Edmonton has a bright idea for Clean Air Day
June 6, 2018

A new light installation with a smart technology twist was unveiled at City Hall today to celebrate Clean Air Day.

Using IFTTT (If This Then That) technology, which connects apps and services to unexpected products, the installation’s Wi-Fi light bulbs translates air quality data into colour, to put a spotlight on the importance of clean air.

“Clean Air Day is an annual reminder to appreciate and protect something most of us take for granted every day,” said Councillor Andrew Knack. “It also gets people thinking about ways to improve Edmonton’s air quality. These could include being idle free, taking alternative modes of transportation or planting a tree.”  

Edmonton is the first city in Canada to partner with IFTTT. People who own Wi-Fi enabled coloured light bulbs can connect using the IFTTT app to monitor local air quality, represented by the colour of the light.

“We’re excited to showcase this new technology,” said Paul Ross, Branch Manager of Economic and Environmental Sustainability. “It can help alert people with asthma or chronic breathing conditions to take precautions to protect their health.”  

The light installation uses open-source code first developed by the City of Louisville. Jan Mußenbrock, an Edmonton developer with BetaCityYEG, used IFTTT to turn code into a bridge between Wi-Fi light bulbs and the Province of Alberta’s air quality health index data. The index is updated every five minutes.

The lantern installation is a new work from local artist Dylan Toymaker, whose work has been part of Edmonton events including the Flying Canoe Festival and Zoominescence. The installation will be on display in City Hall through the month of June.

Clean Air Day, part of Environment Week, is recognized across Canada on June 6 to celebrate clean air and good health and promote the importance of air quality to our health, environment and economy.