EPA Announces Installation of Park Benches with Solar-Powered Air Monitors in Five Cities/Village Green community park benches are located in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma City; Kansas City; Hartford


WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 21, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the installation of five Village Green solar-powered air monitoring stations, fitted into park benches that will measure common air pollutants and weather conditions. The project puts science into the hands of citizens, allowing them to access local air quality information from the benches through on-site displays and a mobile-friendly website.

“These new solar-powered, air monitoring park benches provide minute-by-minute data that can help citizens better understand air quality,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Our EPA researchers used the latest science to build the air monitoring systems in park bench stations, empowering people to get involved and learn more about air quality in their neighborhoods and better protect their families.”

To build the air monitoring systems, EPA researchers used air sensors, miniaturized and low-power computer technology, solar panels and other instruments. The bench is made from recycled materials.

Community-based monitoring technology such as the Village Green station provides new ways for Americans to participate in science and learn about local air quality. The real-time data measured by the stations can be used in projects by citizen scientists, students, community organizations and researchers to understand air quality and how events such as weather changes or nearby sources of air pollution can change local conditions.

The pilot station at South Regional Library in Durham County, NC has been operating since June, 2013. It provides reliable readings every minute on levels of fine particle pollution also known as particulate matter (PM), ozone, wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. This prototype location has been a gathering place for the local community to learn about air quality and has allowed EPA researchers to assess how the technology performed over a long period of time.

Three stations were installed in the spring and EPA anticipates deploying the remaining two stations by the end of this summer.

The grant recipients, selected in a competitive solicitation process, are:

1. City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health – Air Management Services, Philadelphia, Pa. The station is located in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia near the National Constitution Center.

2. District Department of the Environment, Washington, DC. The station is located in a children’s area at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

3. Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma City, Okla. The station will be located in the Children’s Garden of the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City.

4. Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas City, Kan. The station is located outside of the new Kansas City South Branch Library.

5. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Hartford, Conn. The station will be located outside of the Connecticut Science Center in Harford.

More information on the Village Green Project: www.epa.gov/villagegreen

Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn (News Media Only) 202-564-7849 202-564-4355

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