Preserving the Environment

This Park Bench Does More Than Just Sit Around

July 7, 2014
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This Park Bench Does More Than Just Sit Around
Sandra Richter, co-founder and CEO of Soofa, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.
Soaking up the rays turns it into an energy powerhouse.

We’d never advocate anyone to remain on their behinds all day, but here’s a novel exception: If you’re sitting on a Soofa, you’re actually hanging out on something that creates energy.

Boston’s parks are getting wicked cool, solar-powered benches that can charge phones via USB, as well as check local the air quality and noise levels using location-based environmental information, the Boston Globe reports. The service is provided to the city for free, thanks to funding from Cisco Systems.

Bostonians will soon see the benches in Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common and Rose Kennedy Greenway. Residents can request additional parks to install Soofas by pinning a location to this online map (which is already lit up like a Christmas tree) or by tweeting the location to @newurbanmechs. You can also submit name ideas for benches if you want.

MORE: This Man’s Seriously Bright Idea is Giving People the Ability to Create Power Anywhere

In the video below, Soofa designer Sandra Richter and Boston mayor Marty Walsh have a chat about the city’s new toy. As mayor Walsh says, the benches aren’t just a convenient way to juice up your phone: “I also think it’s a way for us to educate the public on the environment on all the initiatives we have,” adding, “if [the public gets] into the habit of checking the air quality and the other things we can do on this [bench], it will help us with what we’re trying to do as far as having sustainable communities.”

As we’ve said before, solar power might just be the cheapest form of energy. Harnessing the clean, green power of the sun is a smart financial move, plus it also allows communities to create power just with the sun’s rays and peel themselves off the grid.

But, really, any excuse to enjoy some sunshine sounds good to us.

[ph]

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