SHAD 2017 teams devised original ideas to reduce energy footprints. Here are their solutions: 






What makes it unique/viable?


Our product relies on the fact that competing environmentally friendly products on the portable battery market have to have a source of light to be self-sustaining.  Our product can be used in classrooms and on cloudy days regardless of access to sunlight.  

How does this design challenge help SHADs (while in high school) reach their potential in a way they may not get from their normal curriculum in classroom?


SHAD gives high-school students the chance to create and be innovative, as opposed to rote learning. Regular high-school curriculums rarely include opportunities to practice critical thinking and idea generation like we did with this design challenge.  Finally, it offers exposure to entrepreneurship and helps develop life skills such as teamwork and leadership  we can apply outside the classroom.







How much had you thought about the energy footprint issue and climate change before this summer?


Personally, energy footprints and climate change were definitely issues I was aware of, but I didn’t believe that I had the power to fix these issues on my own. I supported other businesses and organizations that sought to make environmental change, but I had no idea that if you brought a group of ten incredibly bright students together, you could actually come up with something together that could help reduce our energy footprint directly.

What were some of the biggest hurdles or challenges you have had to overcome?


When we first met with one of our mentors to discuss our idea we thought the conversation we had with him would mean the end of our product. The viability of the paint was questioned; he questioned whether the technology would work at all. We left the conversation feeling uncertain and a little scared. However, when we went back to the drawing board (and our laptops for research), we found that our product would actually work, and that there was solid science behind the technology. Our second meeting with him helped solidify our idea, and when we left a second time we were well on our way to making Kameleon a reality.








What makes it unique/viable?


Unlike any of our competitors, Clarity directly indicates the amount of money saved or spent by the homeowner when their thermostat is set to a certain temperature. As environmental consequences may not be enough motivation for people to change their behavior, the STEAM Engine chooses to use cost incentives as well.

What has this whole experience taught you and your group?


This whole experience has taught us that no idea is a bad idea. We were encouraged without fear of being rejected or ridiculed. In this friendly and accepting environment, our group was able to build on each other’s ideas, turn one that seems wacky into one that’s helpful, and find inspiration that we would not have found on our own.








How much had you thought about the energy footprint issue and climate change before this summer?


We are fortunate enough to have been taught about the environmental issues that we see in the world today at school. However, we have never been in the situation where we find ourselves innovating and trying to come up with ways to have a greater impact on the issue of climate change. Although we have been thinking about it for a long time, SHAD has shown us that we are capable to coming up with solutions to even the greatest problems that we face today.


How does this design challenge help SHADs (while in high school) reach their potential in a way they may not get from their normal curriculum in classroom?


This design challenge allows SHADs to complete a task without worrying about grades or our upcoming report cards. This might not seem like much but it really is. There is a big focus on doing work in order to get a good grade that sometimes we forget to embrace what we are doing  and just learn. At SHAD, you can take all of the risks you might not normally take. You can push your boundaries and see just how far you can get with an idea that seemed impossible at the start. You get to try and solve a problem like you would in real life, without the possible consequences and within a controlled and supportive environment.







How much had you thought about the energy footprint issue and climate change before this summer?


To be quite honest, reducing my energy footprint was never part of my everyday routine. Aside from the idea of solar panels, students are not really exposed to potential solutions to global warming and we don’t really think we can make a significant impact on the planet and in our own lives. However, when this issue was presented at SHAD through multiple lectures and workshops, we began to realize the magnitude of the problem and possible solutions. 

What has this whole experience taught you and your group?


As we began to talk to and work with more of our peers at SHAD, we learned that every single individual had a different background and had different goals in life. This is what made each and every design-entrepreneurship group so special. With our group, we each had different skills ranging from arts to computer programming to public speaking. Everyone was unique in their abilities and together we realized we could create something special. Together we could accomplish what a single person could not do alone.







