How About Some “Light” Cleaning?

1) Problem: Health

  • Over the years companies have come up with numerous ways to attack the problem of growing bacteria rates with a goal of keeping people and patients healthy. While this has been so, what are the adverse effects of such products and at what cost does their introduction impose on the future health of the planet and the other organisms that inhabit it?

2) Technology:

  • Indigo – Clean has developed technology that uses visible light to disinfect the environment that it is in contact with
  • The technology emits light at the 405 nm range, reflecting off various surfaces and eventually hitting harmful bacteria and micro-organisms
  • The level of light attacks the porphyrins that are present in bacteria and is absorbed, initiating for a process where Reactive Oxygen Molecules are produced and provides a chemical reaction similar to that of bleach
  • From this the bacteria becomes inactive and can no longer replicate

3) Stakeholders:

  • Hospitals
  • Patients
  • Governments
  • People with low immune systems

4) Deployment:

  • Obtain investments to push R&D to increase the range of product for targeting bacteria and scale up operations
  • Initiate government contracts to subsidize the product for widespread distribution
  • Phase out lighting in buildings to prevent infections and sickness both in surgical operations and within homes and workplace

5) Student Comment:

The system is also decentralized, making it possible for each signal to make its own decisions in terms of traffic timing. As said in the articles, traditional models of traffic systems occasionally use older algorithms making them more troublesome in the future when driving patterns have changed yet the light says red for a considerable amount of time. Or the opposite of having no cars on the street yet you need to stop at each light.



Dominic Bell (dlb2189)


Sustainability problem: Cities that were designed for a different workforce and technology landscape need to be upgraded to be more efficient, comfortable, safe, human and environment focussed.

They are designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront to tackle the challenges of urban growth, working in partnership with the tri-government agency Waterfront Toronto and the local community. This joint venture, called Sidewalk Toronto, aims to make Toronto the global hub for urban innovation.


They are deploying multiple technologies aimed at various segments of urban innovation. Such as:

  • Self-driving technology and digital navigation tools can give rise to a next-generation, point-to-point transit system that complements pedestrian, cycling, and bus or rail options to improve convenience, reduce costs, and enhance street safety.
  • Better data integration, combined with more accessible community hubs that offer a variety of local services, enable a comprehensive approach to social and community services that delivers better outcomes to people at lower cost.
  • At the core of a future city is a layer of digital infrastructure that provides ubiquitous connectivity for all, offers new insights on the urban environment, and encourages creation and collaboration to address local challenges.

And many more.


  • City government
  • District Mayors office
  • Departments of transportation, housing, industry, technology,
  • Citizens
  • Urban designers, planners, technology specialists


Next steps:

For now they have set up 3 main initiatives:

1. Sense: this is a pilot lab focussed on using data driven technology to makeintersections, parks and open spaces more valuable and safe. For instance, tech-enabled signals could slow down vehicle traffic if average car speeds at a given intersection exceeded 20 mph (the threshold at which collisions with pedestrians become more deadly) or if they recorded a high number of near-misses. They could also hold crosswalk signals to leave more time for children, the elderly, or the disabled. If combined with new alert systems, in-car systems, or V2X technology, they could also potentially give drivers a more direct warning of pedestrians or cyclists in the area.

2. Model: This pilot lab explores tools that helps communities build consensus on sustainability, affordability and transportation needs. For instance, When cities tackle transportation problems, they create simulation models in which travelers move about cities: going to work, dropping children off at school, running errands. These simulations are based on theories of traveler behavior developed and tested by academics and practitioners. For example, one theory posits that travelers consider every minute waiting for a bus about twice as annoying as every minute riding on a bus. These theories are tested and calibrated against survey data collected by the Census Bureau and local governments. Once the simulations do an adequate job of replicating what’s happening today, they modify model inputs to simulate what might happen five, 10, or 20 years from now. These inputs may include a new transit service or wider roadways or higher bridge tolls or myriad other policy and planning ideas. The goal is to learn how people may benefit from, or be burdened by, these changes.

3. Host townhall meetings for citizens to share their ambitions, visions and input for their district.

What really dug into my curiously lens was how such an integrated approach to sustainability in cities can be done, particularly in older cities/neighbourhoods.

Also curious about how cities that cannot afford the retrofitting fees that come with this, can still bring about change in perhaps smaller ways but keeping the overall vision in perspective.

