Environment

Shoppers in London can turn footsteps into electricity

Shoppers in London can turn fo...
Bird Street shoppers generating electricity just by walking down the Pavegen path installed in Bird Street, London
Bird Street shoppers generating electricity just by walking down the Pavegen path installed in Bird Street, London
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Bird Street before and after photos
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Bird Street before and after photos
The 10 sq m Pavegen walkway in Bird Street, London
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The 10 sq m Pavegen walkway in Bird Street, London
Kinetic energy from pedestrian traffic is harvested by the Pavegen V3 panels in Bird Street, London, and converted to electricity
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Kinetic energy from pedestrian traffic is harvested by the Pavegen V3 panels in Bird Street, London, and converted to electricity
Origami-inspired retail units have been placed down one side of Bird Street, featuring pop-up shops tempting passers-by with fresh food and vintage clothing
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Origami-inspired retail units have been placed down one side of Bird Street, featuring pop-up shops tempting passers-by with fresh food and vintage clothing
Pedestrians can see how much energy has been harvested by the Pavegen panels via a smartphone app
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Pedestrians can see how much energy has been harvested by the Pavegen panels via a smartphone app
Bird Street shoppers generating electricity just by walking down the Pavegen path installed in Bird Street, London
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Bird Street shoppers generating electricity just by walking down the Pavegen path installed in Bird Street, London
Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway
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Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway
Airlite paint has been used in the Bird Street zone, which is claimed capable of stripping the air of nitrogen oxides, munching on bacteria and repelling dust
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Airlite paint has been used in the Bird Street zone, which is claimed capable of stripping the air of nitrogen oxides, munching on bacteria and repelling dust
Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway
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Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway
A bespoke ClearAir bench from Airlabs has been installed, which sucks in air from behind, removes nasty gases such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and then pumps cleaned air out the sides and armrests
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A bespoke ClearAir bench from Airlabs has been installed, which sucks in air from behind, removes nasty gases such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and then pumps cleaned air out the sides and armrests
A bespoke ClearAir bench from Airlabs has been installed, which sucks in air from behind, removes nasty gases such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and then pumps cleaned air out the sides and armrests
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A bespoke ClearAir bench from Airlabs has been installed, which sucks in air from behind, removes nasty gases such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and then pumps cleaned air out the sides and armrests
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Bird Street, just off Oxford Street in London's West End, has undergone something of a transformation recently, going from an underused retail zone offshoot to the "world's first Smart Street." Designed to showcase the High Street of the future, it merges pollution-busting and sustainable technology with a traffic-free shopping and dining experience.

The hustle and bustle of Oxford Street can be a bit overwhelming. London's premium outdoor shopping zone is noisy, very busy and often cramped. By contrast, Bird Street has been designed to be an oasis of calm and relaxation. And shoppers cutting between Barret Street and Oxford Street can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway.

Each of the company's V3 panel has three 500 mm sides and is reported capable of turning footsteps into 5 W of continuous power, while also gathering pedestrian flow metrics. Kinetic energy harvested in Bird Street will be converted to electricity and used to power street lamps and background bird sounds, as well as Bluetooth transmitters.

Shoppers pounding down the street can see how much electricity their steps are producing via a smartphone and could even find themselves being rewarded for their efforts, with branded apps converting footfall into discounts and vouchers. Audio speakers along the route will enhance calm by throwing out bird sounds activated by shoppers walking on the Pavegen panels.

Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway
Shoppers bustling down Bird Street - between Barret Street and Oxford Street - can become walking power generators thanks to a 10 sq m (107 sq ft) Pavegen walkway

At one end of the street, a bespoke ClearAir bench from Airlabs has been installed. The bench sucks in air from behind, removes nasty gases such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and then pumps cleaned air out of the sides and armrests.

Airlite paint has been used in the Bird Street zone, too. The water-based paints are claimed capable of stripping the air of nitrogen oxides, munching on bacteria and repelling dust, with the company saying that 100 sq m of Airlite-painted surface "has the same NOx absorbing qualities as 100 m2 of mature tree-covered forests." All without consuming any energy.

The Bird Street pilot project has been designed as a testbed for future retail, fashion and lifestyle hubs. And funky "origami-inspired" geometric retail units from by Harry Dobbs Design have been positioned down one side of the pedestrian-only street, featuring pop-up shops tempting passers-by with fresh food or vintage clothing.

"It's great to see innovative 'smart street' scheme delivered on Bird Street, the concepts and ideas of which could easily be adapted across London," said Transport for London's Alex Williams. "I hope we can see further examples of this innovative 21st century thinking in the future as we work to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area to make it a world-class public space for all."

Source: Pavegen

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2 comments
S Michael
How much does this innovative idea cost per sq foot?
Bob Stuart
I'd sure like to see video of this after a month. I'll bet that unless the power harvested is insignificant, people will be walking around these panels because they feel like walking in sand.