The City of Chicago’s Sustainability Coding Competition Continues

The City of Chicago, Worldwide Wildlife Fund and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum invite software developers, environmental policy innovators and creative business professionals to join us at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on SATURDAY AUGUST 24 at 8:30 a.m to develop innovative solutions using technology to create a more sustainable Chicago.

The Wheels, Energy and Trash Hackathon will focus on topics of energy efficiency, waste diversion, and public transit using big data from the City’s data portal and partner organizations to develop solutions and create awareness of these sustainability challenges.

Participating in this event will not only help Chicago reach its sustainability goals, it could also reward you with prizes and an invitation to join us at our Cleanweb Challenge playoffs this fall!

Sign up to participate in the August 24th Hackathon event here. Please note that free parking is available at the Nature Museum and on the streets nearby, however, it often fills up quickly so we recommend taking one of the bus routes that drops off in front of the building or riding a Divvy bike and parking it in the station outside of the museum.

Eventbrite - Wheels, Energy and Trash Hackathon

How the one-day Wheels, Energy and Trash Hackathon works

  • 8:30 – 9:00 am: Sign-In & Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am:  Join us as we kick-off the day with an introduction and keynote address
  • 9:30 – 10:30 am: Opportunity Briefings: Facilitated discussion, dataset review, and team creation on waste, transit, and energy tracks
  • 10:30 – 3:30 pm: Team Working Time (Lunch Provided)
  • 3:30 – 5:00 pm: Team Presentations, Judging, & Awards
  • 5:00 – 7:00+ pm: Off-Site Reception & Networking

 Breakfast and lunch will be provided!

* Optional policy & technical skills workshops will be offered throughout the day!

Judges will include leaders in the field of technology and sustainability

Prizes total over $2,000!


The Wheels, Energy and Trash Hackathon Challenges

Energy Efficiency

Increasing residential energy efficiency improves quality of life for all Chicagoans, helping curb global climate change and saving energy year over year. In Chicago, approximately $3 billion is spent on energy each year, and energy used by buildings creates 71% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of the 71% of emissions, 40% of building energy use originates from residential sources. Energy efficiency holds the potential to address the long-term needs of a growing city while fostering economic development and job creation.  The City has set a goal to reduce energy use by 5% citywide by 2015.

Waste Diversion

Chicagoans generate 7.67 tons of waste annually.  Construction and Demolition waste makes up 62% of that waste stream – the rest of it – 3,012,061 tons is generated by Chicago residents, industries and businesses in their daily activities. Waste reduction is one of the most accessible means for every Chicagoan to contribute to creating a more sustainable city. Mayor Emanuel’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 environmental action agenda’s Goal 20, states that the City desires to “increase access to recycling and improve policies to promote waste reduction and re-use.”

Public Transit

Transportation produced 24% of CO2 emissions in the city of Chicago as of 2005. On-road vehicles including cars, trucks and motorcycles gave off 92% of transportation based greenhouse gasses in the city. Increasing our use of cleaner modes of transportation is one way to drastically lower our transportation based carbon footprint. Data analysis, mapping, visualization and related application have potential to help Chicagoans reduce private vehicle travel and encourage sustainable modes of transportation.

Background information about Chicago’s tough sustainability challenges

The City is committed to making Chicago more competitive, livable, and environmentally sustainable. Chicago’s sustainability strategies are rigorous and comprehensive. Launched in September 2012, the City’s environmental action agenda, Sustainable Chicago 2015, outlines seven areas of sustainability priorities with 24 goals and 100 actions.

The plan outlines seven priorities, which cross sectors and mutually reinforce each other: (1) Economic Development & Job Creation; (2) Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy; (3) Transportation Options; (4) Water & Wastewater; (5) Parks, Open Spaces, & Healthy Food; (6) Waste & Recycling; (7) Climate Change. The action agenda builds on objectives and approaches outlined in the Chicago Climate Action Plan aiming toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels.

To read about past sustainability hackathons in Chicago click here.


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