Winners of the Open Innovation Call in NYC and finalists of Call in CPH announced

With the UN Climate Action Summit as backdrop, New York City and Access Cities partnered in finding the two most innovative solutions to the pressing climate challenges of air pollution and the urban heat island effect. The two winners proposed plants and paint as effective solutions.

Yesterday, the finalists of the parallel call in the City of Copenhagen were announced. The five finalists will present their solutions at the pitch final event on 11 October during the C40 World Mayors Summit, where the winner will also be crowned. 

The five finalists of the CPH Call

Pitch finale in New York City

Moving on the agenda of securing livable cities in a time of climate change and pollution, New York City and the Access Cities initiative have pointed to two of the most innovative solutions by companies. Specifically, the solutions are presenting methods to increasing air quality and reducing urban heat in the city of New York. The two winning innovative solutions were: the company Gaia Technologies, which seeks to improve air quality by installing plants on surface areas throughout New York City – and Airlite, a technological paint which reduces urban heat and air pollution. By painting the exterior of buildings, Airlite can reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners, thus lowering their CO2 emissions.

The solutions were part of an open call inviting international companies to give their best bid on how to curb these challenges that yearly cost several hundred lives.

“We’re really thrilled to have won. There’s much blood, sweat and tears that went into this. Everybody here could have won and you would need every idea to actually solve the issue of urban heat island effect.”

– Paul Mankiewicz, founding partner at Gaia Technologies.

The two winners of the innovation call were announced last week in New York during the event where eight finalists delivered their final pitch. The event not only aimed to announce the winners of the call, but also to establish stronger ties between Danish and American companies while highlighting some of the most innovative solutions to the most pressing problems cities are facing.

Air quality improved by plants on roofs

The winner in the air quality track, Gaia Technology, presented their solution called Leaf Island Effect. The solution is an ecological design and installation in urban landscapes targeting both the urban heat island effect and air pollution.

Two concepts are essential as to why the solution is effective. Firstly, only multilayered plants supplied with sufficient water are capable of reducing the urban body temperature effectively, while a healthy volume area of well-developed plants effectively reduces air pollution. Secondly, cities offer immense surface area on roofs, blank vertical walls and public/streets-side real estate. The plan for New York City is to utilize the surface areas to increase vegetation to improve air quality.

Painting buildings to curb overheating in urban areas

The second winner was Airlite, who presented a technological paint reducing urban heat and air pollution. By painting the exterior of builidings, Airlite aims to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners, thus lowering their CO2 emissions. In effect this means that the excess heat from air conditioners is also reduced.

In tests, the electricity used for air condition units was reduced by 28.66% when Airlite paint was used. Activated by light, Airlite reduces major air pollutants like NOx by up to 88.8% in closed environments and up to 50% in outdoor environments.

Background to the two parallel calls

The City of New York and Access Cities partnered for the Open Innovation Call on Air Quality and Urban Heat Island Effect in order to find solutions to the pressing climate challenges. Over the summer of 2019, more than 40 companies applied for the Open Innovation Call. The ultimate goal of the challenge was to identify and pilot the most promising solution within the City in the hopes that it can improve upon the current state of air quality and/or urban heat vulnerability.

Underlining that the Access Cities programme is about finding and sharing solutions to similar challenges that cities face, another parallel Call was launched in Copenhagen in August, with the Call receiving 45 submissions from 23 countries. After careful deliberation by the judges, five finalists have been announced and invited to pitch at the Open Innovation Day on 11 October taking place in Copenhagen as part of the C40 World Mayors Summit.

More information and registration to the event

About Access Cities

Access Cities is an international, public-private programme, which aims to strengthen sustainable urban development in five progressive cities – New York, Singapore, Munich and the Danish cities of Copenhagen and Aarhus. The project connects stakeholders working with sustainable urban development in the pursuit of finding game-changing solutions to common issues confronting cities.

Access Cities is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation and co-financed by State of Green (programme lead), the Confederation of Danish Industry, Quercus Group, EIT Climate-KIC, the City of Copenhagen and the City of Aarhus. Learn more at accesscities.org.

For more information, please contact EIT Climate-KIC.

 
Location
New York
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