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Tel Aviv pilots shade-giving, solar-powered fabric that lights up at night

City installs award-winning Lumiweave system at Atidim Park, home to high-tech, finance, medical companies

Lumiweave, designed by Anai Green, is a self-lighting, solar-cell packed, outdoor fabric, that won one of four prizes in 2020's international Women4Climate Tech challenge. (Courtesy: Anai Green)
Lumiweave, designed by Anai Green, is a self-lighting, solar-cell packed, outdoor fabric, that won one of four prizes in 2020's international Women4Climate Tech challenge. (Courtesy: Anai Green)

The municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is piloting a new, environmentally friendly system designed to provide shade during the day and serve as a lighting installation once the sun sets in the city’s Atidim Park, an industrial area in Ramat Hahayal that is home to dozens of high-tech, financial, media, and medical companies.

The award-winning system, Lumiweave, was created by Anai Green, an Israeli industrial and product designer who nabbed international recognition for her work in 2020 as part of a global climate tech competition for women. The challenge was organized by Women4Climate, an organization that brings together mayors, entrepreneurs, innovators, students, scientists, and activists to enhance women’s participation and leadership in building a sustainable future.

In 2020, Tel Aviv was one of four hosts of C40 Cities, a network of municipality leaders collaborating to address climate change. C40 brings together close to 100 world cities.

Last week, Tel Aviv set up the Lumiweave for a trial period at Atidim, during which Green and the municipality will monitor the system’s performance with an eye toward more installations across the city. The project is also coordinated with the municipality’s Cityzone organization, a smart city and urban tech lab where technologies are vetted and tested under real-city conditions.

The municipality said Lumiweave was a “unique project” that addresses “climate change and the growing challenge of shading in urban areas with a technological solution that operates based on renewable and clean energy, and enables the supply of lighting without the polluting fuels.”

The soft fabric is embedded with solar, organic photovoltaics (PV) cells for off-the-grid light and shade, with a number of possible applications from stand-alone, localized shade umbrellas, to canopies, and shading enclosures.

The system requires no electrical infrastructure, saving on costs, and can provide lighting at night for up to three days without sun. But Tel Aviv, and Israel generally, get plenty of sunshine with an average of about 300 sunny days for the city every year.

Illustration by Anai Green of Tel Aviv of her self-lighting, solar-cell packed outdoor fabric, Lumiweave, which won a prize at the 2020 Women4Climate challenge. (Courtesy)

In January, the Israeli government approved an ambitious plan to plant 450,000 trees in urban areas to provide shade and help cool temperatures as climate change kicks in.

The target is to be achieved between now and 2040 and to cost an estimated NIS 2.25 billion ($716 million). The trees will be planted along some 30,000 kilometers (18,640 miles) of road, coming out to around 150 trees per kilometer.

Israelis ride electric scooters on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, on May 5, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Tel Aviv’s long-time mayor, Ron Huldai, said the city was “one of the world’s leading cities in climate protection” and an active member of the C40 organization, having undertaken “real commitments to improve air quality and the transition to green energy.”

“We are committed to action,” said Huldai, adding that LumiWeave “will turn out to be a groundbreaking project.”

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