Supporting women-led climate innovation in C40 cities

The Women4Climate Tech Challenge is an international contest open to women carrying out innovative tech solutions for climate action in cities.

Complementary to the Women4Climate Mentorship Programme, the Tech Challenge is open to all C40 Cities and promotes concrete solutions with a measurable impact. The key goal of the Tech Challenge is to promote, experiment, and implement women-led climate innovation in C40 cities. It provides the winners with support and acceleration from C40 & partners; and the opportunity to pilot solutions in C40 cities.

City-inspired innovation is crucial to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse emissions in cities but to achieve gender-inclusive climate action, we need more women bringing their perspectives and experiences into decision-making processes and participating in the ideation, conception, experimentation and implementation of innovation. Without this, we will build a future without the perspectives and experiences of half the world’s population.

This women-only competition is a joint initiative from The VELUX Group and C40 Cities.

Tech Challenge 2020 Winners

Four inspirational women have been announced as the winners of the Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020. These entrepreneurs will see their innovations brought to life in one of this year’s host cities: Los Angeles, Lisbon, Stockholm and Tel Aviv-Yafo, with $50,000 in funding to be split amongst the winning projects and used to support their experimental phase in each city. The winners are:

Project: Open-seneca

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Lorena Gordillo Dagallier’s “open-seneca” was chosen as the winning project by officials in both Stockholm and Lisbon in the international Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 competition. 

Open-seneca deploys mobile air quality sensor networks driven by citizen science. The initiative aims to raise awareness among citizens about personal exposure to particulate pollution, to drive behavioural change and build high spatial and temporal resolution pollution maps that inform policy and urban development. 

We all hear every day about the problems of air pollution and climate change. However, most people do not see it as a personal issue, and there is a lack of motivation for change. I used to be one of them. But now I am aware, and I want to raise awareness around me. With open-seneca, I am committed to driving behavioural change and bridge the step between individuals and cities to build a healthier and greener future.

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier is a multidisciplinary engineer passionate about the power of open-science, citizen science and community-driven spaces to find solutions to today’s world problems. After completing a general engineering degree at the Technical University of Madrid, she is now doing her PhD at the University of Cambridge as part of a doctoral training programme in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future. She is the co-founder of the open-seneca initiative, which emerged from a team challenge with her cohort colleagues in 2018. The initiative aims to turn air quality monitoring into a global social movement with the help of citizen science. Open-seneca deploys low-cost, open-source, mobile sensor networks and provides an educational platform based on gamification for community engagement. Since then, she has developed strong leadership skills, collaborating with makerspaces and policy makers around the world and helping build local capacity.

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Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon said: “The W4C Tech Challenge competition was fierce, with a lot of very high-level applicants. However, open-seneca combines two of Lisbon’s core values: citizenship engagement and sustainability. By collecting and sharing data on their own exposure to air pollution, we will empower citizens to think about air quality and what each one of us can do to improve it. We’re excited to have the opportunity to pilot this technology so we can in the near future, use this data for better-informed decisions.“

Anna König Jerlmyr, Mayor of Stockholm said: “By gamifying air quality measurement and pairing it to bike commuting, we are confident that open-seneca has the potential to increase the well-being of our citizens. We strongly believe that involving citizens can help raise awareness on the impact of air quality and the need to rethink the design and mobility modes in our cities.”

Project: Lumiweave

Tel Aviv – Yafo

Anai Green is the winner of the Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 and will see her solution “Lumiweave” come to life in her home city of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

Lumiweave is a new outdoor fabric combining embedded solar organic PV cells for off the grid soft linear light and shade in one street fabric. This solution makes it possible to create a range of applications from stand alone localised shade umbrellas, to hung canopies, and linear fabric shading enclosures. Lumiweave explores the possibility of melding both lighting and shading and environmental performance in a new soft material that can be used in a myriad of urban situations. It offers a soft systems approach to climate change and the need for new integrated shading / lighting in city streets and open spaces, day and night.

