ComEd and Aclima launch hyperlocal air quality portal
October 5, 2023
ComEd and Aclima launch hyperlocal air quality portal
air.health/il features air pollutant measurements for Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood to support new and existing clean air projects from ComEd and community partners.
CHICAGO – October 5, 2023 – To help communities identify areas with high concentrations of air pollutants and develop programs to mitigate their negative effects, ComEd recently launched the first phase of an online air quality portal with Aclima, a climate technology leader specializing in block-level, hyperlocal air quality and greenhouse gas mapping and analysis.
The hyperlocal, air quality monitoring effort was the first of its kind in Illinois, developed under ComEd’s Community of the Future (CoF) initiative. The portal currently features air quality and greenhouse gas measurements across Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. The data, visualized in interactive maps designed for the public at air.health/il, will help ComEd and its community partners build upon their ongoing efforts to pilot advanced technologies that support community benefits and improve air quality in Bronzeville, where there are pockets of degraded air quality near industrial sites and high-trafficked areas like the I-90 expressway.
The portal, which also features data for portions of Rockford, Ill., another area participating in ComEd’s CoF initiative, is being shared publicly to encourage both individuals and organizations to better understand the typical average air quality in their communities and help develop programs that can improve air quality for local residents.
“We’ve seen how under-resourced and Environmental Justice Communities of Concern have been negatively impacted by harmful pollutants, including from vehicle tailpipes,” said Mark Baranek senior vice president of technical services, ComEd. “Our goal is to maintain and extend the electric grid to support all our customers in accessing clean energy so that, together we help improve air quality in a way that benefits all our customers and leaves no community behind.”
ComEd will review air quality monitoring data to assess the impact of its efforts to boost electrification across the region. Recently, ComEd announced investments to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption for its customers, a key component in the effort to lower carbon emissions and enhance air quality for communities. ComEd’s $231 million investments will launch new rebates, rate options, customer programs and pilot studies to support the move to cleaner energy technologies, including EVs. ComEd’s investments in electrification also deliver on a key goal outlined in the state’s landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which calls for putting one million EVs on Illinois roads by 2030, along with a significant reduction in carbon emissions.
“Aclima is proud to support ComEd’s efforts to reduce the emissions that threaten public health and our environment,” said Davida Herzl, CEO and co-founder at Aclima. “Aclima’s technology helps target swift, effective climate action in the communities who need it most — and provides the public with important information about the air they breathe every day. We look forward to expanding our mapping efforts across the Chicago area to help inform emissions reductions and clean air infrastructure planning, especially in light of the historic investments from the Inflation Reduction Act.”
ComEd worked with Aclima to deploy the company’s fleet of low-emission vehicles, equipped with state-of-the-art, air monitoring sensors in both Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and Rockford, Ill. Aclima hired local community members as vehicle operators and other members of the team.
From October 2021 through September 2022, the Aclima fleet drove block by block along every publicly accessible street in the mapping areas around the clock, capturing air on each block at different times of the day and days of the week. As the vehicle drives, it collects air quality data every second, uploading billions of measurements to the cloud for analysis and visualization by Aclima scientists and engineers. Among the air pollutants tracked were black carbon, ozone, particulate matter, nitrous dioxide, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
The goal was to understand air-quality patterns over an entire season, develop a baseline of air quality data so progress can be tracked over time, and promote opportunities to improve air quality through beneficial electrification. For example, organizations can use the data to target electric fleet vehicle deployments to corridors that are most significantly impacted by poor air quality.
“To enable families to succeed and businesses to thrive, they need equal footing both economically and environmentally,” said Bruce Montgomery, a member of the Bronzeville CoF advisory council and vice president of intergovernmental affairs at JitneyEV, an electric-vehicle transportation and charging company serving residents and businesses in and around Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. “I am proud to be part of an innovative group that is identifying areas of improvement and providing the people there with the tools to develop solutions that can both improve health outcomes and create jobs.”
ComEd and Aclima recently launched a second phase of air quality monitoring to extend mapping coverage to neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago. Areas selected will support the Community Research Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS), an urban-integrated field laboratory led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in partnership with academic and community organizations and civic and industry champions. Located in Chicago, CROCUS develops advanced, observational science related to climate change and public health impact. Phase two air quality data should be available to ComEd in mid-2024.
Sarah Cafasso, Director of Communications, Aclima, firstname.lastname@example.org, (978) 944-1946
ComEd Media Relations, (312) 394-3500
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com and connect with the company on Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube.
Aclima is pioneering an entirely new way to diagnose the health of our air and track climate-changing pollution. Powered by our network of roving and stationary sensors, Aclima measures air pollution and greenhouse gases at unprecedented scales and with block-by-block resolution. Our professional analytics software, Aclima Pro, translates billions of scientific measurements into environmental intelligence for governments, companies, and communities. Aclima is a purpose-driven technology company committed to a rigorous, science-driven approach that catalyzes bold climate action to protect public health, reduce emissions, and deliver clean air for all. To learn more, visit aclima.io.