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EarthHack: Crowdsourcing the solution to climate change

29 May 2013
EarthHack: Crowdsourcing the solution to climate change

LONDON: Is the solution to our biggest collective challenge, climate change, already out there, waiting to be discovered? This is exactly what the EarthHack, a new international competition launched on May 29 in London, wants to achieve: To unleash the power of creative thinking on how existing technology can be re-purposed towards creating tomorrow’s lower carbon homes. You can watch the full or edited video of the live Google+ Hangout that we hosted with some of the judges in June.

The first EarthHack, powered by the Marblar platform in partnership with The Climate Group and with the support of IKEA and Philips, asks competitors to reimagine existing technology for a more sustainable home today, to help save 1 million tons of CO2 a year by 2020.

Low carbon homes 

Submitted ideas can explore potential solutions for a myriad of different types of homes: from basic dwellings to towering apartment blocks, but all entries must reimagine latent technology to create or conserve energy.

Ben Ferrari, Director of Corporate Relations at The Climate Group, said: “To drive our Clean Revolution forward we need innovative companies and entrepreneurs that are able to transform markets and the technologies that we use in our everyday lives. EarthHack opens up the doors of innovation to people from all backgrounds, nationalities and education, allowing them to become engineers of the low carbon future.”

Expert judges

The panel of the competition includes former Director General of CERN, current Director of Energy Research at Oxford University, Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith and the Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, Sir Richard Friend along with representatives from IKEA, Philips and other cleantech experts.

Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith said: “Nearly 30% of the world’s primary energy is used in residential buildings which are therefore an excellent place to look for large energy savings. EarthHack will stimulate novel applications of existing technologies that will lower energy bills and decrease carbon emissions, thereby underwriting a better future for us and our descendants.”

Business collaboration

The contest is supported by members of The Climate Group, IKEA and Philips. Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group, said: “IKEA wants to have a positive impact on people and the planet – and that includes inspiring and enabling our customers to live a more sustainable life at home. We are delighted to support the first EarthHack challenge. By sharing experiences, working together and building on what we offer today, we can find even more innovative and affordable ways to help millions of people to save energy, water and waste at home in the future.”

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Philips Lighting, said: “Philips is delighted to support the EarthHack challenge. In order to achieve a sustainable low carbon future and to maximize efficient use of resources, new ideas and innovations need to be developed and brought to market quickly. Challenges like the EarthHack can play a major role in accelerating this process.”

The prize

The EarthHack [sustainable homes], is a unique opportunity for the winning creative people to:

  • Share in a prize pot of US$25,000
  • Fly to New York City to receive their award during Climate Week NYC 2013
  • Work with 1000s of bright minds across the globe to create brand new applications
  • Work on a tested, and truly global, crowdsourcing platform
  • Get valuable feedback from experts at IKEA and Philips on the business potential of their idea.

Marblar, conceived at Oxford University, is a crowdsourcing platform that has already connected 1000 market applications for existing technologies thought to be purposeless, by bringing together bright, energetic, and creative technologists, graduates, designers, and business minds from over 100 countries across the world.

Read more about The EarthHack

You can watch the full or edited video of the live Google+ Hangout with some of the judges, or read an event write-up.

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