Coming together with the Women4Climate Tech Challenge and a wider audience focused on today’s climate challenges is a unique opportunity to bring technology, design and urban stakeholders together. This will provide Lumiweave with a platform for promoting innovative design solutions for tempering the urban environment.

Anai Green

Anai Green is an industrial and product designer. She grew up in Israel, attended the Bezalel Academy of Art, and Worked in Japan before opening her independent design studio in Israel. Over the past decade, Anai’s interests have extended her work on lighting and furniture to the design of spatial objects and the relationship between materials, form and technologies to bring her designs to impact every day life in urban settings. In 2010 She participated as a collaborator in Megama – a strategic design office – on an entry for the Landscape Urbanism Biennale called “32N Urban Shade” that focused on the significance of natural and built shade in the city of Bat Yam, Israel. Creating public shade maps and shade walls, the installation offered respite from the sun in the industrial zone, as part of the event. Lumiweave and the preoccupation with climate and well tempered environments emerged from this early exploration. Lumiweave combines Anai’s unique interests in emerging LED lighting technologies, flexible PV cells, with the potential of textiles in outdoor uses to address the problem of rising temperatures in urban environments.  

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“One of the most pressing issues of concern regarding climate change in Tel Aviv-Yafo is the rising temperature, a great challenge that we will be contending within the coming years,” said Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai. “Lumiweave’s solar shading structures can bring a unique solution to this problem. We are thrilled to work with Anai Green to test the solution where it is most needed”.

Project: Clarity – Smarter Buildings for Healthier Communities

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Meiling Gao and Vivian Bi from California, who jointly won the Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 with their initiative “Clarity”, a smart, indoor-outdoor low-cost air monitoring system that provides real-time air quality data. Their initiative will be implemented in the City of Losa Angeles. 

Clarity works on the preparation of extreme pollution events and protecting public health by using real-time indoor/outdoor air quality data. Clarity’s IoT-connected, low-cost air monitors, can be placed indoors and outdoors of buildings, such as offices or schools, to provide the real-time air quality data cities need to make improved decisions about how to best protect public health.

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We are excited and really looking forward to partnering with city leaders In LA and other innovators through our collaborative and empathetic approach. The Women4Climate Tech Challenge brings novel tech solutions that can really help tackle climate change and we are thrilled that our project will be implemented In LA and improve the way we understand and respond to air pollution in our city.

Meiling Gao & Vivian Bi

Meling Gao is the Chief Operating Officer at Clarity Movement Co, an environmental cleantech startup based in California USA. Clarity creates hardware and software technologies that make it easier to measure the air quality around us and use that data to make actionable insights. Clarity works with NGOs and the private and public sectors in over 20 countries around the world to find solutions to global air quality issues. Meiling has been motivated to work in this climate action effort because there are so many synergies across public health, air quality, and energy projects to help reach our climate goals. Prior to Clarity, Meiling conducted research on the health impacts of urban development in China and the climate and air quality impacts of agricultural intensification in Colombia. Meiling holds a PhD from University of California Berkeley School of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences, a MS from Harvard University in Environmental Health, and BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT.

Vivian Bi is the Communications Lead at Clarity Movement Co. where she works on connecting the dots between environment, society, and technology and Clarity’s role in it all to support cities in mitigating the burdens of air pollution. Clarity’s turn-key solution for real-time air quality data is helping governments expand their current monitoring efforts to hundreds of additional measurement points, providing high resolution insights to understand a city’s air pollution concerns. Vivian has always been interested in understanding how ideological values of nature and power interact to inform our governance of the environment and people. Before Clarity, Vivian built her background in environmental communications in the nonprofit space, working in environmental law, advocacy, and research organizations including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Global Footprint Network, and the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. Vivian earned her BS in Society & Environment and BA in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Three years on: meet the Women4Climate Tech Challenge winners

On International Women’s Day 2023, we caught up with the winners of the 2020 Women4Climate Tech Challenge to learn about the development of their innovative climate solutions.

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