EPA offers smart city air challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a Smart City Air Challenge, offering communities an opportunity to compete for up to $40,000 to deploy air sensors and share their data with the public online.

Additional funding of up to $10,00 would be available to winning communities in 2017, based on their accomplishments and collaboration.

The challenge encourages communities to install hundreds of air quality sensors and manage the resulting data. The projects will give individuals a role in collecting the data and understanding how environmental conditions affect their health and their community, said Ann Dunkin, chief information officer for the EPA.

While air quality sensors are becoming less expensive and people are starting to use them to measure pollution levels in their neighborhoods and homes, most sensors aren’t ready for regulatory use. By networking these devices, communities can better understand what is happening at the local level, Dunkin said.

Communities will figure out where to place the sensors and how to maintain the devices, and each community will decide what pollutants they want to measure.

The prize funds will serve as seed money, so communities will need to partner with others, such as sensor manufacturers, data management firms and universities, to provide resources and expertise in topics where communities lack experience.


The deadline to apply is Oct. 28 and winners are to be announced around Dec, 1.

More information is at 

http://www.challenge.gov/challenge/smart-city-air-challenge/ and https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2016/08/smart-cities-air-challenge