By Shehla Chowdhury
Last Thursday night was one of the most important events of the year: the Sustainable City Awards. This awards scheme, founded by the City of London Corporation in 2001, is an annual encouragement that solutions to make our cities and neighbourhoods healthier, less wasteful and more attractive are in no short supply. . From multinational corporations to small community groups, people are hitting the pavement to battle against every environmental issue from air pollution to food waste.
The ceremony was held at the beautiful venue, the Crystal, one of London’s most sustainable buildings I can’t think of a better place for SCA; the futuristic vibes of the Crystal match the innovative energy of the awards perfectly.
The ceremony began with words by the Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues. This was the Deputy Mayor’s second consecutive year speaking at the awards. Just as last year, she did a fantastic job upping the energy of the crowd and reminding everyone of the Mayor’s commitment to a more sustainable London.
The ceremony went on without a hitch, with high spirited speeches from a number of distinguished award presenters, including representatives from the City of London, Siemens, Investec, and the London Waste and Recycling Board. Though you can find a full list of the winners here, there are a few projects that I thought really deserved an extra spotlight.
Repowering London was recognized for their Energy Gardens project, and managed to snag not only the Healthier City Award, but the Overall Winner award as well.
Their energy gardens are meant to transform local overground stations from drab eye-sores into useful, beautiful community green spaces. Repowering London is working to set up solar panelling to create self-supporting gardens. The solar set-up creates energy to fuel water pumps, lights and interactive notice boards in the garden. The garden itself is meant to be a place to bring together the local community to grow food, produce honey, and maybe even brew some beer.
The energy garden serves a dual function, improving the quality of the environment and improving the bonds between the people who visit.
Like Repowering London, Demand Logic also took home two awards last Thursday. They were honoured as the winner of the Innovative Spaces category as well as the extremely prestigious Sir Peter Parker Award.
Demand Logic provides an incredible product, software that can compile 7 billion data values a year to aid businesses in cutting out energy waste.
By connecting a Demand Logic DAD (Data Acquisition Device) to a business’s existing building management system, Demand Logic is able to gather data points detailing information on all of a building’s systems, including ventilation, heating, and air conditioning. Their software then compiles this information into useful visualizations and summaries which companies can use to cut costs, improve employee comfort, and lower emissions.
Use of their product can help people save money, save energy, and save time.
OLIO too was able to walk away with awards in two categories: Smart Technology and Managing Resources.
“Sharing apps” like Uber and Airbnb have changed the way people interact with each other. OLIO may be changing food distribution in a similar way. OLIO allows (individuals and businesses alike) to post food they no longer want. Once they have posted it, other local users will be notified, and if they decide they want the food, all they have to do is pick it up. This simple solution saves food from being wasted and also provides a convenient excuse for neighbours to meet up.