Climate Action Challenge

Winter 2023

Priority Area: Climate Action

Dates: Oct. 2022 - Feb. 2023

Status: Completed

The Halifax Innovation Outpost, in collaboration with HalifACT, issued an open call in September 2022 for organizations or teams that would like to develop and test solutions to accelerate climate action in Halifax. Applicants had to be affiliated with a Canadian business, organization, or community group.

The challenge was specifically focused on ideas around:

  • Green & Resilient Buildings
  • Green Jobs
  • Renewable Energy
  • Clean Transportation
  • Community Resilience
  • Food Security

Winning teams received:

  • Learning and mentorship in rapid-action prototyping
  • Support to sharpen and test their ideas 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).
  • Participation in a pitch event with an opportunity to showcase ideas and receive feedback and support from advisors in your sector.
  • Connection to larger grants to scale up promising solutions.

When: Applications closed on October 7, 2022. Challenge winners were announced in November 2022.


Winners:

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

  1. Organization - Habit Studio
    Project Objective - Habit Studio is a residential design practice specializing in sustainable whole home renovations and custom Passive Houses. Habit Studio’s project is focused on prototyping and testing insulating mycelium wall panels - made from a fungal colony composed of branching fibers called hyphae - to see how they perform compared to typical insulation. Mycelium as a building material has a low thermal capacity, is breathable, is hygrophilic, and contains no VOCs. Panels can be grown on site, or close to a site, during a retrofit in custom geometries using waste materials from forestry and agriculture.
    Result/Update: Since the challenge, Habit Studios has worked with mycologists at Dalhousie University to identify a specific strain of mycelium to work with moving forward. They partnered with Taproot Farms to grow mycelium on their produce. Through their prototyping, they've learned which chemical parameters can be tuned into mycelium insulation for different results. They continue to collaborate with oceanography experts and the Ocean Frontier Institute to further their R&D.

  2. Organization - Acuicy
    Project Objective -
    Acuicy gives managers the tailored, data-driven insights they need to identify and deploy the most capital-efficient low-carbon solutions for their company. Acuicy makes it easy for SMEs by generating hyper-tailored recommendations on the right low-carbon actions for each business. Acuicy’s project is supporting the development of a fully automated SAAS platform that will use AI-driven data to help SMEs reduce maximum emissions at the lowest cost to their business, combined with access to suppliers, cost savings, and operational support. Enterprise customers will get accurate visibility into their suppliers’ emissions for the first time and track actions. They can disclose real-time progress toward their net-zero targets for stakeholders, critical to demonstrating progress in the transition to the low carbon economy.
    Result/Update: Acuicy worked with a developer to help finalize their MVP and gather feedback from beta tester clients to determine how they have benefitted through economic gain. Acuicy was selected for a New York-based Venture for ClimateTech Accelerator through a global competition.

  3. Organization - Inspiring Communities
    Project Objective - Inspiring Communities is a not-for-profit organization based in Nova Scotia working to build collaborative relationships for equitable social change. Inspiring Communities’ project aims to educate the African Nova Scotian community and youth in North End Halifax about climate change impacts that they are facing and initiatives that can be implemented to help mitigate impacts. These initiatives would be at a community level, to ensure completion by imploring individuals in the green space to host engagement sessions and educate residents about what is being done elsewhere.
    Result/Update: Project update to come.

  4. Organization - Navigate Energy
    Project Objective - Navigate Energy helps Nova Scotia small businesses and commercial and multifamily property owners eliminate the complexity of rebate program selection, enrollment, and completion. Working with Navigate helps clients understand and prioritize clean energy solutions, coordinate contractors, access preferred programs, and secure better rebates. Navigate Energy’s project sought to identify the support non-profits require to undertake clean energy upgrades. The role of a "Rebate Program Navigator" was piloted to help partnering non-profits advance clean energy projects with a dedicated champion. This project was based on the problem that non-profits are too busy delivering on their mission to commit staffing resources to clean energy upgrades.
    Result/Update: Navigate Energy purchased clean energy equipment and outsourced the installation to the appropriate providers. They worked with eight businesses and nine providers to deliver their service. Without this funding, it's unlikely they would have tested their services in the non-profit sector. They discovered that there is interest and demand for their services among non-profits, and they continued to support their initial clients identified through the project.

  5. Organization - Greenii
    Project Objective - Greenii upcycles newsprint, magazines, and flyers into paper bags without any chemicals or bleaching. So far, they have sold 55,000 newsprint paper bags. Greenii is building the world's first semi-automatic assembly line to convert wastepaper into paper bags. Their paper bags are 100% eco-friendly, reduce the cutting of trees, reduce pollution, reduce water, and reduce oil usage. Greenii’s project is focused on developing a prototype, with funding going toward the purchase of machinery and supplies, marketing, and hiring staff from vulnerable communities.
    Result/Update: Greeni hired ten newcomers and youth with disabilities in partnership with MetroWorks Employment Centre to support their work. They successfully tested the spraying glue machine and two types of glue. An auto paper feeder was ordered to be tested as well. They were able to save 13,000 lbs of paper, 100 trees, and a considerable amount of other energy components as a result of the pilot.

  6. Organization - iFormit Solutions
    Project Objective - iFormit Solutions Inc. is a startup based in Nova Scotia with a deep focus on simplifying smart metering using the sub-metering approach to help promote clean utility consumption for a greater future. iFormit Solutions Inc.’s sub-metering solution (iMID) can be deployed to individual apartment units so tenants can track utility usage in real-time and be encouraged to reduce consumption. Their project supported the development of a mobile app to support tenants’ energy decisions (e.g., notifying them when appliances are turned on or off).
    Result/Update: IFormit has had discovery discussions with property managers and NS Power to explore the potential for pilot installations.

Reach out to us

Patrick Farrar

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Contact us about the Innovation Outpost

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