The third week of the NYC module focused on sustainability. Main questions were, how can we make more from less, how can we change our cites to be more environment friendly.
Frankly speaking it was very exciting to come to the States and talk/learn about this topic. As I see EU is much more advanced than USA, not just technologically but also from citizen awareness point of view. As you walk on the streets of NYC, you experience the huge traffic, the huge cars, which are just gobble petrol. So the question arise, how can we solve it?
To change something is very hard, you have to start it with the everyday people who are influencing the industries through their consumption. I really like the Community Gardens initiative in Brooklyn. I think it is a very good way to increase awareness about the environment, with the simple fact, we need green areas, we are part of the nature, so we must take care about it. The idea is very simple, local communities try to get small plots where they create a small park etc. where they can spend their free time, live community life, relax and grow vegetables.
What we saw at Brookly Grnage was awesome, it is a good example of social entrepreneurship, where you create locally made natural food, create workplace for the community and also make money on this business. The concept is simple, use free space and farming @ the rooftop. They carefully plan which vegetables have the highest profit/sqft value and they sell it to local shops. I do not think it is a big game changer, but a good way to provide job, create more green area in the city.
As first steps I think building energy management is a great player, and I was happy to see these initiative at Rudin Management Co. Inc. They developed a software to collect data real time from the buildings they run. Based on these data they are able to intervene in any case, they are also collecting data for statistical purposes to control the temperature in the building, the electricity consumption etc. Due to this they are able to influence maintenance cost and save money on energy cost which makes them more competitive on the market.This technique is basically check the building from inside. But there is another way to control energy consumption, which is so called city observation. With special sensors you can see the city heat map in 7/24, based on this you can intervene and create development plan for the building’s insulation.
If we check globally the emission values, the number of coal vs solar energy plants, there is still a long way to go. I think these initiatives are promising, but we have to speed up, to drive change before it is too late.