Energize: Sustainable City Challenge

Two students playing Energize board gameThe Energize: Sustainable City Challenge is a resource designed for local community partners to think about climate change and energy planning in Waterloo Region. It is a simulation-styled workshop that uses real-world data to help participants:

  • Improve literacy of where energy is used and how it is generated
  • Understand the implications of greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets
  • Think big picture about how various technologies, programs, and policies can come together to shift to a sustainable energy future
  • Inspire action and have fun with a complicated topic!

The project began in 2017, and has evolved through several versions with community input and to improve design.

As of 2019, Waterloo Global Science Initiative took over most development of the simulation exercise to transform it into a game-style activity, in collaboration with the Games Institute. The game version is currently under development, with plans to be released in 2020.

If you are a student or community member with a passion for climate change and energy, or simply want to know more about how Watelroo Region can transition to a low carbon future, reach out to Andrea Bale for more information.

Organizing partners

The Energize Challenge would not be possible without support from the following partners: 

University of Waterloo

Contacts: Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Manager
Andrea Bale, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator

University of Waterloo logo               
Climate Action Waterloo Region Contact: Sue Arndt, Climate Action Plan Manager Climate Action Waterloo Region logo
Waterloo Global Science Initiative Contacts: Kate Pearce, Community Programming Coordinator
Hayley Rutherford, Content and Programming Manager
Waterloo Global Science Initiative logo
Waterloo Catholic District School Board Contact: Elena Weber-Kraljevska, Energy Conservation Officer Waterloo Catholic District School Board logo

Game credits

The game also credits significant inspiration to the US Environmental Protection Agency's Generate: The Game of Energy Choices. Some of the core concepts from Generate were adapted into the local energy context in Waterloo Region, and then expanded and mapped across real-world data to enable real policy discussions and choices. 

The game also credits the work of the Decarbonization Forum team from the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, who facilitated a community-wide workshop for policymakers and academic audiences in the Fall of 2016. The Forum team used a similar approach to modelling community energy use and planning for future scenarios.