By Veronica Penney
Panasonic is building futuristic cities across the globe and Denver is their next stop.
Denver will be home to the new operations hub for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, a branch of the North American division of the multinational corporation. The offices will be located just next to Denver International Airport.
As part of Panasonic’s agreement with the City of Denver, Panasonic will bring their CityNOW vision to the Mile High City, a development called Peña Station NEXT. Instead of contracting one company to plan housing developments and another to handle roads and infrastructure, Panasonic integrates every aspect of housing, transportation, and utilities into their smart towns from the start.
Easily accessible, low environmental impact transportation is a key part of the vision. CO2 emissions per capita in Denver are a staggering 23.7 tons per person, where larger cities like New York weigh in with roughly eight tons of CO2 emissions per person.
Peña Station NEXT aims to reduce the dependency on cars, and with it, Denver’s carbon footprint. Access to public transportation will be available no more than a few blocks from anywhere in the development. Bikes and car shares with rechargeable vehicles will offer an alternative to buses and light rails, and housing close to the airport can reduce the number of people commuting from Denver to their jobs each day.
For people commuting to the airport and Panasonic’s new offices, the Peña Boulevard light rail station, located at 61st Avenue and Peña Boulevard, will solve the missing link in light rail transit between downtown Denver and DIA. Travel time from departure at Union Station to arrival at DIA will be just 41 minutes.
One of the most noticeable additions will be Xcel Energy’s Microgrid. The 1.3 Megawatt AC canopy solar installation will connect a combination of solar panels and Lithium Ion Batteries, acting as the new power and backup power system for DIA.
According to Alice K. Jackson, regional vice president for rates and regulatory affairs at Xcel Energy, the Microgrid will be “the most comprehensive project of this type in Colorado history and the first with actual customer participation in a real-world environment.”
Panasonic is also planning some hands-down neat stuff for Peña Station NEXT. Street lamps that only turn on when you need them? Check. Smart LED streetlights will brighten when there’s foot traffic and dim when not needed. In addition to the energy conserving benefits, the lights will house HD cameras to help keep commuters safe.
Disney-style talking mirrors? Digital restroom mirrors will monitor vitals, measure weight fluctuations, and even offer exercise advice.
Panasonic will also build state-of-the-art health resources to help keep people healthy. According to Panasonic’s press release, a “Health and Wellness Center, supported by Panasonic’s On4Care Remote Health Care solution will enable the commercial and residential population to access health and wellness activities ranging from fitness and health-related education to traditional healthcare and alternative medicine services.”
Patients grappling long-term illnesses will be able to monitor their conditions using technologies integrated into the buildings at Peña Station NEXT. These patients can benefit from “in-home biometric readings and advanced, real-time, patient-doctor interactions while in the comfort of their own homes.”
“Panasonic is delighted to have this opportunity to partner with the city of Denver on providing the technology to help meet their sustainability and smart goals,” said Panasonic Corporation of North American Chairman & CEO Joseph M. Taylor in a press release.
“At Panasonic, our approach is never about developing technology for technology’s sake, but instead about how we can enable technology to improve the quality of people’s lives.”