Solar City

Chicago, as a dynamically growing city, brings detriments to the health of the environment, and in turn creates unhealthy living conditions. One of these unhealthy detriments is air pollution, specifically the air pollution that is caused by the energy that powers Illinois. Most of Illinois energy comes from nuclear power, along with coal and natural gases (1), emitting large amounts of CO2 into the air and creating nuclear waste. Poor air quality may cause some health problems such as asthma, respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation, or shortness of breath, all worsening when exposed to the poor air quality for long periods of time (2). Chicago’s energy use furthers overall air pollution by depending on the nuclear and coal power, adding to climate change and overarching health problems.

Instead of using Illinois’s nuclear energy and creating low air quality for the homes that surround the nuclear power plants, or overall furthering air pollution for the Chicagoland area, Chicago can create its own energy by incorporating solar panels in its urban design. By using renewable energy to power homes, business and manufacturing buildings, Chicago will not aid in the emissions of nuclear and CO2 waste in the air, but instead create cleaner air quality. Having solar panels on buildings to create energy will further Chicago’s goal in becoming a more sustainable and healthy city.

Trees are also a useful source for cleaning Chicago’s contaminated air, as well as creating an abundance of green city spaces such as green roofs, parks, and informal planted areas, which create “carbon sinks” (3). Green space carbon sinks would clean Chicago’s air by consuming carbon emissions and releasing oxygen. Having more natural areas in any urban environment would improve air quality, creating clean and healthy living conditions, as well as a more sustainable city.

Good planning is providing a healthy and livable environment, which includes reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and combating the threat of climate change (4). Cities’ goals of eliminating or reducing air pollution is a step towards a healthy earth.

Image result for solar roofs in chicago

Sources:

  1. http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=IL#tabs-4
  2. http://www.sparetheair.org/Stay-Informed/Air-Quality-and-Your-Health.aspx
  3. https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/future-health.pdf
  4. https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/hupintroduction.pdf

 

Pictures:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0131/Q-A-Illinois-nuclear-plant-loses-power.-What-got-vented-into-the-air

http://www.kipnisarch.com/

 

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Solar City

  1. I wrote about our air quality issues as well and found an article written by the American Public Health Administration to be really useful. It dives directly into the problem and possible solutions for cleaning up our air. I took a more minimizing CO2 emissions through monetary incentives view on the subject and I really like the way you looked at it from a more proactive approach. They compliment each other very well.

    http://apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/11/15/21/the-public-health-impact-of-energy-policy

    Like

  2. This is a great issue you’re tackling here. Solar panels seem to be the savior to all our problems, all we need to do incorporate them. This has become especially easy nowadays due to solar panel prices dropping. As I looked up for more information, it turns out that solar lights are pretty cool but will not provide any sort of help during blackouts. Solar panels need to be independent from power grids. Here’s the link to the short article, it’s quite informative: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/17/348987688/when-the-powers-out-solar-panels-may-not-keep-the-lights-on

    Like

  3. I also wrote about the air quality that is being exposed. I liked the fact you pointed out more information other than just planting trees can help. It would be a great idea to have more solar panels on buildings ,however, they are expensive. I found this article that gives more ideas of the air quality as well.
    http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/about/2040/supporting-materials/process-archive/scenario-evaluation/scenario-outcomes/air-quality

    Like

  4. Solar energy is an excellent alternative to power supply instead of nuclear, coal and natural gas.
    Unfortunately it can be a very pricey option and not many people are able to afford the installation of solar panels on their homes. Until the prices become more reasonable I do not see many people going out of their way to commit to solar energy. An alternative could be that businesses should be required to install solar panels to help generate a percentage of their electricity usage and reduce consumption from the grid.

    https://www.solarpowerauthority.com

    http://energy.gov/energysaver/grid-connected-renewable-energy-systems

    Like

  5. I believe that the incorporation of solar energy in architecture and the addition of more green space will benefit the city and its surrounding environment in the long-run. Green spaces will both aesthetically please those who are surrounding them and physically benefit the environment. Solar panels will help reduce energy use and contribute to a healthier city and state. The development of these innovations will require a lot of expenses. However, state funding is often used on unnecessary projects and ideas. Tax money being used on less important matters can be directed toward these new technologies and the development of a more sustainable city.

    https://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-state-government-wastes-hundreds-of-millions-of-taxpayer-dollars/

    Like

  6. I’m an architecture major and pairing renewable energies with structure is something I’m really interested in. Investing in a combination of both wind and solar energies is something that could be really beneficial for a city like Chicago. Here’s an article that you would probably find interesting. It shows just how powerful renewable energies can be, something that might surprise most people.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/vermont-city-come-rely-100-percent-renewable-energy/

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s