Last updated March 13th 2016
Lots of cities have free Wi-Fi, but only one – so far – has an eTree.
This revolutionary ecological installation from Israel’s Sologic provides free wireless Internet, charging stations for electronic devices, nighttime lighting, and water coolers for humans and dogs – all powered by a “canopy” of solar panels.
Just before the ceremonious unveiling of the very first eTree prototype, in the Ramat Hanadiv public gardens in Zichron Ya’acov, Michael Lasry of Sologic told ISRAEL21c that two more eTrees are soon to be installed, one in Nice and the other in Shanghai.
“Our aim is that in the future there will be eTrees all over Israel and worldwide,” he says. “eTree is a social enterprise that aims to promote environmental awareness and sustainability, to create a link between the community environment.”
Lasry even envisions global “eTree communities,” facilitated by the unit’s built-in camera and monitor allowing for give-and-take between folks sitting under the radiation-free shade of eTrees anywhere in the world.
“Every tree has a monitor connected through the Wi-Fi, providing information on the energy generated by the system and geographical information about the specific site. So people sitting there in Nice can see and exchange information with people sitting at an eTree in Israel or China or anywhere else.”
Supplying everything you need along the way
Formerly a high-tech executive, Lasry founded Sologic six years ago with colleague Dov Kotler, out of his interest in boosting the availability of solar energy. In addition to selling customized systems for residential and commercial buildings, he dreamed of harnessing the sun’s power for a larger social purpose.
“If you install panels on a house, only a small population is enjoying it. I wanted to bring this ecologically important way of thinking to the greater community.”
Lasry teamed up with artist Yoav Ben-Dov, and over the next 18 months they designed three different models of eTrees, each one constructed in Israel of metal tubes and sturdy tempered glass bases to hold the panels.
The simplest version has two leaves of solar panels, each producing 1,400 watts per hour — plenty of electricity for the integrated water cooler. A midrange model has both a water cooler and a docking station, and the deluxe eTree with seven panels offers all the bells and whistles. The price range is approximately $20,000 to $100,000.
“We’ve just now started active sales,” says Lasry. “Our idea is to bring this concept everywhere.”
Locally, he’d like to see eTrees installed at points along the Israel National Trail, “because it supplies everything you need along the way.”
Like Abraham’s tent
Municipalities could purchase eTrees, and so could philanthropic organizations and corporations looking for a “green” project that provides free services and environmental awareness to the community.
Lasry says that eTrees are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and are therefore appropriate for just about any urban or suburban neighborhood, corporate or college campus, park, museum, community center and other public space.
“It’s like Abraham’s tent, sitting at a junction where you can enter from any side,” says Lasry, referring to the biblical forefather’s legendary tent of welcome. “It doesn’t ask you any questions; you just sit down and recharge your mobile and your soul, relax and have a cool drink.”
The units need minimal ongoing care. “The only thing required for maintenance is cleaning the panels every four or five months, and the battery must be filled each year with water, though the next generation of batteries will be maintenance-free,” says Lasry.
A locked concrete box protects the inner workings from weather and vandalism. “You can open it only with a key,” he says. “The whole eTree is very safe. We worked with six different engineers, including a safety engineer and a materials engineer, and the unit works on low DC voltage.”
Sologic is based in Binyamina and has 10 employees. For more information on the eTree, click here.