Describe what your product/service is, what it does and how it helps reduce our energy footprint:


The Biogest digester converts food waste into environmentally friendly biogas through the process of dry anaerobic digestion in which bacteria breaks down organic matter into methane. Normally food waste is sent to landfill where it expels into the atmosphere. Our digester harnesses the food waster as an alternative to natural gas. In addition to all this, the digestion process also produces high quality biofertilizer as a byproduct. 


What makes it unique/viable?


40% of all food produced in Canada is wasted each year. To make matters worse, the gas produced in food  decomposes in landfills is extremely harmful to our environment (25 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide). What our product is doing is not only addressing this issue and removing it as a concern, it also provides a solution to make the environment better all around. We take away the harmful gases from the atmosphere, and the biodigester uses the gases produced in a new, helpful way. Through chemical processes, methane is turned into a biogas that can be used as a substitute for natural gas in heating buildings. Biodigesters are currently only available on a large scale so we are making it available to smaller businesses that produce a significant amount of food waste. 







How much had you thought about the energy footprint issue and climate change before this summer?


Prior to SHAD, I knew about our impact on the environment but never really did anything about it. However, through the SHAD program and project, we engaged in unique lectures and innovative activities that really opened our eyes to the world of clean energy! I have come to realize that anyone can take action to better the environment regardless of age or background!


How does this design challenge help SHADS (while in high school) reach their potential in a way that may not get from their normal curriculum in the classroom?


As students, we sit in classrooms where we are only exposed to theoretical knowledge and lack the application aspect that is crucial in the real world after education. In this design challenge, we are exposed to the situation of running a real project, contacting outside sources and learning to work together as one. The talent that SHAD offers is unparalleled by any other program as all these students bring out the best out of each other, and the fact that there is no mark attached to this creates a friendly environment to fail. I can't say that every day in my school I get to design a project that one day may become a reality and save hundreds of thousands of dollars for cities. 







How much had you thought about the energy footprint issue and climate change before this summer?


Before this summer very few of us had considered our energy footprint in a big way. We were all aware of climate change and its effects but most of us felt that we weren’t contributing that much individually until we did research on how much energy an average household uses per year. That really opened our eyes to how much energy a single household can waste.

What makes it unique/viable?


Our product improves the water heating systems currently available today. Tank water heaters heat water around the clock wasting energy, and because they are a centralized there is more wasted energy as the water travels through the pipes. Tankless water heaters are slightly better, as they only heat water when they detect you are using it. But it too is a centralized system which wastes energy as the water is pumped throughout your plumbing system. Our product eliminates the wasted energy that occurs from pumping hot water from one central point, to your point of access.







What makes it unique/viable?


Typically, companies will build energy generating bikes themselves, so to generate electricity, an entire new bike would have to be bought. In the case of our product, it is modular, and thus gives it a flexibility in the way that it is installed and used, and is also much cheaper. Not only this, but we have a points based rewards system for the customers generating this energy, which gives them much more of an incentive to participate, and will increase the eco-friendly appeal of the gym, which may be beneficial for their marketing. 

Is there a good story or anecdote you could share behind the making of your product or service?


We decided that our goal was not to win but to learn something and have an enjoyable time together as a team. While other teams set their sights on success, our team’s concept, with the intent of simply enjoying the process of making it, ended up winning at our campus as the candidate for the national competition, SHAD Cup. In other words, our result came in conjunction with all the jokes and laughs which taught us a great lesson.







Tell me about the idea your group came up with?  How did it come about?


It started at a presentation given by one of our guest speakers: Joseph Meyer from Ameresco. He addressed the inefficiency of energy usage in Canada and we learned that a quarter of household energy is lost as heat on a regular basis. We began thinking: what if we could capture and reuse that lost heat? We began researching different methods of energy conversion (e.g. Peltier tiles, Rankine cycles), before finally discovering thermally regenerative electrochemical cycles (TRECs).

What has this whole experience taught you and your group?


It’s really taught us that getting to a solution isn’t always easy. Even when we think we’ve found the perfect solution, there could be many variables we didn’t consider or solutions that could be better! We’ve learned to always keep thinking about ways we can improve our idea, and to not fall in love with the solution, but with the problem.