NYCEDC's blog

NYC BigApps and Cleanweb: Can Our Smartphones Make Us Greener?


Cleanweb Developer Day at New Work City in Chinatown, NYC. Photo credit: David Gilford/NYCEDC

By Betsy Scherzer, Senior Project Manager and David Gilford, Assistant Director

Many of us have heard about cleantech, imagining that clever scientists will eventually solve all our environmental challenges with shiny hardware. But what if the power to start addressing these challenges is already in our pocket? Smartphones have brought us useful and amusing apps, but now a new category aims to transform how we relate to the environment. “Cleanweb” uses mobile and internet technologies, from social media to data visualization, to improve resource efficiency, catalyze clean energy and enable new business models.

To stimulate such innovation, NYC BigApps invites developers and designers to use open data to solve key city challenges. Challenges don’t get much bigger than the environment itself, so we created a Cleanweb BigIssue track, offering up to $55,000 in prizes for apps that help solve energy, environment and resilience challenges.

On Saturday, May 18, NYC got a taste of Cleanweb’s power for rapid innovation at the Cleanweb Developer Day, sponsored by the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). Hosted at New Work City, nearly 100 developers and designers combined forces to tackle issues such as solar energy, food waste, smarter buildings and climate resilience. Participants spent the day writing code, hacking hardware and learning from advisors, at the event organized with strategic partners Solar One, Pure Energy Partners, NYC ACRE and the Cleanweb Initiative.

Sixteen teams demoed their projects before our top-notch judges Ryan Alley of Recyclebank, Blake Burris of The Cleanweb Initiative, Chris Milne of IDEO, Aurelia Moser of Control Group and Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

Facing fierce competition, six teams walked away victorious, with SolarList taking home the AEE-sponsored grand prize and WasteCheck winning Best Food Waste App, sponsored by Action Carting. Other winners included Smoke Connector in 2nd place and Climafy in 3rd place, as well as honorable mention awardees Package Shrinker and SolPatch.

NYC BigApps CityCamp and Demo Night

Still searching for more Cleanweb fun? Sign up for our final NYC BigApps CityCamp and Demo Night event on June 1. Get final feedback and demo for a chance to win cash prizes—plus a chance to present at the White House!

Demos are open to the public, so RSVP for a glimpse of up-and-coming innovators. The public can also comment on participants’ project ideas, so check them out and help make apps even better.

Last, but not least, the final NYC BigApps deadline is June 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST, so get to work now! The Cleanweb revolution won’t wait. And neither will New York City.



Featured Blog Post