“We are very proud to be once again nominated for an important European award”, says professor Marta Almeida, C2TN researcher and ClimACT coordinator. ClimACT is among the 12 finalists of the EU Sustainable Energy Awards (EUSEW Awards), in youth category and had already been among the finalists of REGIOSTARS 2018. The EUSEW Awards acknowledge the crucial role of the public and private sector, NGO’s, national and local authorities for a climate-neutral Europe. The European Commission annually recognises the most outstanding initiatives in the energy sector.
ClimACT’s goal is to respond to today’s emerging challenges such as climate change, energy efficiency, resource efficiency and citizens’ quality of life. To this end, ClimACT convened important and ambitious ambassadors: young people and schools. The project is helping schools to reduce their energy footprint, encouraging behavioural changes in school communities. The project funded by Interreg Sudoe programme has a budget of 1.3 million euros and mobilises about 14,000 students, 2,000 parents and more than 1,000 teachers in almost 40 schools in Portugal, Spain, France and Gibraltar.
The work carried out so far is mainly focused on raising students awareness on energy consumption in schools and in their daily lives. “This is a project that aims to empower young people so that they know how to respond to the challenges of climate change”, points out professor Marta Almeida.
Prizes will be awarded in the categories of Engagement, Innovation, Leadership and Youth by an expert jury and European citizens via a public vote. The videos of the finalist projects are available here. The Awards Ceremony will take place in Brussels on 18th June, and are part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), to be held in Brussels from 18th to 20th June 2019. “Our project responds to important challenges and involves a large number of young people, so I think we have got a great chance of winning”, says professor Marta Almeida.
Since its creation, in 2016, ClimACT has been developing multiple actions. The first step was to carry out school environmental and energy audits and create a benchmarking platform that allow schools to compare their performance. Then, a set of recommendations were created as well as a matching platform that will give schools access to business models and innovative strategies. An educational platform was also created, which includes e-learning courses for teachers and classroom activities. “Last year, ClimACT’s Resource Matching Platform allowed the contact between investors and schools, thus promoting the establishment of energy efficiency contracts”, points out the project coordinator.
Nowadays ClimACT goes beyond the scope of the classroom and reached the whole community. The “Low Carbon Committees” are networks of students, teachers, parents and local representatives who set goals and identify ways so that schools can improve their energy and environmental performance. The “Low Carbon Brigade” is a group of students and teachers who are responsible for implementing the project initiatives and is considered one of the main legacies of ClimACT. “Giving students and teachers skills and knowledge to continue the project after its completion is very important”, said the project coordinator.
“Over the past three years the ClimACT project has helped school communities to prepare for the challenges posed by climate change”, says professor Marta Almeida. “More than mobilising the Técnico community to vote for the project, our ambition is to mobilise and accelerate the transition to a low carbon society”, adds professor Marta Almeida.