Friday, 2 August 2013

Washington DC does Energy

Build Smart DC - Interactive, Scalable Building Portal -- Coming to a city near you!!!

This week Washington DC kicked off a project that collects and organizes building energy data in granular 15-minute intervals, one of the first and biggest of its kind. Startup Honest Buildings is providing the underlying software.

The District of Columbia this week launched a project called Build Smart DC, which aggregates real-time energy information about 25 million square feet of public buildings in the region. It’s one of the biggest and most sophisticated of its kind, and shows how governments, both local, state and federal, are looking to use open data to create economic and environmental value, and increasingly paying attention to the efficiency of buildings.
While some cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, and New York have created similar projects, Build Smart DC is one of the first that has access to 15-minute interval energy data. Many energy data projects have access to daily, monthly, or even year energy data. Washington DC worked with local utility Pepco to get access to that data, and startup Honest Buildings created the software and services that collect and organize the data.
BuildSmart DC
The rapid data reporting is important because it is far more actionable than, say, a once-a-month energy consumption recording. So basically, with 15-minute data, building owners and vendors can see where there are inefficient energy problems throughout time periods of the day, like buildings that have lights or heating and cooling that run at times when occupants aren’t in them. “The 15-minute interval data distinction might sound geeky, but it makes a huge difference,” says Sam Brooks, Associate Director, DC Department of General Services.
More sophisticated real-time data also just adds more accountability to the system. Washington DC is using the platform — which Brooks says was a small 5-figure investment to get up and running — to both show how efficient its buildings are, and also can be. The idea is that making the data available will convince more building owners to retrofit buildings and add in efficient technologies like LEDs and energy management software.
While the buildings in the system now are those owned by the District of Columbia, private building owners will also be able to add their buildings and organize their data. The group is still figuring out if private building owners will have to pay for the service or not, and if so, how much.
Honest Buildings is the startup behind the DC launch, and they’ve also worked with other cities, and organizations on white-label building data platforms. The startup closed a series A round of $5 million to grow its software around real estate projects earlier this year. Honest Building’s investors include The Westly Group, RockPort Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Spring Ventures, Jason Scott, managing partner at EKO Asset Management Partners, and Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Digital Chicago

Digital Chicago Takes Hold through initiatives and innovation enabled by open data and community initiatives.  From a growing list of city services available to support for innovative support to new businesses, the city is taking a proactive stance in both providing open data and catalyst resources to stimulate the evolution of their digital community infrastructure.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

LA Energy - block by block

The UCLA City Energy Map exemplifies visualization of data that may driving planning and infrastructure decisions.  This map is the product of a year-long partnership with UCLA, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). As a tool for visualizing and analyzing the energy usage trends within the city, this map brings greater transparency to the discussion on better energy investments, energy efficiency, and public policy.

The map is the first in a series being developed for the Regional Energy Baselines Project, directed by Stephanie Pincetl, PhD and funded by the California Energy Commission’s PIER program.  Jacki Murdock, an Urban Planning graduate student at the Luskin School of Urban Planning and a CCSC researcher, created the map as part of her Master’s Capstone project. Yoh Kawano, GIS Coordinator at the Institute for Digital Research and Education at UCLA helped advise the GIS efforts on this project. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research are critical partners on the project.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Breaking the Cell Phone Economic Suck ...

Look at the $s sucked out of local communities through the bundeled services provided by your merged entertainment/communications conduit. There must be a better way - a back2theFuture muni model of local services provided by local businesses (see the St. John Telephone Company). 

Google may show the way ....


Google’s Private Cell Phone Network - A small cell network over the company’s HQ could herald new competition for established carriers.

ilings made with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission reveal that Google wants to start operating its own, very small cell phone network on its Mountain View campus. It’s the latest in a series of hints in recent years that Google is unsatisfied with the way that mobile networks control the mobile Internet.
Google tells the FCC it wants to install up to 50 mobile base stations in buildings on the Western edge of Google’s Mountain View campus, just a block or so away from its main Android building. Up to 200 mobile devices will be used on that “experimental” network and the area covered will be small, with indoor base stations reaching only up to 200 meters, and any outdoors ones reaching no further than a kilometer. The WSJ reports that the frequencies used belong to ClearWire, and aren’t compatible with any U.S. mobile device. They are in use in China, Brazil, and India, though.
Google might just be experimenting with devices for those parts of the world. Or it might be trying something more radical. The search and ad giant has been rumored to be exploring the idea of working with TV provider Dish to launch a wireless Internet service, has already got into the business of providing broadband (see “Google’s Internet Service Might Bring the U.S. Up to Speed”), and has a history of showing interest in ideas that would loosen the grip of cellular providers on mobile devices and what people can do with them.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

NY City Unveils Winner of Tiny-Apartment Competition

The entry, “My Micro NY,” packs a lot of space and light into less than 370 square feet.

Make it Small - Make it Livable - and if you must, stack them into cities:)

But if you live in the country - or have a big back yard 

Digital Rights - Sandy Pentland

You own your data, and you should only share it when you get something back in return, argues Sandy Pentland.

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Megacities: soulless sprawl or shining future? - Carl Björkman

Full Draft at Davos 2013

Urbanization - Geoffrey West Intro

Whether we like them or not, megacities will increasingly become the future of our planet, writes the World Economic Forum’s Carl Björkman.
For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. By 2050, the world’s cities will absorb 3 billion people, at which point 70% of the planet will live in urban areas. This represents the biggest shift in human civilization since humankind moved from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement.
Yet, some cities are more than cities. Some are megacities. These giant sprawling urban conurbations pack people, communities and businesses across vast spaces. There are now over 20 megacities or metropolises (population centres with more than 10 million people) scattered around the world – from New York, which still captures our imagination with its skyscrapers crammed like dominos onto the finite Manhattan grid, to the bustling, colourful and crime-plagued Mexico City, and from the self-assured Beijing, the meticulously organized technological hive of Tokyo, the melting pot of Istanbul, the booming vibrant Seoul, to the grand old lady of cities, London.
More megacities are sprouting up, although few in the West may have heard of the new emerging metropolises that will play an increasingly dominant global role: Chengdu and Beihei on the north-eastern Chinese coast; Palembang in Indonesia; Ghaziabad, Surat and Faridabad in India; Chittagong in Bangladesh; and Toluca in Mexico. Their cumulative growth is set to usher in a new era of city living, changing the lives of those who move to them – and the face of the planet.

Davos - People are Cities

Davos Designing Smart Cities Session Summary

How can cities be designed for urban resilience and prosperity?
  • Understand the characteristics of smart cities
  • Rethink infrastructure for resilient dynamism
  • Share best practices and partnership models
Key Points
  • Resilience is the capacity of cities to prepare, respond and recover. 
  • Information technology does not make a city smarter or more resilient; rather, the solution lies in keeping the citizen at the centre and providing better, faster and cheaper services.  
  • Planning matters. 
  • Cities share global values, including the primacy of safety and security, and the importance of convenience.  

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