Our idea (UNDP Montenegro) - helping families legalize their homes using savings from energy efficiency measures  - was voted as one of the finalists in the MIT ClimateCoLab  crowdsourcing competition for the world’s most innovative solutions to climate change problems. Ours was one of 374 proposals in 18 categories.
What happens now? From August 1st to August 31st, the crowd will vote for the best among the best- the ideas they think should receive support for implementation.
So vote for us here  and help us become the People’s Choice Award. In addition to potentially winning a $10,000 Grand Prize, we will have a chance to pitch it to a variety of potential partners at the MIT Crowds and Climate Conference  in November.
To make sure that you know you’d be giving a vote to more than just a promising idea, we’ll give you a sneak peak at some of the feedback we got from a very eminent set of experts and authorities in climate-related fields :
- This solves a problem that is seen world-over in emerging economies.
- This one seems to be the most innovative in terms of implementing low-tech, efficacious improvements to buildings providing services to the most needy. (It) has big implications around the world in both developed and developing countries.
- This is actually doable and has the intriguing link of energy savings, building retrofits/improvements, institutions (e.g. formalization of illegal buildings), and workforce development. Climate improvement + all three Es of sustainability.
- Really like how they scaled up the investment and explored several climate and economic metrics. Also like how they explored financing mechanisms…however, increased comfort, health, and safety benefits are huge and would also make a great pitch for homeowners (especially if they have children with asthma, allergies, mold aversion, etc.)
- Promising approach to get at a significant portion of the energy savings potential in the building stock. Would need an aggregator to combine multiple small projects and make the energy upgrades cost effective.
And lastly, here’s a very short recap of the pitch  we’ve written about extensively over the past year:
- First, families who live in illegal homes (no construction and/or other permits) would improve energy efficiency of their homes to get a smaller energy bill
- Second, savings on the energy bills would pay for energy efficiency retrofit loan and the cost of legalization
- What’s the catch? A family doesn’t have to pay any extra money the month after energy efficiency retrofit, turning our pitch into a cost-neutral solution with a variety of health, safety, comfort, and financial benefits.
So, have you voted for us yet?
Photo credit: UNDP Montenegro
Energy efficient retrofitted household in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro
This article first appeard on UNDP Montenegro