Entries on bike power, kid-friendly bills rule BC Hydro youth contest

Sacha Husband’s prize-winning video in BC Hydro’s Invent The Future contest may seem far-fetched. But the Vancouver student takes heart in the fact that his idea – a bike-powered school – is at least partially grounded in reality.

After entering the contest last fall, he researched bike power and discovered a gym in Oregon that was employing bike power to generate electricity for the facility. The owners of Portland’s Green MicroGym actually hope to eventually run the gym solely on the electricity created by its customers.

“It is really rewarding when you think about it,” says Husband, a 16-year-old student at West Point Grey Academy. “If you’re getting exercise while you’re doing it, that’s dealing with another issue, obesity and health. So if you move toward energy sustainability by incorporating bike power, then I think it’s a good thing.”

Husband’s inventive and entertaining The Bike Powered School was judged to be the Grand Prize winner among 55 video submissions generated by the Invent The Future Contest. The other Grand Prize, judged to be the best among 93 submissions in the essay category, went to Fort Nelson Secondary School’s Cameron Ring, 14, for his entry A Family Affair – Bill of Rights.

The two grand prize winners each win $2,500 for their efforts, while runners-up in both categories each get $1,000. And two other winners - those whose submissions earned the most votes in each category - won a 16-Gb iPod Touch.

Earning the most votes in the video category was "Cut it out", while the most popular essay was "Don't Act Like Yours Doesn't Smell".

The contest, launched last fall, was part of BC Hydro’s strategy of bridging the gap between energy reduction intent and action among B.C.’s student population. BC Hydro recognizes that the students of B.C. have a real appetite for social change in their lives, so they asked youth aged 13 to 29 to submit their ideas in a short video clip or in a short essay.  Contestants were asked to present an idea that fosters an energy conservation culture in B.C. or which proposes  a new technology or innovative practice that results in energy efficiency.

For Husband, that appetite for change doesn’t necessarily come with a great deal of optimism.

“At this point, people think of energy conservation as a chore and not as a duty,” says Husband. “And for me, personally, I think it should become a duty… It may sound a  little harsh, but I think when something catastrophic happens, that people will realize the importance.

“It may be too late, but that’s when people will realize how important it is.”

Ring’s winning essay is a call for the likes of BC Hydro and Terasen to produce kid-friendly bills that detail efficiency and consumption information, and provide activities and challenges that will promote awareness throughout the household.

“I envisage the ideal outcome having all energy companies telling their customers that they intend to start sending out a new kid friendly billing sheet and explaining that this should benefit the adult/parent/guardian/grandparent/school if they support the scheme and fully involve their children,” wrote Ring in his winning essay. “Clearly not all homes have children, but in all honesty many adults would welcome a clearer, easier to understand bill with energy saving tips on it. “

Here's a list of the winners and finalists:

Video Category

Grand Prize Winner:
Sacha Husband, 16, The Bike Powered School
Vancouver - West Point Grey Academy

Runner up:
Nikita Thompson and Abbie Thompson, 16,  Drowning in Consumer Goods
North Vancouver – Sutherland Secondary School

Ashley Barraclough, 17,  Simple Choices
North Vancouver
A team of four worked on this: Ashley Barraclough, Audrey Tyau, Scott Domes,
Evan Kwan.

Carson Friesen, 27, Sky to Bowl

Devyn Brugge, Sam Schulz, Jake Hardy,  Instant Gratification
Nanaimo – Wellington Secondary School

Essay Category

Grand Prize Winner:
Cameron Ring, 14, A Family Affair, “The Bill of Rights”
Fort Nelson – Fort Nelson Secondary School

Runner Up:
Joe Melton, 29,  UVic Farm
Esquimalt –  Phd student at U Vic

Salome Wong, 15, Recycle for a Cure
Coquitlam – Port Moody Secondary School

Greg Polvi, 24,  Green Foot
Port Moody

Daniel Sykora and William Gatenby, 13,  StandBy Killer
West Vancouver  – St.  Thomas Aquinas Secondary

Talia Albert, 15 Recycling of the Future
Vancouver – Magee Secondary School

Who chose the winners?

The judging committee was comprised of staff from BC Hydro, the GIFTS Film School, the Go Beyond Program, B.C.'s Ministry of Education and a youth lead from the Climate Action Secretariat.

Source: BC Hydro News