When common sense and sustainable design come together, amazing ideas can be born. Take Andrew Burdick’s proposal for a new type of lighting on New York City’s recreational fields, for example. During conversations with city schools and extracurricular groups, Burdick, an architect at Ennead, discovered that what the sports teams needed most was more field space. He realized that the issue wasn’t a lack of fields, but the fact that most groups need to use the fields at the same time. To increase the amount of usable time on a field, Burdick designed Smart Grid Athletic Lights, powered by the wind and sun. Not only do the lights allow fields to be used well into the night, but they won’t hog the grid of our cash-strapped city.
In his proposal, Burdick called the concept “Sustainable Philanthropy.” He explained, “By this term, I do not mean this project is simply ‘green;’ rather, it is a project that uses environmentally sustainable technologies to pay for its own maintenance and upkeep, thus being a gift to the community in perpetuity.”
The focus of Burdick’s concept was to create a technology that can improve urban public space while being off-grid or creating a smart grid. Off-the-grid street lights have proved successful in many places, including parts of New York City, but Burdick faced a bigger challenge in that recreation fields require way more light than sidewalks. He designed the lights in such a way to account for these issues, and he says that the lights will generate more power than they consume.
There’s no doubt that the lights would be a money saver in the long run, but the upfront costs are quite hefty. Each light would run between $16,000 and $25,000. Multiply that by 10 or more needed for a single field, and the price tag shoots up to $128,000 to $250,000. However, that’s still cheaper than building a new field altogether.
If Burdick wins the Philips competition, he would receive $177,000 to start the project. Winners will be announced April 27.
Via Fast Co. Design