2017 Semifinalist
Winners:
Environmental Protection Agency
January 1, 2017
Jurisdiction:
Federal

The Village Green Project provides local-level, robust, real-time air pollution measurements using low-cost monitoring sensor technologies housed in a community-friendly park bench. This solar- and wind-powered system is in demand by cities across the US because it provides real-time information on the local quality of the air. Each Village Green station continuously measures two common air pollutants (ozone and fine particulate matter), as well as wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity. The measurements are transmitted to a website every minute. The stations are currently all located in public environments, including elementary schools, public libraries, the National Zoo, a national park historic site, and a public children’s garden. Not only do the stations engage the public into learning about local air quality, but the stations have also been shown to closely compare with higher-cost monitoring stations and produce data suitable for research studies on air pollution trends. Engaging the public in learning about local air quality is just as important as the technological advances. While the first prototype was in its infancy, the Village Green research team engaged with the public through blogs and videos. Continuing outreach has been significant, with Environmental Protection Agency and partner social media efforts amplifying the project. In one case, the launch of the Philadelphia station had over 3 million impressions and nearly 300,000 accounts reached on twitter, and the Village Green Project has been covered in media outlets ranging from Fast Company to local news stations.