- Pavegen has converted a path in London's West End into the first energy-harvesting smart street in the world, according to Inhabitat.
- Bird Street's 107-square-foot pavement produces power for nearby street lamps and Bluetooth transmitters as pedestrians walk across it, New Atlas reported. Steps can also power background bird sounds intended to create a more soothing atmosphere.
- Pavegen's added app lets pedestrians see how much energy their steps have produced, while rewarding them with discounts at stores they've walked past, according to Curbed.
Pavegen's is just another step in the growing push for smarter design in the world's public and private spaces. The Bird Street project, according to New Atlas, is being tested as a potential model for future retail and lifestyle hubs. In addition to its smart pavement, the project also includes one of Airlabs' ClearAir benches that takes in air from behind, filters out harmful gases and particulate matter and emits clean air from its sides and armrests. The development also features Airlite paint that is designed to clean the air of nitrogen oxides, while breaking down bacteria and repelling dust.
Since 2009, Pavegen has completed over 150 projects around the world, from shopping centers to transit areas, like airports and metro stations. Functioning in response to users' weight, each system generates off-grid electricity through electromagnetic induction generators while producing power and sending real-time analytics on the energy that is produced to smart phones and building management systems.
Smart buildings, too, are expected to strengthen their foothold in the market. A May report from Zion Market Research projected the global smart buildings market will increase in value to $36 billion in 2020 — up from $7 billion in 2014 — at a compound annual rate of 30%. Urbanization and government incentives to take up such systems are leading that charge, as more municipalities turn their interests to products and systems that reduce their ecological footprints.
Still, the relatively high costs to implement such systems will likely remain a barrier to widespread adoption. In 2016, Pavegen transformed a section of Washington, DC's Connecticut Avenue into another energy-producing pathway. The project added 194 kinetic tiles, benches and flower beds for around $300,000, The Washington Post reported. Pavegen shouldered $100,000 of that total, though the District spent around an equal amount for underground and site work necessary for the smart pavement.