Hackers at Cambridge, a university based Hackers Group, contacted Pivotal a few months ago to invite suggestions for their upcoming GreenHack event - a hackathon aimed at tackling issues around sustainability.
Through our work with Cambridge Carbon Footprint, I had recently met the amazing Chris Moller, an engineer, telecoms expert and organiser of many Repair Cafes, and we had had a great conversation about appliances - how more and more were being used for five years or less and then dumped in the landfill; a colossal waste of raw materials and energy. He had an idea about tracking appliance lifespans in order to inform buyers about whether the appliances they were thinking of purchasing were built to last - or built to waste.
I was delighted to be able to connect the Hackers to Chris, and the result was that one of the three challenges of the hack came directly out of his idea. I also pitched an idea about measuring energy usage in the city, and this helped the organisers zero in on another of their challenges, an active household energy monitor.
The GreenHack took place on 10 March 2018, and the results are spectacular. One of the top 5 winning projects developed a Chrome extension called LifeSpanner that informs potential buyers at point of sale about the potential lifespan of their product. You can be one of the first to test it out here: https://devpost.com/software/lifespanner
It was a great privilege to spend time with at the GreenHack, listening as the students debated and developed their ideas, and to be able to give them a short talk on our urgent need to get to a waste free circular economy as soon as we can.
Thanks to the Hackers!