Jamming for green building ideas

Jamming for green building ideas

If there is any topic today that could potentially affect the whole of humanity, it would be climate change. In the city of Hong Kong, over 60% of the carbon emission comes from energy generation, while 90% of the energy used in Hong Kong are consumed by buildings.

Over the last weekend, we organized and hosted a Green Building Hackathon at Good Lab to find creative solutions to this thorny issue. It is part of the Green Building Ideas Pitch Programme, a new initiatives of the Hong Kong Green Building Week co-organised by the Construction Industry Council and the Hong Kong Green Building Council.

We kicked off the event with a talk by Kalmond Ma from WWF. Kalmond talked about how the trend of global warming is related to energy consumption from buildings, and how people from around the world are designing green buildings as a response to this challenge.

But how can we deal with this challenge in Hong Kong?

First, we need to identify the issues.

Aditya Kedia, our facilitator from PolyU, asked all participants to identify top three issues after listening to Kalmond’s talk. Then he grouped these issues into five major categories, and our initial twelve teams were thus formed.

We also have the pleasure of having a few mentors including Chong Chan Yau, Charles Mok, Marisa Yiu, Tony Ip and Benny Chow joining the event and sitting among the participants, offering advice and guidance for the teams. They come from diverse backgrounds ranging from architecture to urban planning to climate change and technology. You can learn more about them here.

We introduced the idea of design thinking to all the teams, which is a tool for getting at the essence of a problem and coming up with creative solutions. While another facilitator Freddy Law introduced the business model canvas.

Day One ends with all teams conducting interviews for their projects, and nice pizza!

The momentum continues on Day Two, with a brief session on the basics of prototyping and then all teams started their preparation for the final presentation.

Six teams were selected by the judges to be considered for the next round of mentorship in the summer, and a pitching event on 6 September in front of a panel of angel investors. They are:

  • Kim Kei (upcycling wood from construction waste)
  • Paper 2G (curtain made with waste paper)
  • DIY Aquaponics
  • Property IQ (an online database for green buildings)
  • Light pollution
  • Home Green Vegetable

Be ready to be surprised

What was the most amazing thing about this hackathon?

When asked the question, one of the participants named Ronald told me that he really got it about “be ready to be surprised” at this event.

Actually, our participants really come from very diverse backgrounds at this event, ranging from architects, designers, urban farmers, energy consultants, big data analysist, etc. You never really know what you will be surprised with.

The skills and methodology learned at a hackathon is important, but more important is to embrace the unknown and start working on solutions as soon as a specific problem is identified.

This is just the beginning

This is just a beginning of the whole series of events. We will start a two month mentorship period from July to September, followed by a final pitching event on 6 September during the Hong Kong Green Building Week. Follow us on our website and facebook to stay tuned for our updates.