Comment on another post:



Project Loon to Provide Internet!


  1. Sustainability Issue (Civic Engagement):

Despite the advance technology we have today, more than half of the world’s population still does not have access to internet. This makes it incredibly difficult for the underdeveloped or developing countries to advance or compete with the rest of the world that do have access to the powerful tool of internet. Furthermore, these areas are often overlooked by telecommunication companies, who don’t find it worthwhile to build cell towers or other infrastructure in certain areas.

In addition to areas that don’t have the infrastructure for internet, there have also been a lot of natural disasters that have damaged cell towers and affected people’s abilities to recover from the events. Recovering from these events is not only costly but also requires a lot of resources.

  1. Summary of Technology (Project Loon):
  • Project Loon is a balloon that can float over areas and provide internet access and telecommunications to those areas without needing to build cell towers or invest in infrastructure
  • Project Loon is highly energy-efficient and is powered entirely by renewable energy with solar panels powering daytime operations and charging a battery to be used at night
  • Project Loon can also help in areas that already have internet. There are areas that lose signals because of hills or buildings, and instead of building infrastructure in very specific areas to combat that issue, Project Loon can help fill in those dead spots
  • Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico and damaged its telecommunications can use Project Loon to help with their recovery efforts
  • Loon have a shorter lifespan, which is sometimes advantageous because you can easily update and integrate new technologies into new models



  1. Stakeholders 

Key stakeholders include:

  • Telecommunications companies (e.g., Verizon, AT&T)
  • Mobile internet users
  • Federal Communications Commission
  1. Next Steps
  • Run a number of beta tests in underserved cell areas to create product buzz
  • Continue to improve design to cover a wider area with one balloon
  • Seek to obtain government financing for Loons in one key market as a test market
  1. Comment on article:
    This is a very interesting and cool concept! I wonder if this technology could be applied to above ground traffic as well to further ease traffic and remove any driving errors or driving patterns that cause traffic. Obviously it couldn’t go as fast above ground, but if people are not blocking roads and if there are fewer accidents, that would help immensely.


UNI – LC3291
Fall 2017 – Week 5


How to improve New York’s Subway System? Simplify, simplify.

js5079 – Joshua Strake
Sustainability Topic: Waste (in terms of efficiency), Energy
Link: NYT

I like this article because it gets down to the basic principle of a ‘smart city’ – you use the measurable data of a city to identify where to make improvements, and you go out and make those improvements. You don’t need to improve the ridership of the MTA with some sort of cloud-based ridership benefits app that uses IoT technology to make your blender give you compliments each time you make a smoothie: you can simply fit more people on a subway by making more space. And to make more space you can remove seats. Summary below.


  • E trains had delay troubles, because of overcrowding on their trains. This manifested primarily in longer loading and unloading times at stations.
  • They determined they could ease the issue of overcrowding by removing some seats from certain E train cars.
    • The seats were removed from the door areas, so more people could fit as well as more easily enter and exit.
  • Each modified train has an increased capacity of around 100 riders.
  • Additional changes to the E line such as equipment replacements are also being accelerated to address the efficiency issues with the service.
  • A result of these changes is: the riders experience less delays, and more are served by the train.
    • Since time can be measured in terms of the opportunity cost of productivity, both of these changes should help the economy.
    • Since the train cars are moving more people per trip, they are increasing their energy efficiency.



New Yorkers and visitors who use public transit

Businesses whose employees use public transit

Three Next Steps:

1 – Evaluate the impact of the changes. Is the issue of delays being addressed?

2 – Conduct an analysis of other train lines that have similar issues.

3 – Expand the seat removal pilot to these other lines.

Comment on another blog: “Larvae convert food waste”

A very neat idea – another impact the article discusses is that much of conventional fish feed comes from trawling the ocean, a habit that contributes to overfishing. These larvae would help mitigate that effect as well as the food waste.

Highway of The Future

1: Area of sustainability category: Transportation

Every year, there are about 11,000 tire-related crashes and nearly 200 fatalities. Besides these disasters happened on human beings. Our ecosystem is being damaged because there are around 150 tons of carbon emitted daily just on our corridor, so we needed to transform the transport infrastructure quickly.

