With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent each day, many believe it is crucial that we strive to reshape the way we live, transforming our urban centers into sustainable cities. By focusing on energy efficiency, green spaces, and reduced pollution, we can create a future where our cities are green not just on Earth Day, but every day.
Traditional gas-powered modes of transportation produce a significant amount of pollution and obtaining the fuel to power these vehicles can destroy valuable plant and animal habitats. The green cities of the future will incorporate new, clean transportation technology to ensure people get where they need to go, without damaging the environment. Scientists and environmentalists hope that one day the following will be reality.
• Public transportation will be powered by super-efficient solar panels and use smart technology to better coordinate routes and schedules.
• Electric cars will be powered by clean electricity from smart grids that utilize wind and solar energy sources.
• New, radical forms of transportation, like the Hyperloop and super-speed trains will reduce the need for energy-intensive airplane flights for longer trips.
Most people already recycle and choose energy efficient appliances, but in order to reach the truly sustainable cities of our future, more drastic and innovative approaches will need to be adopted. These may include:
• Buildings will be equipped with smart monitoring technology to track performance and adapt to people’s needs, reducing wasted energy and money.
• Green roofs, or roofs with plants on top, will help regulate a building’s internal temperature, while absorbing rainwater, providing us with fresh oxygen, and in some cases, producing delicious fruits and vegetables.
• Energy independent homes and buildings, equipped with solar panels, small-scale wind turbines, and geothermal heating, will reduce pressure on power grids and allow people to choose clean sources of energy for their homes.
Burning carbon-based fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas, for energy to power our lives is one of the biggest contributors of pollution and climate-altering greenhouse gases. Green cities of the future are likely to use renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, combined with smart grids and improved solar cells and wind turbines to provide clean energy. Here are a few more predictions about the future of energy.
• As solar panels become smaller, cheaper, and more efficient, they will be utilized throughout sustainable cities on buildings, streetlights, and vehicles.
• Innovations in wind turbines could produce more efficient versions that are bladeless, float in the ocean, or even are high up in the atmosphere.
• Smart grids will allow consumers and power providers to communicate energy needs and uses in real time, which will increase energy efficiency, save money, and reduce blackouts.