Solar-powered benches coming to London

The owner of London business district Canary Wharf has announced plans to introduce solar-powered benches which will allow passers-by to charge their phone and digitally discover the local area.

The smart-benches, created by Strawberry Energy, were developed during Canary Wharf Group’s Cognicity Challenge, which was set up to identify and pilot smart-city technology on the estate.

Strawberry Energy founder Milos Milisavljevic said: “We developed the Strawberry Bench as part of a modern smart city that cares for its residents, commuters and visitors.

“It enhances people’s experience in public spaces and motivates them to enjoy hands-on experience of renewable energy. Strawberry Benches will help to make London a smart city for smart people.”

Mobile revolution

Four benches will be installed in late summer 2015. When asked about plans to instal more of these benches across the country, a spokesperson for Strawberry Energy said: “We are at various stages of discussion to see benches of similar design and with features to suit each customer roll out across Britain, including in other commercial areas and boroughs of London.”

As well as free mobile phone charging, the benches will provide multiple services such as relevant local information, air quality levels, and an emergency call button.

Milisavljevic added: “Our everyday needs are changing at an incredible rate to keep up with advances in technology.

“We are experiencing the mobile revolution, but public spaces have remained largely unaltered and our not meeting our daily needs. We intend to change that by developing better street furniture that will make life easier.”

Get smart

The Cognicity Challenge has already funded the implementation of an energy-from-waste scheme and an intelligent building control system at the Canary Wharf estate.

In May, SEaB Energy was awarded £50,000 to develop a micro power plant that turns food and organic waste into heat, energy and water directly on-site where the waste is produced. The plant could provide up to 10% of Canary Wharfs energy

Demand Logic also received £50,000 to install its web system that monitors and controls non-essential electrical outputs such as air condition, heating and ventilation, which could save up to 10% of the annual energy bill.

UK cities are generally regarded as some of the smartest and most sustainable in the world, with a recent index ranking London, Birmingham and Manchester in the global top 20.

Brad Allen

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