Climate Action Challenge

Winter 2022

Priority Area: Climate Action

Dates: Feb. 2022 - Apr. 2022

Status: Completed

In February 2022, the Halifax Innovation Outpost, supported by the Halifax Regional Municipality’s HalifACT team, ran an innovation challenge focused on tackling climate change through green tech, green building, and green jobs. The challenge invited applications for new and innovative ideas that could be tested in real-life settings to accelerate the decarbonization of the Halifax economy.

All applicants were affiliated with a Canadian business, organization, or community group and received:

  • Mentorship in the prototyping process and support to sharpen and test their idea with potential customers/users and/or partners.
  • Funding of up to $5000 for project costs (including supplies, marketing, purchases, human resources, fees, and/or any other costs).
  • An opportunity to showcase ideas and receive feedback and support from advisors in the climate and green building sectors.
  • Connection to larger funding for ideas that show promise through the upcoming Halifax Climate Investment, Innovation and Impact Fund (HCI3) Grant Program.

Seven startups and community organizations were awarded $5,000 each and supported in developing their ideas and prototypes.

Winners:

  1. Organization - One North End & ReCover
    Project Name – Energy Poverty and Green Jobs
    Project Objective - The One North End and ReCover Initiative project focused on creating a space of learning and understanding aimed at bringing more ANS youth into the green retrofitting industry, bridging the employment gap.
    Result/Update: The project received an HCi3 grant to further this work through job shadowing on a panelized deep energy retrofit of the Harrietsfield-Williamswood Community. This training will be replicated in African Nova Scotian communities across HRM. Additionally, the Recover Initiative raised $500K from the federal government.

    Watch this video about their project.

  2. Organization – Billet Workshop
    Project Name – Passive Tiny Homes
    Project Objective – To design and build a slender passive house-inspired double wall panel, that can be easily implemented in house designs with small footprints, like tiny homes and backyard suits, to allow for the best comfort, on an affordable budget with the lowest impact on the environment.
    Result/Update:
    Billet Workshop received an HCi3 grant to design and build an energy-efficient tiny home and make the plans publicly available for project replication.

    Watch this video about their project.

  3. Organization – Alma Landscape
    Project Name – Landscape Design
    Project Objective - Alma Landscaping’s project aimed to create a climate-positive landscape design and construction framework that can educate clients, builders, and design professionals on the environmental impacts of landscape projects and provide strategies to mitigate those impacts. They aim to implement their ideas across a range of residential landscape typologies in Nova Scotia.
    Result/Update:
    Alma worked with Halifax Regional Municipality to develop strategies to get homeowners and residents in Halifax engaged in converting their boulevards into perennial gardens that sequester carbon.

    Watch this video about their project.

  4. Organization – Hope Blooms
    Project Name – Solar Awnings
    Project Objective - Hope Blooms’ project focused on building a new solar awning workstation in their North End garden space where youth can connect with nature, do work, cook, and learn about renewable energy. The solar awning workstations are built to endure extreme weather conditions and are equipped with 120V, USB and USB-C outlets, Qi Wireless Chargers, LED lighting, Wi-Fi hotspot, and two detached benches. The additional Wi-Fi hotspot also supports Hope Blooms’ Fair Food Market which provides subsidized food for the community through a digital currency and online platform which the Outpost supported the organization in developing in previous innovation challenges.
    Result/Update: Hope Blooms hosted 13 markets and cooking classes last summer and fall with the solar awnings. Cooking equipment was connected to the solar awning, allowing Hope Blooms and guests to use it for cooking food and hosting culinary classes. It was also used during Hurricane Fiona for those in need of electricity for their devices or cooking equipment. The solar awning is used every day by visitors for shade and charging their devices.

    Watch this video
    about their project.

  5. Organization – Mynd Solutions Inc
    Project Name – EV Hailing Platform
    Project Objective - Mynd Solutions Inc.’s project focused on developing an MVP of an exclusive EV ride/truck hailing platform with tiered offerings tailored to the needs of their first adoption ground in Halifax. Aiming to contribute to the reduction of emissions in Halifax, the project ties into the municipality’s Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) and contributes to the government’s efforts to encourage the purchase and use of EVs.
    Result/Update:
    Mynd Solutions partnered with Volta to work through their validation. They also created a spin-off company that works to attract, recruit, and maintain healthcare talent in Canada.

  6. Organization – Ecology Action Centre (EAC)
    Project Name – Green Jobs for Immigrant and Newcomer Youth
    Project Objective - EAC’s project focused on mobilizing and engaging youth from immigrant and newcomer communities in conversations about green jobs, with a goal of bringing to light the many barriers to accessing jobs in the green sector. The overall goal was to ensure a just transition for all by equipping immigrant and newcomer youth with the tools they need to advocate for inclusion in the green economy while identifying opportunities for them to get involved in the green sector.
    Result/Update: Following the challenge, EAC received an HCi3 grant to lay the foundation for a retrofit of a low-income multi-unit residential property.

  7. Organization – Oathe Project
    Project Name – Decarbonization Impact Calculator
    Project Objective - The Oathe Project aimed to prototype a set of new features on their One4Earth platform to jump-start new decarbonization projects. These features include:
    a) A space to submit a project idea or question to work on;
    b) An improved means for people to find others with skills and interests they are looking for;
    c) A “shared affiliation” tag to foster more direct connections (e.g., identifying all people participating in their hackathon);
    d) A “mentor page” for teams to get expert advice, especially from Halifax stakeholders; and
    e) a pathway to turn these ideas into actual projects and visualize their progression.
    All of this will directly accelerate project ideas for increasing decarbonization in Halifax, and a hackathon will be an ideal means to test this all out.
    Result/Update: Co-hosted a global hackathon on January 7, 2023, alongside The Youth Impact Challenge & Earthnet World. They had over 260 youth from 30+ countries who came together to build unique solutions for the climate crisis.

Partners

Stay tuned to hear more about our Challenge winners' projects!

Reach out to us

Patrick Farrar

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Contact us about the Innovation Outpost

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