2: “5 tech-related inspirations from VERGE 17

  • Wattway developed solar panels that can be put on top of the existing surface of roads and have skid-resistant surface
  • “PV for EV,” a photovoltaic solar array for fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations that send excess energy back to the visitor center
  • WheelRight tire safety station: Cars drive slowly over the black-and-yellow striped pavement, where sensors take measurements. Drivers then stop at a touchscreen kiosk that spits out a printed sheet or sends a text message within 20 seconds showing tire pressure and tread depth.

3: Implementation

  • Communicate with more state governments like Georgia and convince them to apply this new highway.
  • Find smart city project principal and persuade them to use this high-tech road since The Ray can not only be applied in highway infrastructure, it can also be applied to local roads which may help to build a more sustainable and safe community.
  • Find international potential partners by Attending oversea events which aim to build connections between the realms of technology and corporate sustainability.

4: Stakeholder

  • State agencies who take charge of the highway infrastructure
  • Auto manufacturers which invest on autonomous driving and acknowledge the importance of better highway condition
  • Private companies which want to implement their related technologies on this innovative high-tech highway.


Comment on ” CO2 Inhaling Plants

This technology can also collect CO2 from the air and supply it to a nearby greenhouse to grow the plant, make low-carbon fuels, and be sequestered in the ocean or underground.

CO2 Inhaling Plants

Area of sustainability: Pollution and health

Sustainability issue:

Pollution from cars, trucks, ships et.c. is an ever-increasing problem, and heavily localized pollution is a health hazard for the population.


  • A number of startup companies has designed a solution that will help with this issue. It is based on building plants that will suck in the polluted air, and convert the CO2 to usable products, such as diesel fuel. This way, the pollution will be recycled and reused instead of being released into the atmosphere where it can harm the environment.
  • This will also be beneficial in big cities like Shanghai where air pollution is a huge health hazard, and people are advised to stay indoors when it is at peak levels. This should not be necessary, and this technology can help aid this.
  • This technology will reduce the effect of CO2 emissions from cars, ships, plants, farm equipment et.c. and in turn roll back the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by directly capturing CO2 from the air.


  • Government
  • Plant facility management
  • Construction companies
  • Engineers
  • Maintenance companies



  1. Find the areas in a city where a plant like this would have the greatest effect
  2. Get permission from the government to build one of these plants near the city
  3. Make sure all procedures in the plant are well thought out, and that the processes will go safely


Main article:

Other sources:

UNI: ms5584

My comment on another article:

“This will enable testing the air quality in areas that are not usually easily accessible. It is also a cost efficient way to analyze the air quality, so that more of the available funds can be spent on the research and development of solutions which will help improve the air and thus also the health of the population.”

Blockchain Peer Peer Energy Microgrid

Infrastructure Problem: Renewable Energy From microgrid can be wasted due to inefficient data and demand

Solar panel owners get a small return for feeding excess power from their roof back into the grid, which power companies then on-sell at a much higher price.  Peer-to-peer trading overhauls the system by opening up the market to allow households to buy and sell solar energy without a power company, trading their energy for more than the feed-in tariff while still undercutting power providers for buyers.

Infrastructure Technology:

Power Ledger has developed software which reads the outputs of electricity meters and can therefore measure the amount of energy that is consumed or generated. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform enabling consumers and businesses to sell their surplus solar power to their neighbours without a middleman.

Those two pieces of information are then recorded on the Blockchain and used to move energy from one person to another via a unit called ‘Sparkz’, which is a digital representation of energy. The buyer receives the energy and the seller banks payment for the electricity almost simultaneously

The Power Ledger system tracks the generation and consumption of all trading participants and settles energy trades on pre-determined terms and conditions in near real time. A user simply receives a registration email from their Application Host, they click on a link which takes them to the Power Ledger platform where they create a userid and password. That’s it, once logged in they can see their electricity usage and all their P2P trading transaction details.



  • Investors (start-up investors / VC / employees / etc.. )
  • Employees
  • Tech Mahindra (partner testing microgrid)
  • Technology partners
  • Energy companies
  • Governments / rural municipalities

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

  • start-up coming
  • testing software as part of a microgrid-as-a-service

Transit Signal Priority (TSP)

Sustainability Issues

A well-functioning transit system is a essential component of any major city. However, in cities with narrow streets and high level of traffic volume like NYC, buses or other transit vehicles often trapped in busy intersections, resulting in traffic congestion and excessive air pollution emitted by standstill vehicles. According to a mobility report issued by NYC government, in n central business districts like Midtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Jamaica Queens average travel speed for buses are often 4 mph or less. Prioritizing traffic signal at busy intersection for buses could lead to higher travel speed of buses and therefore improve overall efficiency and service quality of the transit system.

