Join the Climathon movement!

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A 24-hour event at the University of Leeds is looking to sign up participants with staying power to crack a climate change challenge for the city.

Leeds is one of 121 major cities around the world taking part in the marathon climate event on 28-29 October. Participants will focus on tackling the question, “How can we deliver domestic carbon reduction in an age of austerity?” and will be expected to work in teams around the clock to come up with the best solutions.

One of five UK cities signed up for the Climate-KIC Climathon, Leeds is the only city in the North of England taking part. The Leeds event is being organised by the Priestley International Centre for Climate and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) at the University of Leeds with support from the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, Sustainability Research Institute, Spark and Leeds City Council.

The challenge, which has been set by Leeds City Council, seeks to discover new ways of approaching and financing energy efficiency measures in homes. Although Leeds City Council has been successful in attracting funding for efficiency measures in the past, recent national policy changes mean these are no longer cost effective, so the council is keen to attract ideas for innovative new business models and fresh thinking on the issue.

The “Climathon”, which is based on the concept of “hackathons”, is open for recruitment until 14 October. Unlike traditional hackathons, which involve computer programming, the event’s challenge – which includes examining governance mechanisms, business models, behaviour change and technological innovation, as well as data-crunching and computer modelling – makes it suitable for people from a broad range of backgrounds and skill sets.

The Leeds Climathon is especially keen to investigate the potential of a revolving fund, which captures and reinvests savings, keeping finance in the system. Other options include new initiatives to maximise participation in existing low cost solutions and novel suggestions for improving energy efficiency in our homes, especially in the private rented sector.

“We need to mobilise more people and increase the flow of great ideas to give ourselves the best chance of tackling climate change,” said Professor Andy Gouldson, Deputy Director of CCCEP. “This is especially the case at the local level where we’re always looking for better ways to fund and deliver the transition to a low carbon society. The Climathon enables us to do just that.”

He added: “It will be great to see what people come up with – we’re not usually allowed to put people in a room and keep them there for 24 hours until they come up with something groundbreaking!”

Participants will be placed into teams and will receive coaching and mentoring during the 24-hour challenge. At the end of the marathon – before a well-earned rest – each team will present its idea to a panel of judges and the winning concept selected.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for the environment and sustainability said:

“Leeds has a target to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 40% by 2020. Emissions from people’s homes make up about a third of this and we want to find new ways of financing energy efficiency measures to help people, save energy, reduce carbon, stay warm and improve their health.

“The Climathon will be another example of successful collaboration between the Council and the University that help to make Leeds a city of innovation.”

To take part in the Climathon, go to www.climathon.climate-kic.org and sign up on the Leeds, West Yorkshire City page. Questions about the challenge should be emailed to K.M.Lock@leeds.ac.uk. Information is also available at http://climate.leeds.ac.uk

FURTHER INFORMATION

The Climathon is particularly suitable for individuals or existing teams with expertise in the following areas:

  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Governance
  • Community
  • Housing
  • Energy & renewables
  • Retrofitting/insulation
  • Charities/NGOs
  • Entrepreneurs/Start ups
  • SMEs
  • Building
  • Property rentals
  • Computing
  • Modelling
  • Social enterprise
  • Engineering
  • Climate change science
  • Fuel poverty
  • Policy
  • Anyone with an interest and passion for climate change issues