Variations on the Velarium by Michael D Newton
Feb 5, 2015
Thanks for your proposal! You might take a look at the heat island maps to help you focus on some areas to pilot your idea. https://www.climatecolab.org/resources/-/wiki/Main/Urban+Heat+Island+Effect (last link under References) Don't forget to make any changes before the deadline tonight. Good luck! Best, Hanaa
Feb 6, 2015
Greetings Hanaa, Thank you for your kind suggestion. In addition to urban use, I see the modern Velarium used by growers who hire migrant workers (the workers could at least work in the shade); and the modern Velarium would also provide a source of electric power for cooling fans and misting, perhaps to power light machinery to help with the harvest, and to pump clean water to the workers, among other uses. I see the modern Velarium as an immediate answer to the problem of older buildings and low-income neighborhoods that perhaps do not have ready access to capital for the purpose of refitting their buildings and homes to conserve energy. The modern Velarium would provide shade (and savings in terms of electricity not used) for people who would benefit most from spending less on utility costs. The savings could be collectively applied to replace windows or refit one structure at a time as funds became available. The Velarium also produces electricity for the local grid precisely where it will be used, as opposed to power plants with coal, etc. miles away that lose a large percentage of the power they generate simply in transmission.
Feb 18, 2015
Congratulations on making it to the Semi-Finals for the Urban Heat Island Effect contest. Please take into consideration the comments left by the judges and do please incorporate that feedback into your final proposal. We look forward to seeing your ideas finalized in the next iteration!
Feb 18, 2015
Dear Michael: The CoLab had a typo in their previous message to you. The contest closes on March 1st, NOT the 31st. Below are your proposal's comments from the judging team. Thank you for participating! Judge 1: This proposal needs clarification in terms of deployment, structural system, feasibility and quantification of impact. Judge 2: This is fascinating all around, certainly a unique concept. I like that you have clearly thought through the various players involved and what their roles would be, and I like the concept of a pilot program in several cities with monitoring of effectiveness. There are several aspects that I don't fully understand that would be helpful to have clarified: 1. I don't fully understand how the balloons work. What kind of balloons? How would you keep them in place? How would you keep them from popping? What height approximately would the Velarium be suspended? Would you need a neighborhood of houses approximately the same heights for this to work? 2. You explain some of the benefits clearly, but there are some fairly obvious potential drawbacks that I think need to be addressed as well. For example, presumably the velarium is suspended over areas that already have growing plants in them (grass, trees, bushes, etc.). What happens to those green plants, which are important in the heat island for lowering temperatures, improving air quality, and reducing stormwater runoff? And with rainwater, is the velarium pervious or would the rain runoff somewhere, and how would that be channeled properly into the storm sewer system? 3. How would you capture the solar energy produced by the solar cells in the canvas? Is it 'plugged in' somewhere? 4. I think neighborhood pushback is a potentially big problem - very few people are going to want a permanent shade on their homes. I understand the concept for an open space that people only inhabit for small periods of time, but permanently over dwellings is a hard sell. How do you convince people that they should do this? Also, do you take it down when summer ends? Thank you for a truly unique idea! I look forward to engaging further.
Laur Hesse Fisher
Mar 4, 2015
Dear proposal authors: The Finalist selection phase has been extended so Judges could finalize their comments. The Fellow team will be in touch with more details as they arise. Thank you for your patience and understanding. ~~ Laur Climate CoLab Project Manager
Mar 6, 2015
Judging comments: This is a really novel and creative idea that brings us back in time centuries (millenia, maybe?). We really think that it is interesting and worth public comment. Thank you for submitting.
Mar 16, 2015
The idea is certainly interesting, and very creative... but the use of balloons in urban areas - especially in UHI areas that increasingly generate their own climates/weather is highly impractical. Even trying to anchor down the system and keep the balloons in place would be a nightmare and significantly increase costs, not to mention the multiple issues if a sudden weather system hit. This system is essentially a series of large floating sails that would be a nightmare if they got loose...
Mar 18, 2015
Autophagy as a basis for the health-promoting effects of vitamin D Maria Høyer-Hansen, Sasja Pauline Schultz Nordbrandt and Marja Ja¨a¨ttela¨ Apoptosis Department and Centre for Genotoxic Stress Research, Institute of Cancer Biology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark Link----- file:///C:/Users/Guest/Downloads/0a85e53bae14d2b517000000.pdf Given the numerous benefits of sunlight (albeit there are some hazards) would the holes in the "V" be sufficient for the cities to receive optimum sunlight !!
Mar 19, 2015
I would like to thank the individuals from Copenhagen for their recent comments, and take this opportunity to respond. Your concern about not enough sunlight reaching city inhabitants is certainly valid. The concept I have proposed is not a total cover of urban areas, i.e., like an umbrella would shelter a single person. The modern version of the velarium has regular "ports" in the material to allow direct sunlight to reach the area beneath it. In addition, the velarium would not be used over parks, green spaces, etc. that would require regular sunlight. The configuration of the velarium can be adjusted to shade small or large areas; and in my design, one or more velarium canopies can be joined together with a mechanism that would permit swift and easy connection/release of the different canopies. My goal with this idea is to shade high-temperature urban areas that absorb great amounts of heat energy, thus regularly interrupting the urban landscape with appropriately-sized canopies that also generate clean energy. There would be plenty of direct sunlight reaching the ground, and--I believe--enough Vitamin D absorption to keep residents in good health and excellent spirits!
Mar 19, 2015
In his comments on the velarium proposal, drgeoff raises understandable questions regarding deployment and maintenance, particularly with the use of balloons to suspend the canopies. While I will not claim to have addressed every aspect of the project, I have devoted time to consider weather conditions, aspects of the ground tether(s), and the need for rapid deployment and collection of individual canopies. First, the canopies would have "slits" regularly spaced along the fabric to allow wind to "spill" through, as it were. City banners mounted on light poles are similarly designed to reduce the effects of wind gusts, etc. Second, weather prediction is not perfect by any means, but thunderstorms, high winds, and the like can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy, which leads to my third point. This concept is designed for quick deployment and collection, so in the event of a sudden unforeseen weather situation, the velarium can be quickly and efficiently "grounded" to prevent damage, or "escape," etc. Fourth, each tether has "shock absorbers" to counter large gusts of wind, thus reducing the likelihood of a tether being pulled loose. Fifth, the design also provides for multiple tethers to be attached to each canopy, in case one or more is compromised. Sixth, just like a mass ascension of (tethered) hot air balloons, the velarium would be raised and kept in a relatively constant position by attending to altitude, wind direction and speed, and the volume of helium contained within the balloon envelope. It is certainly necessary that the concept be tested and proven in all situations that are likely to occur. Some adjustments to the design will--no doubt--need to be made. However, balloons have been proven to be both increasingly durable and manageable, from the time of the Montgolfier brothers (1783) to the non-stop around-the-world voyage of Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones (1999). I believe we will continue to find innovative ways to use balloons to better our lives and to give us much needed new perspectives.
Mar 24, 2015
An article about how electric cars can help reduce the heat island effect appeared in a recent edition of Midwest Energy News. The article can be read on the link here: http://www.citymetric.com/horizons/electric-cars-could-help-cool-down-our-cities-865
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