The MaRS Discovery District in Toronto is holding its free Energy Hackathon this weekend.
Approximately 150 developers, designers, energy experts and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to use the “Green Button” API to create apps and hardware that will help consumers better manage their electricity consumption, with nearly $15,000 in prizes for the best solutions. A 3D printer will be available for participants to create new hardware prototypes.
Ontario’s “Green Button” initiative is a partnership between the Province of Ontario and MaRS Discovery District that aims to give Ontario consumers direct access to their own energy consumption data, helping them to manage energy use and providing opportunities for Ontario companies to capitalize on the growing market for energy solutions. Users can download Green Button apps to allow them to access their data.
Thus, MaRS is inviting a bunch of geeks to come and create a bit of awesomeness Saturday, and “join the Green Button revolution.”
Applications are open until Saturday and catering will be provided at the event. Some of the prizes include a $5,000 Prepr Innovation Grant from Chagpar & Associates and a $5,000 award for best UX/design from Pivot Design Group. Also up for grabs are prizes valued at $1,500, $1,000 and $500 for the best apps, five Tuts+Premium subscriptions and five free one-year accounts with Squarespace.
Teams will be limited to eight people while experts will be on hand to provide information about the Green Button API, coding, UX/design, hardware and more.
The United States has already been ahead of the curve when it comes to encouraging citizens to be proactive with their energy consumption. In June President Obama released his Climate Action Plan (CAP), which committed to leverage the “Green Button” program to facilitate enhanced energy efficiency.
MaRS and the province of Ontario are hoping that the number of Ontarians who are already accessing and sharing their energy data can dramatically rise over the next few years, with initiatives like the hackathon. Currently 2.6 million Ontarions are using the Green Button Apps to download their consumption data in a standard, secure way, and share that data to help them manage their electricity bills and save energy.