Climate Action Challenge

Winter 2024

Priority Area: Climate Action

Dates: February 2024 - April 2024

Status: Closed


The Challenge:

The Halifax Innovation Outpost,1in collaboration with HalifACT is issuing an open call for climate solutions. Organizations or teams that have an idea that they would like to develop and test are invited to submit an application by February 7, 2024.

We are inviting teams that can offer solutions to the following challenge:

“How can we address the climate emergency in Halifax?”

We are specifically focused on ideas around:

  • Green & Resilient Buildings

  • Green Jobs

  • Renewable Energy

  • Clean Transportation

  • Community Resilience

Teams will receive:

  • 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, 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.


Who Can Apply:

  • Non-profits and the community sector - working in the areas of climate action

  • Entrepreneurs and startups focused on social innovation

  • Small businesses looking to grow their engagement in climate work

  • Climate oriented teams within larger businesses or institutions

  • Equity-oriented: African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq, Newcomer and other BIPOC communities

All applicants must be affiliated with a Canadian business, organization, or community group.

Applications are now closed.


Review Process:

A committee of project partners will review applications, considering:

  • Level of collaboration between applicant and other climate activists

  • The level of impact an initiative will have on reducing emissions and accelerating climate action in Halifax

  • Whether the proposed solution can be tested/piloted within the time frame (i.e. mid February to end March)

  • Does the solution align with the rapid-action prototyping

  • The degree to which a solution is innovative

  • The degree to which a solution has potential longevity beyond the grant period

  • Does the funding allow a recipient to ‘pivot’ to greater climate action

  • Does the solution incorporate equity/inclusivity


Project costs provided: up to $5000

Eligible Expenditures:

The following includes, but is not limited to, eligible expenses:

  • Supplies, including machinery

  • Marketing

  • Purchases

  • Human resources

  • Fees, and/or any other costs



Time Commitment: 15-20 hours from late February to early April, 2024.

Deliverables:

  • An innovative climate solution that is prototyped within the challenge timeframe

  • Successful applicants must also participate in a pitch event with an opportunity to showcase ideas and receive feedback and support from advisors in the climate and green building sectors.


Why a Climate Action Challenge

In 2019, Halifax Regional Council unanimously declared a climate emergency as a collective commitment to address climate change. In 2020 it passed HalifACT, which is both a plan and a community-wide movement. HalifACT outlines our response: to both decarbonize our economy in line with the IPCC recommendations and to build our resilience and preparedness for the impacts that a hotter, wetter and wilder climate will have on our communities.

Halifax needs bold leaders who can roll up their sleeves and test ideas to accelerate our transition to a green economy and a climate resilient society. We need to implement strategies that decarbonize the local economy now. We need to better connect and prepare our communities now. We are looking for good ideas in every domain.

We’ve also done our homework and we know that in particular, the following areas will give us the biggest impact (that’s why they are the top HalifACT priorities). HalifACT is committed to a just transition and encourages that all projects consider equity and inclusion in their approach.


Just Transition

The success or failure in moving towards a decarbonized and climate resilient future will be measured both by how quickly society is able to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and by how equitable and sustainable the transition is. With the constraint of limited resources, it is essential to prioritize the most vulnerable and affected members of the community, many of whom are already confronting other social and economic challenges. We must consider social equity at all levels of decision-making, program design, and implementation.


Efficient and Resilient Buildings

Buildings accounted for approximately 70% of total energy use in Halifax in 2016, and 77% of total emissions. Retrofitting residential and non-residential buildings, ensuring that new buildings are more efficient, and working to improve industrial processes are all necessary components of a successful energy transition for Halifax. Enhanced performance of new buildings and the improvements made to existing buildings will promote decarbonization, while also making buildings more resilient to future climate impacts such as severe storms, flooding and heat.


Workforce Development

The transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future will generate professional and skilled jobs and stimulate the local economy. We welcome ideas that will help grow and diversify the trade sectors necessary to meet the targets of moving to net-zero new construction by 2030 and retrofitting all existing buildings by 2040. We are looking for ideas that can help provide meaningful economic opportunities especially for those from communities who are underrepresented in the trades.


Renewable Energy

Many of the actions needed to reduce GHG emissions across Halifax require switching from higher-carbon fuels, like fuel oil and gasoline, to zero carbon electricity. Opportunities such as rooftop solar; community-scale solar and wind generation; and utilization of district energy are all needed to increase the supply of local renewable energy, while also stimulating the local economy and building on local business expertise.


Clean Transportation

Halifax covers a large geographic area and as a result, communities and citizens are heavily reliant on public and private transportation for daily life. Switching to electric vehicles for private, public, and commercial transportation will reduce fuel costs, improve air quality, and reduce maintenance requirements. Wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles will require planning for and building charging infrastructure throughout Halifax, and coordination with local partners and industry specialists to prepare for a shift from gasoline to electricity.


Community Resilience

More resilient neighbourhoods make a more resilient city. Neighbourhoods that invest in connections, capacity building, and resources on a sustained basis are better able to withstand crises and address many of the chronic socioeconomic stresses that increase climate vulnerability. Increasing the built and social capacity of neighbourhoods not only empowers them to be more independently resilient, but contributes to the resilience of the region as a whole.


Our Approach

The pace needed for decarbonization and building resilience is a massive challenge for our community that will require transformative action from all sectors. Our business-as-usual approaches to planning for change are often slow and full of assumptions that may not hold up in these highly unpredictable times.

We need to build our capacity to act quickly. One approach is prototyping (experimenting with promising ideas, testing them with users and adapting as we go). This call to action is meant to be a seedbed for projects and ideas that can help move the needle on climate change.

This is our third Climate Action Challenge. Our intent is to create many opportunities to prototype ideas and build multiple pathways to help promising ideas develop and grow to greater scale and impact.


Reach out to us

Patrick Farrar

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Contact us about the Innovation Outpost

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