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Earth Day: 5 Popular Green Initiatives that Rely on Location Intelligence

April 20, 2018
By: Vivian Nguyen

Earth Day is a great time to highlight the actions people and companies can take to improve, and even reverse, harm done to the environment.

Industrialization, modernization, and population growth have taken their toll on the environment, but in today’s tech-enabled world we have the knowledge and technology to serve our planet better. Green initiatives, both big and small, offer our planet hope for a healthy future, and advances in technology are what make many of these initiatives possible.

While location intelligence might not be the first thought that comes to mind alongside ‘green initiatives,’ the two are closely intertwined. Location intelligence provides a critical supporting role to many of the most impactful green initiatives. This can include mapping and data integrations, strategy implementation, planning and development, and general education.

location intelligence green initiatives

Popular Green Initiatives in America

Here’s a look at 5 green initiatives and how government agencies, technology companies, and everyday citizens are using location intelligence to save and celebrate the planet

1. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations

With current estimates that 76% of all oil consumed in the United States is used for transportation, electricity is an appealing alternative fuel that greatly reduces environmentally damaging emissions. The adoption rate of electric and hybrid vehicles is growing, and manufacturers, automakers, utilities, state and federal agencies are responding to the need for more EV charging stations. There are currently more than 16,000 charging stations in the United States, more than half of which have been built since 2015.

Alongside the environmental benefits, there are many incentives for consumers, EV producers, and charging station owners, including parking incentives, utility rate reductions, registration fee reductions, rebates, and tax credits. Additionally, having EV charging stations in a city or town can help drive traffic to local businesses, meet emerging regulations, and establish that city as a green leader.

Easy and affordable access to EV charging stations at home, work, and in public spaces is imperative to faster adoption rates. However, identifying the right locations for these charging stations is critical to the program’s success. Location intelligence platforms can help cities and towns map out where they should place EV charging stations, based on proximity to points of interest, population density, and demographic information.

Location intelligence is also crucial for EV car owners being able to locate charging stations. Google “EV charging station” and chances are your search results will pull up a map of stations located near you. You’ll also get a list of websites and apps that help electric car owners plan trips and locate charging stations from anywhere. Consumers want to feel confident that they will be able to easily charge their cars, and location intelligence plays a huge part in providing the information they need.

2. Solar Energy and Wind Energy Farms

Solar and wind energy are two of the cleanest energy sources available, but finding ideal locations for solar and wind energy farms and their substations can be tricky. Each has specific requirements that must be considered to ensure they are effective, including:

Elevation

Slope

Land availability

Land use

Weather

Solar and wind energy companies dealing with right-of-way projects use location intelligence platforms to gather information about potential sites for generators and substations, including land use, the value of land, and ownership information. Many users require being able to connect to the power grid, and this data layer can be added to a location intelligence platform. Additionally, these companies are able to integrate relevant data into the platform, such as topography, even if it’s not natively offered.

Location intelligence is critical in planning and pre-construction phases to get solar and wind energy projects started. It helps companies find ideal locations, and also provides information on the market value of the land they seek to acquire.

3. Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse projects are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, as developers and consumers alike want to find ways to repurpose old buildings and materials rather than demolish them. An EPA report on green building finds that building-related construction and demolition debris accounts for approximately 48% of the construction industry’s waste stream per year. Adaptive reuse cuts down demolition waste and is considered essential to sustainable development.

Adaptive reuse projects are often the first signs of economic revival in certain areas, and in addition to being better for the environment, they can be quite profitable. A location intelligence platform can help real estate brokers, builders, and land developers locate options for those projects by filtering for criteria that will help pinpoint ideal opportunities. The platform will also provide ownership information, what the land is zoned for, and data about the surrounding area to determine whether the project is worthwhile.

4. Recycling Centers

Recycling was among the first green initiatives to become widely adopted by communities throughout the United States. While people have been recycling for thousands of years, the notion of recycling as a systematic movement emerged right around the time people started celebrating Earth Day in the 1970s.

Widespread programs have led Americans to recycle 34.3% of their overall municipal solid waste on average, and government agencies are increasingly looking for ways to expand local recycling programs. For example, the city of Mission Viejo passed a law requiring all commercial business and multifamily properties to recycle. This law was in direct response to California’s recycling goal of 75% by 2020.

Location intelligence plays an important role in the growth of recycling centers throughout the United States. Government and non-profit agencies use location intelligence platforms to determine where new recycling centers should be located to best serve their communities. By looking at spatial data like population density and demographics, these agencies can make better-educated decisions relative to proposed recycling sites.

Additionally, government agencies can publish these locations to their websites, informing citizens where recycling centers are located. This knowledge is especially important for people living in communities where there is not a curbside recycling program. Using a platform like GovClarity can engage citizens about how and where to recycle, as well as help government entities track the effectiveness of their recycling programs by overlaying their own data.

5. Alternative Transportation Routes

In a commitment to reduce fuel emissions, many urban governments are seeking ways to develop more bike routes. Biking is proven to greatly decrease emissions and reduce local air pollution. A study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy found that bicycling could help reduce carbon emissions from urban transportation by up to 11%. However, this can only happen with a large public policy commitment to developing and promoting bike transportation.

Location intelligence helps government agencies, environmental non-profits, and companies dealing with right-of-way projects plan where to develop bike routes. Spatial analysis shows where the greatest concentration of people are, and where bike routes and bikes shares should be located to help people access dense residential and business areas.

Happy Earth Day everyone! Click here to learn more about how Digital Map Products’ location intelligence platform can help support your green initiatives.

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