Technology: Transit Signal Priority 

  • Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is a set of operational improvements for traffic lights that use technology to reduce dwell time at traffic signals for transit vehicles
  • Such a technology includes a detection system and a priority request generator aboard transit vehicles (or in centralized location)
  • As TSP equipped transit vehicles approach corridors, a signal will be sent by the priority request generator wirelessly to the traffic light control system
  • As the system receives the priority signal from transit vehicles, a set of pre-set strategies will be utilized to either hold green lights longer or shorten red lights until the transit vehicle pass the intersection
  • The same system could also be utilized to prioritize traffic signal for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks


  • Department of Transportation
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Municipal government
  • Traffic signal providers


  • Identify intersections and corridors with highest traffic volume
  • Launched a pilot program to upgrade traffic signal system and install priority request generator in some transit vehicles (especially BRTs)
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the system and improve shortcomings
  • Employ the system in all transit vehicles and corridors to improve transit efficiency



UNI: MH3730

Let’s Cool Down to Power Up!

Sustainability Problem: Energy

According to the EIA, the world will see a 48% increase in energy consumption by 2040!  Our reliance on fossil fuels must be mitigated by introducing different and cleaner for of energy.  Even though, the growth rate is higher among renewables, most of the energy market share (3 quarters) is still compromised of dirty energy.  We must take advantage of all sound forms of renewable energy to reduce our GHG footprint and ensure a more promising & stable future.

Sustainability Technology: Be Cool Air-conditioning Unit That Generates Electricity

Be Power Tech, a start-up company in Florida, has developed a unique piece of technology which not only does the job of a traditional air-conditioner, but also doubles as an electricity generator.  It runs on natural gas which helps reduce reliance on the centralized power grid especially during peak usage.  And to boot, it can also be used as a heating unit eliminating the need for a boiler.

This air-conditioning system eliminates the use of a conventional compressor and instead opts for an “innovative desiccant-enhanced evaporative cooler”.  Which means that the system uses water evaporation and not a refrigerant to achieve colder temperatures within buildings.  The hot dry air is cooled by the water and returned as cold and humid air.

Of course, since evaporative cooling requires that the outside air be hot and dry, areas with high humidity are effectively ruled out as potential markets.  To avoid this drawback, the system uses a desiccant (a substance that induces or sustains dryness) to suck water out of the air before it begins its cooling process.

Next step is removal of the water to dry out the desiccant. This is accomplished by taking the waste heat generated by a natural gas fuel cell which evaporates the water and in doing so it strips electrons from the hydrocarbon gas converting them into electricity.  What can’t be converted, is expelled as heat; however, the technology converts 50% of the incoming chemical energy into electricity which can be used to power the building.

Because this technology is easy to install, building owners are likely be more open to its adoption.  Less energy usage, lower costs for natural gas, and leveraging the electricity benefits from this technology are huge monetary and high efficiency initiatives for building owners.

“EIA projects 48% increase in world energy consumption by 2040.”. EIA – Today in Energy, 5/12/2016,
“The Air Conditioner That Makes Electricity”, Scientific American, 7/19/2016


  • Building Owners looking for cost-effective solutions as energy prices increase
  • Cities wanting to meet their low-energy goals
  • Individual consumers who are environmentally and financially conscious of their household energy consumption

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Reach out to building owners to not only demonstrate the technology, but also provide an ROI which further depicts the cost benefit of installing and running this system versus the traditional one.

Engage with city officials to showcase the potential for this innovation on both an environmental and financial scale.  Additionally, seek their support to push out this product to building owners within the city boundaries.

Ensure that the company can meet implementation demands in a seamless fashion and keep up communication with clients.  Feedback communication is imperative especially when involving the implementation of electrical energy from a secondary source.

By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147


Comment on “A Building Itself Can Be a Power Plant by Waste Generated Tech” by LY242

Exquisite idea, as I’m in love with any closed-loop system.  On a more practical viewpoint, a significant amount of energy, transportation, and costs are saved when waste is taken care of at site.  Cities like NY, which are looking to meet their 2030 green goals are likely to bite at this theoretically efficient technology.