April 23, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Launches Chicago Cleanweb Challenge to Drive Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Innovation

Hackathon Competition Launched on Earth Day Engages a Diverse Community on Environmental Sustainability; Mayor’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Plan Already Showing Progress on 22 of 24 Goals

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced the launch of the Chicago Cleanweb Challenge, a year-long competition to accelerate sustainability and technology in Chicago through community engagement and entrepreneurship.  This competition will leverage data about the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the City.

“The Chicago Cleanweb Challenge furthers my commitment to making Chicago the most sustainable city of the 21st century,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This initiative will engage Chicago residents in building that future and provide entrepreneurs with new opportunities to develop innovative solutions to contemporary urban challenges.”

This announcement marks the occasion of Earth Day as well as the kick-off of Big Data Week, a gathering of global cities and data specialists that aims to inspire innovative solutions to urban problems. By hosting local meetups and hackathons the Chicago Cleanweb Challenge brings developers and entrepreneurs together to build mobile device and web applications. With input from publicly available city data, the apps will create sustainable urban solutions for transportation, water, energy and waste issues. The new initiative is being supported by the World Wildlife Fund, which last month named Chicago an Earth Hour Climate Leader, as part of their Earth Hour City Challenge, awarding Mayor Emanuel and the City with $30,000 to drive resident engagement on climate action. 

“By using big data to engage the public about the impacts of climate change, Chicago is leading the charge among U.S. cities, preparing residents for a future with more extreme weather events,” said Keya Chatterjee, World Wildlife Fund’s Senior Director for Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach. “Across the country, these types of innovative approaches are critical to protecting local communities and moving our cities toward a renewable energy future.”

The Cleanweb Challenge builds off of the Mayor’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Plan.  Today, the City also released a six month update on the plan showing progress in 22 of the 24 goals set forth in the document.   This effort includes doubling the size of Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative, moving residents away from coal-generated energy through the Municipal Electricity Aggregation program, expanding the City’s commitment to green vehicles, and announcing a plan to complete the Chicago Riverwalk.  The six month update can be viewed HERE

The first competition in the Chicago Cleanweb Challenge starts on Friday, April 26th and will conclude in June at an awards event at 1871. Subsequent competitions will be hosted by the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.