At the Urban Future Lab, every day is Earth Day
NYU Tandon’s Urban Future Lab, part of the school’s extensive network of entrepreneurial spaces, is a major hub of cleantech innovation in New York City and beyond. Its initiatives include ACRE, a business incubation program for startups addressing climate change; PowerBridgeNY, a proof-of-concept center commercializing research from local universities; and Clean Start, an advanced diploma from NYU for people seeking a transition into the cleantech sector.
This past April, on Earth Day, the organization held its first-ever Urban Future Summit. The event included panel discussions on such topics as the future of infrastructure in New York City and smart-grid technology, and the keynote address was given by Alicia Barton, the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), who spoke about the state’s commitment to meeting the climate challenge. (Under Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal, New York State is committing to 100% renewable energy by 2040 — which would make it the first state in the country to reach this milestone.)
A highlight of the day came courtesy of the New York Community Trust, which funded a $50,000 Smart City Prize, which went to Watchtower Robotics, a startup from Boston that has developed an in-pipe robot that affordably and accurately detects water leaks; and a $50,000 Smart Grid Award, which went to Amperon, a startup based here in NYC that brings to market accurate meter-forecasting capabilities for utilities.
Managing Director of CleanTech Initiatives Pat Sapinsley urged that this was an “all hands on deck moment” for addressing climate change, requiring immediate action, and the Summit — sponsored by NYSERDA, NYU Tandon, the New York Community Trust, Con Edison, NYCEDC, and Silverstein Properties — proved to be a stellar forum for strategizing, collaborating, and finding inspiration.