____Posted Thursday July 6 2017 ____

Education & Real Life

Canada’s brightest high school students come together to tackle climate change

SHAD announced the theme for its 2017 program, challenging the best and brightest high school students from across the country to come up with new ideas for Canadians to meaningfully reduce their energy footprints.

SHAD is an award-winning national enrichment program that takes place until July 28 at 13 university host campuses from coast to coast.

Since 1980, SHAD has served as an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation and boasts 16,000 alumni among its impressive network including change makers, leaders in various fields, and 32 Rhodes Scholars.

In one of the unique elements at SHAD, each year, youth are presented with a design engineering challenge to innovate to come up with an original product or service to help solve a current economic or social problem. The students learned today they’ll be tackling the hot topic of climate change.

“As adults we haven’t done so well so we thought why not turn to our brightest youth who are going to have to live with the future consequences of our actions,” says Tim Jackson, President and CEO, SHAD.

Canadians have one of the worst records in the world when it comes to household energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission.

“This isn’t about turning off the lights,” Jackson says. “It is about recognizing the enormous amounts of energy used to make things, move things, and build, operate and maintain the places we work, live and play. New innovations or the revival of old technologies can change the ways we consume energy, and have a substantial impact when a critical mass of people engage.”

The students will spend the next month working in small teams, collaborating to design and engineer a new solution that addresses the problem. As part of this challenge, the teams will conduct market research, write business and marketing plans, and design and build digital prototypes.

SHAD has teamed up with a number of experts to help Canada’s top youth understand the multiple facets of this complex problem, to serve as mentors and judges including lead theme sponsor Ameresco.

“Ameresco has been involved in the design, retrofit, operation, and maintenance of energy efficient facilities and renewable generating assets across the US, Canada and the UK. We help institutions tackle their energy cost, energy management, and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction challenges with an integrated comprehensive approach.

The reduction of GHGs is very quickly becoming one of the science and engineering community’s greatest challenges. Ameresco shares SHAD’s belief that it is crucial to build awareness and capacity around this issue, and have our top young minds using their intellect and ingenuity to help solve it,” says Sam Boyajian, Vice President, Ameresco Canada.

The engineering challenge culminates in the SHAD-John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup, SHAD’s annual national awards which will be handed out in Toronto on October 26.

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