ALERT PowerOf50 Hackathon

July 3, 5, and 6, 2014

Thanks to everyone who participated in the ALERT PowerOf50 Hackathon!
The event was an outstanding success!

Dozens of competitors and industry experts convened at the ALERT (Affordable & Low-income Environmental Renewal in Toronto) PowerOf50 Hackathon in Toronto on July 3, 5 and 6, 2014 to create ways to encourage apartment building owners to invest in energy efficiency measures.

Read our Event Summary (PDF)

The original event invitation follows.


One weekend
Fifty hackers
1900 old buildings
Prizes for the winning solutions

Why Should I Attend?

  • Be part of a great cause!
  • Be part of a winning team. ALERT has attracted dozens of industry experts who volunteer their time to renew the environment and restore old housing.
  • Raise your profile. Showcase your skills to key influencers.
  • Learn. Experienced mentors will offer their insights to help make your prototype.
  • Have fun! Get to know other smart, creative types while making a positive impact together.

What is the ALERT PowerOf50 Hackathon?

A hackathon is a community event where computer programmers, engineers, web designers, interaction designers, business people, user groups and other experts come together to create prototypes that address a specific challenge.

The prototypes are presented at the end of event and a panel of judges chooses winners based on a given set of criteria. The entire event is undertaken within a limited period of between 24 and 48 hours.

On the weekend of July 5th, we will bring together 50+ developers, designers, energy experts, business advisors and mentors to create prototypes which may include a web-based solution, interactive visualization, innovative interfaces, static graphics, and visual concepts that make use of building datasets provided by the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal program.

Toronto’s residential sector is responsible for one fifth of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Apartment building owners who invest in energy efficiency measures and take advantage of existing incentives can lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 74% -- and save hundreds of thousand dollars annually in energy costs! So why aren’t more building owners taking advantage of these incentives?

Let’s create innovative solutions to this challenge!

Make access to tools and incentives easier for building owners. Create designs, generate ideas, craft widgets, make web-based tools or visualize data to help people benchmark utility costs, access incentives and take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

This hackathon will bring together talented people from a wide spectrum of sectors. Innovative ideas and solutions from the hackathon will help develop a toolkit called ALERT (Affordable & Low-income Environmental Renewal in Toronto).

Will you join us?

The Challenger

This is a project developed by a winning team of DiverseCity Fellows and incubated by CivicAction’s the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN).

Learn more about ALERT

Check out the ALERT project page for more information.

Schedule & Locations

You must be a registered competitor to attend any of the events, including the Opening Reception. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate observers due to very limited space in the venues.

Keynote Speech, Opening Reception & Information Session:

Date: Thursday July 3, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Autodesk (Visualization Studio, 2nd Floor, 210 King St. East, Toronto)
Participants are invited to a reception where they will be able meet other participants, form teams, and learn more about the challenge through presentations from past and present stakeholders.

Hackathon Day One:

Date: Saturday July 5, Starting at 8:30 am
Location: The Center for Social Innovation Annex
Teams will officially start the challenge and meet with various mentors throughout the day.

Hackathon will continue throughout the night

Hackathon Day Two:

Date: Sunday July 6, until 3:00 pm
Location: The Center for Social Innovation Annex
Teams will present their submissions in the afternoon followed by the award ceremony.


A panel of judges will select three winners based on the following criteria: design ingenuity, use of dataset, applicability and originality. An award of $750 (CAD) will be given to the top submission followed by two awards of $500 (CAD) for two other teams.


Registration is now closed. We look forward to seeing you at the hackathon!

Keynote Speaker – David Miller

David Miller Photo

David Miller is President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund – Canada, Canada’s foremost conservation organization. The WWF creates solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.

David Miller was Mayor of Toronto from 2003 to 2010 and Chair of the influential C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008 – 2010. Under his leadership, Toronto became widely admired internationally for its environmental leadership, economic strength and social integration. He is a leading advocate for the creation of sustainable urban economies, and a strong and forceful champion for the next generation of jobs through sustainability.

Mr. Miller continues to be associated with a variety of public and private boards, and is the Future of Cities Global Fellow at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). In his former capacity as Counsel, International Business & Sustainability at Aird & Berlis LLP, he advised companies and international organizations on issues surrounding the creation of sustainable urban economies.

David Miller is a Harvard trained economist and professionally a lawyer. He and his wife, lawyer Jill Arthur, are the parents of two children.


Gord Kurtenbach, Sr. Director of Research, Autodesk

Lorraine Gauthier, Principal, Work Worth Doing – Now House

Mary Pickering, VP - Programs and Partnerships, Toronto Atmospheric Fund

Adam Krehm, Principal, O'Shanter Development Company

Rob Detta Colli, Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Brookfield Condominium Services

Thea Silver, Program Manager (Province-wide) and Strategy Lead, Environment Sector at Ontario Trillium Foundation


Who can participate? What if I don’t have technical skills?

If you bring technical skills, that’s great! However, we welcome diverse experts in areas such as graphic design, user interface design, energy, buildings, real estate, business, and more. We hope that teams with unconventional combinations of skills will create new, imaginative solutions!

Do I need to have a team?

Nope. You can come alone or with colleagues. You will have the opportunity to meet with others and shape a new team.

Do I bring my own data?

We will be focusing on a very specific set of datasets and challenges. If you have data that could be of interest to this event, we encourage you to contact us in advance to discuss this.

Do I need to bring my own laptop and tools?

Yes. Participants are responsible for bringing their own laptop and tools.

Will there be a wifi access?

Yes. All registered participants will be given wifi access.

Do I need to bring my own food?

Nope. We will provide food to registered participants.

Have more questions?

Just send us an email:


David Miller Photo

David Miller will be presenting the keynote talk on Thursday, July 3, 2014.


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