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4 Clever Ideas on How to Protect the Climate

by Sabrina Pelizzoni

Summer is almost over, and the weather has once again proven that our climate is changing. Innovative ideas are in demand. Last year, Kraftwerk hosted the 24-hour hackathon "Climathon" where four such creative ideas were in development.

Every year in October, entrepreneurs, developers, students and other creative minds come together to hack for the climate. The so-called Climathon takes place in cities all around the globe and aims at creating innovative ideas to protect the environment. In Zurich, hackers were looking into possible solutions to challenges facing the city due to climate change. What about an incentive system for people who save energy, for example? Or urban farming in the city of Zurich? Here are four bright ideas on how to protect the climate.

Connecting communities through urban farming

The team We.Grow created a web platform to connect gardens to those who are interested in becoming involved in urban farming in the city of Zurich. Communities and private gardens can sign up on the platform and host urban farming enthusiasts at the same time through bookable slots and member-driven community events. The primary goal is to motivate and empower the residents of Zurich to contribute to an “edible city” by growing crops together, by increasing knowledge together and by connecting communities together.

Cultural experiences in return for feedback on neighborhood issues

Felix & DuDa, a team of five, came up with a revolutionary platform which offers the citizens of Zurich free cultural experiences in return for feedback on issues regarding the current ecological and physical status of their neighborhood. Citizens get the chance to discover cultural activities and urban spaces in a gamified way (e.g., museums, city parks, swimming pools) offered by the City of Zurich. Through this, the government of Zurich can collect targeted and demographic-specific user data which helps them understand the needs of citizens and prioritize their climate supporting undertakings most efficiently (e.g., walking and bicycle routes, and the proximity and saturation of public services).

Reducing energy consumption thanks to "Züri-Watt" points

Züri-Watt, a team of six members, came up with a smart idea for a platform which aims to give citizens incentives to reduce their energy consumption. The platform makes the consumed energy data understandable and transparent. It compares the monthly energy performance of an individual to the energy performance of other members in their community. Further, energy consumption hotspots are identified to encourage energy saving in this area particularly. The collected data is shared with homeowners to help them make their buildings more energy efficient. Also, they have the chance to be rewarded with so-called "Züri-Watts" (points) in case they manage to reduce their energy consumption. These points could be redeemable for goods and services with selected local sustainable partners. An ingenious idea that could contribute to Zurich becoming a 2000 Watts society.

Charging your electric car the easy way

The ElectricFeel team worked on the challenge on how to improve the charging experience for electric vehicle owners and the traffic problem in Zurich at the same time. Their solution: “Charge & Move," a mobile application that gives electric vehicle owners a way to reserve a spot at one of four parking garages just 10 minutes outside of the city center. There, light electric vehicles are available for use while your car charges. With greater time efficiency and reduced city traffic, this concept encourages electric mobility and achieves a positive impact on the environment.

These are only four out of many teams which participated in the Climathon 2017. Three of the teams are still working on their ideas with support from EIT Climate-KIC and partners. Some can already present prototypes, pilot projects or paying costumers.

Do you feel inspired by these creative ideas and people? Do you think you could come up with something that is equally brilliant within 24 hours? Join the Zurich Climathon 2018 on 26 October at Kraftwerk and work on challenges set by the City of Zurich, Energie 360° and EIT Climate-KIC. Become a climate hero!

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