La Sombrilla

Working with artist Jose Ortiz Pagan and Bahay 215, Holobiont Lab provided technical support and assembly of an autonomous power source for La Sombrilla, a self-sustaining planter installation to combat urban heat.

The collective design of La Sombrilla is based around narratives shared by migrant communities in Southeast Philadelphia. In addition, the raw materials used were formed out of repurposed/reclaimed materials.

Holobiont Lab provided a solar power set up that provided continuous power to LED lighting and a misting apparatus. In addition, electronics were configured to offer a remote operation.

These efforts culminated in a family friendly Block Party and unveiling in the Southwark School parking lot in South Philly on May 21, 2022. Activities included food, music, art making, and Indonesian folkloric dance.

La Sombrilla brings to mind the direct impact of climate change in our urban environments, and with that, the need for grassroots, sustainable ways to mitigate and address the challenges that our communities are facing.

TPL facebook video

Tech details

The ingredients:

  • 100W solar panel
  • Victron charge controller
  • 50ah lithium Ion Phosphate battery
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Relay module
  • 12V pump
  • 15W USB DC Buck Voltage Step-down Module

This setup is basically a version of our irigaciilo built into the bench of the heat shelter. A  Victron charge controller charges a 50Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery powered by a 100 W solar panel on the roof of the shelter. Mounted next to the charge controller is a small board with a raspberry pi single board computer loaded with the open source Sustainable Irrigation Platform, which we use in our irigaciilo. The Raspberry Pi is connected via it's GPIO pins to a relay which in turn powers a 12V pump. The pump moves water from a barrel through tubes to the top of the shelter, to irrigate plants up top or push water out through a mister to cool folks below.

Once up and running we could manage and watch the battery and charging aspects via the Victron Connect app and use the web interface or SIP app to manage irigaciilo.

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