. By offering both the incentive of free WiFi and the visualization of positive change, the technology can provide the motivation for people to use public transportation and their bikes more often by rewarding when the air quality improves in their street. Furthermore, it helps solve the disconnect between usual city-level air quality and specific geographic intricacies. It can allow patterns to be observed and data to be collected on a more granular level.
Issues: Air Pollution, Health, Citizen Science, Incentives

3. Stakeholders

  • Local participants and residents
  • Air quality researchers
  • Policy-makers
  • Environmental NGOs
  • Local area authorities
  • Investors and start-up community

4. Implementation Process

The startup was able to kickstart the project with funding from Awesome Foundation Amsterdam in March 2016. They are now in the process of crowdfunding through sites such as Heroes and Friends, with the aim of raising €6 500 to build and test a prototype. TreeWiFi are using the summer for product development, and are looking to begin sales in January 2017.

The startup is also working with local government and municipalities to ensure that the data collected is as valuable as possible. While this initial period is mainly private sector driven, the public sector could have a hand in rolling out this technology on a larger city-scale, provided that the technology proves itself effective during its test period.


Barcelona using technology to improve process and employee experience

Technology used

PortIC telematics technology ensures coordinated management of all of the services provided in the Ports including pilots, tugs, mooring provisioning etc.  Further the port has adopted paperless procedures by engaging the land container sector to use telematics services. Sensor lights and automatic entry combined with the security project to use radar and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) ensures possible incidents are minimized. The last piece of technology of interest is the Ecocalculator which helps port customers quantify their cargo’s environmental footprint.


Port city governments

Cargo services

Port management

Next steps

Identify opportunities to replicate the tools implemented in Barcelona

Identify if there are joint funding opportunities with Port businesses

Establish a pilot program for early wins

Solution for Chaotic Traffic in Big Cities: The Nanico Car

Problem: Increased traffic on big cities =  increased pollution, fuel demand, chaos

Technology: Nanico Car: electric mini car developed in Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • Zero carbon emissions
  • Rechargeable battery, low maintenance cost – charged within 5 hours using solar batteries.
  • 80km (50miles) max speed, average speed 60km (37miles)
  • Equipped with ABS breaks and airbags (local legislation requirement)
  • Great option for short distances (home-to-work/work-to-home commute)

Technology Stakeholders

  • The Nanico project stakeholders:
    • Engineers and technicians
    • Technological partners
    • Suppliers
  • Government –Subsidy needed
  • Auto dealerships
  • Auto customers (drivers)
  • Motor vehicle agencies
  • Auto service providers: mechanics


  • Investment required to allow company to develop large scale production.
    1. More than 100 car requests existent
  • Cars will use imported Chinese engine and battery – 7,5 kW
  • Brazilian government subsidy needed in order to lower car price
    1. From R$30k to R$20k ($10k to $6k)
  • Nanico to provide solar panel kit to customers for home installation to recharge car
    1. Need to educate consumers how to use it
  • Marketing campaigns to educate potential customers in order to increase market share

Solar Power: Zero Fuel Airplane


Airplanes use a lot of fuel – according to Boeing’s website: “A plane like a Boeing 747 (AKA Jumbo, with about 400 passengers capacity) uses approximately 1 gallon of fuel (about 4 liters) every second.  Over the course of a 10-hour flight, it might burn 36,000 gallons (150,000 liters). It “burns approximately 5 gallons of fuel per mile (12 liters per kilometer).” Demand for traditional fuel is unsustainable long term (non-reusable and pollutant).


Solar Impulse 2  – Zero Fuel Airplane

  • Solar power (clean technology) used to fly airplanes
  • “Real airborne technology lab with virtually endless endurance, capable of crossing oceans and continents by remaining in the air for several days and nights in a row.”
  • Zero fuel airplane
    • 12 years of feasibility study, concept, design and construction
    • 1 prototype (Solar Impulse 1, registered as HB-SIA)
    • 1 final airplane: (Solar Impulse 2, registered as HB-SIB)
  • Challenge:  “fly through 5 consecutive days and nights without using any fuel, so as to cross oceans from one continent to the next.”
    • Previous record: 76 hours non-stop flight
  • Results: New record July 3rd: 120 hours (5 days1)– from Nagoya to Kalaeloa (outside Honolulu)

“A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.”

Technology Stakeholders

  1. The Solar Impulse project stakeholders:
    • 50 engineers and technicians
    • 80 technological partners
    • More than 100 advisers and suppliers
  1. Aero companies
  2. Airplane customers (travelers)
  3. Airports
  4. Governments
  5. National and International Aviation agencies
  6. Aviation industry employees (pilots/crew)


  1. New technology still being tested – would need to have confirmation that technology is safe and reliable before massive implementation
  2. Once proven to be reliable and safe, stakeholders would need to adopt use of new techonology
  3. Subsidizing could decrease costs involved in adopting clean energy
  4. Massive manufacturing could also help to lower costs
  5. Marketing to educate customers on new techonology in order to ensure adoption/usage
  6. Massive implementation of solar energy fueled airplanes on domestic/international flights


How adaptive traffic signals can help reduce GHG emissions?

1) Sustainability issues : Wasted fuel and money, extended commuting time, unlivable streets and related GHG emissions due to traffic congestion. It is an Energy, Health and Mobility issue.

2) Technology Article :

  • The technology is an adaptive traffic signal system called SCATS that has been deployed in the city of Bellevue, outside of Seattle. It has been first developed by the Australian Transport Roads and Maritime Services for the City of Sydney and distributed by Australian companies.
  • How does it work? The timing of the intersection signals fluctuates in real-time with traffic conditions using a series of wires embedded in city streets and boulevards
  • Benefits : The system saves drivers $9 million to $12 million annually and enables a decrease of 36% to 43% on heavily trafficked streets during rush hours!
  • State of the art : Only 3% of the nation’s traffic signals are currently adaptive, the largest number being in Los Angeles.
  • Condition : The system works in smaller cities with particular problematic corridors and prevent from widening the lane and creating a bigger infrastructure impact.

3) I work for the NYS DOT

The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found :

  • The NYS DOT will have to promote this solution
  • The Department of Transportation in smaller cities of the State of New York
  • The technology distributors and deployers
  • The New York State Sustainable Business Council might be concerned since smarter road lights will enable a more efficient, sustainable and vibrant business life in the State


  • Choose a medium size city around NYC with a specific corridor with traffic issue, partner with a SCARTS distributor and deploy the solution as a one-year pilot project on its more congested streets
  • Measure and promote the savings in fuel consumption and decrease in CO2 emissions to other medium size cities in the State AND to commuters (residents and companies) – through a state-wide PR campaign for example
  • Scale-up the initiative simultaneously in 10 new cities and celebrate results in terms of GHG emissions reduction at the state scale, translating it into quality of life net profit and households savings