Mayor announces £20k winner of Low Carbon Prize
The Mayor Boris Johnson was joined this evening by 'Dragon's Den' Deborah Meaden as he presented £20,000 to the winners of this year's Low Carbon Prize, William Hines and Rachel Clemo, both students at UCL.
The winning idea, to provide companies in the capital with a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to paper receipts, beat off strong competition from around 100 entries to the competition, sponsored by leading industrial firm Siemens, to take the top prize.
London is already at the centre of innovation for green technologies and the capital's low carbon and environmental goods and services sector is worth an estimated £27 billion.
The Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize, set up in 2011, challenges the capital's students to join this burgeoning market and come up with their own new and innovative ideas to cut carbon emissions, boost London's green credentials and help deliver jobs and growth.
The winning entry, ‘Reseed’, is an idea to remove the need for paper receipts and allow users to access their receipts online using their smartphones. Receipts are costly to produce, easy to lose, and add to consumer waste, so the new system would save money for retailers who would be encouraged to donate a percentage of their savings towards planting more trees.
The students receive not only the title of winners of the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize but the opportunity to turn their idea into a commercial reality with cash and practical support.
A huge variety of ideas from recyclable bike helmets made from waste-paper, to motion sensors to help save energy in the home, were entered into this year's Prize.
From the initial entries 10 finalists were chosen to present their ideas 'Dragon's Den' style to the judging panel which included Deborah Meaden, international fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Zac Goldsmith MP. In a first for the Prize, 30 of the best runners-up have also been shortlisted for a chance to win a paid internship with Siemens helping to boost their skills and employment opportunities.
Attending the awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The wonderful wealth of ideas from the many students who entered this year’s prize is a true testament to the bright minds of London’s future. I have no doubt that every student involved will go from strength to strength as they move into the world of work, via the exciting apprenticeships opportunities at Siemens, or as young entrepreneurs forging their own way from the outset, to ensure London’s economic future.”
Winner of the prize, William Hines from UCL, said: “Few can pitch their idea to a Dragon, a Dame and an MP – thanks Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize for this opportunity.”
The Chief Executive of Siemens, Roland Aurich, said: "Siemens is proud to host the Mayor of London's Low Carbon Awards at the Crystal. I congratulate the winning entry 'Reseed' and I hope the innovative ideas will inspire more people to think about how we address the challenges our great cities face for the future."
The Mayor's Low Carbon Prize, which is open to students at Further and Higher Education Institutes across the capital awards cash prizes to help develop the best ideas for reducing carbon emissions from London's buildings, transport and energy infrastructure and forms part of the Mayor's commitment to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2025.
To help promote the Prize within London’s colleges and universities a group of volunteer Student Ambassadors were recruited. An award for the best Student Ambassador, also handed out at the ceremony, went to Elliot Walton from University of Westminster.
Notes to editors
• The Low Carbon Prize Awards 2013 were held at The Crystal in London’s Royal Docks and attended by around 200 students, as well as the Mayor Boris Johnson, Deborah Meaden, and Zac Goldsmith.
• For a full list of runners up please visit http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/mayors-low-carbon-prize
• The Low Carbon Prize has been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Siemens and the support of the London Universities Environment Group (LUEG) who are helping to deliver the scheme by processing applications and promoting the award to London's students.
• Siemens is a global engineering company with a focus on the key sectors of Energy, Industry, Healthcare and Infrastructure & Cities. The Crystal, a Siemens initiative based in London, is an innovative visitor attraction and home to the global centre of competence for cities. For more information visit: www.siemens.co.uk and www.thecrystal.org
• The Mayor’s carbon cutting programmes include:
• RENEW: To date over 84,000 homes have benefitted from our RE:NEW programme. In total over the last CERT period (2008-12) approximately 360,000 homes have been retrofitted in London.
• RE:FIT: 111 public building retrofits have been completed or are near completion, saving £2.1 million a year on energy bills. A further 500+ are in the project pipeline.
• London Green Fund – will be investing up to £185 million in energy efficiency, waste and decentralised energy projects by 2015.
• Decentralised Energy – The total market value of projects we will bring to market by 2014 is over £300m, with electric capacity of 74MWe and a thermal capacity of 363MWth - enough to heat and power over 136,000 homes.
• Through the planning system we have secured CO2 savings which are a third greater than those required by national building regulations. In 2010 and 2011 we secured through planning commitments to construct 45MWe of installed CHP capacity – enough to power 99,000 homes (London’s total existing capacity is 126MWe).
• The Mayor has also asked Transport for London to prepare plans to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone to improve air quality in central London and encourage the mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles.