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Foundation Environmental Investments Centre has announced the start of Negavatt, a contest targeted at university students. The objective of the contest is to raise the level of awareness regarding energy and resources and to motivate students to come up with solutions that their universities could use for saving resources. The total prize fund of the contest is EUR 45,000, accompanied by consultations with mentors for developing the ideas, and help in finding partners.


“Negavatt is a place for events that could grow beyond the university and spread wider. Students can put aside the search for a Nokia and take this chance to save the entire world,” said Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Minister of the Environment, at Negavatt’s opening ceremony.

Energy savings are often associated with the conservation of electricity or heat. In fact it is possible to save energy in many other aspects of our lives, like transportation, food, clothing, and other resources. However, energy savings are not only limited to the conservation of resources – it is possible to save energy by reorganising our day-to-day activities in a more efficient manner.

This competition – having come to life as a result of cooperation between EIC and the Ministry of Environment – is mainly targeted at universities, as students are the best audience for creating and following through with innovative ideas. Lauri Tammiste, member of EIC’s management board, encourages students from different study programmes to participate and to be creative with their ideas, thinking outside the proverbial box. “Only those ideas that remain unsaid and untested are bad ideas; good ideas are the ones that are realised.”

At the opening ceremony of Negavatt, heads of three Estonian universities held a panel discussion on the topic “How to have a resource savings revolution in the university?” The participants – Signe Kivi, Andres Keevallik, Mait Klaassen, Tiit Land and Erik Puura – arrived at the conclusion that developing the students’ values and attitudes is just as important as devising sustainable processes and solutions.

“It is important to educate people. If they still do not leave their car home and do not sort their garbage, change is not going to happen and there is no use in energy-saving systems,” as the idea was summed up by Mait Klaassen, rector of the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

Negavatt’s mentors include, among others, Priit Vimberg, Priit Mikelsaar, Reet Aus, and Anneli Ohvril. The initiative is supported by Nopri Talumeiereid, SEI, and Yoga, Energiapartner, Ecoprint, Kredex, Biomarket, Mektory, BEST, Ideelabor and Reet Aus Design.
More information about the Negavatt contest is available at www.negavatt.ee/en.

Background information:

Contest-based Negavatt has four stages. The first stage of the contest is for submitting ideas and is open until 12 January. In this period, student teams can submit project outlines on Negavatt’s web page on how to save resources at their university.
Of the submitted works, the 12 best will be selected for the second stage of Negavatt. There, the teams will receive help from one of EIC’s mentors and a EUR 1000 grant to test and improve their ideas. The contestants also need to calculate the amount of energy savings achieved with their project.
In the third stage, EIC will announce the four winners and in Negavatt’s final stage, winners will have the chance to use the prize money to realise their idea.

Additional information:
Elina Kink
Foundation Environmental Investments Centre
Communications Manager
Phone +372 5687 5797
Elina.kink@kik.ee

18 Dec 2013