VOTE on your favorite challenge below, or PITCH a solution of your own: Our goal with the theme, Hacking to Scale, is to encourage participants to build programs, products and/or visualizations that will live beyond this event. With that in mind, we've put together a few specific challenges to facilitate the process.

Come early to get on the list to pitch it on Friday evening.

To Vote: Choose a challenge, and click vote below.
Pitch your idea: Lead with your name and a colon (e.g. Andrew: [Awesome idea!]) - and then click vote below.

Collecting the RIGHT Data - San Francisco Dept. of Environment

The Challenge:

When combined with information about your house and its occupants, your energy bill contains valuable data - revealing patterns of energy use and customized ways to reduce consumption. But there is no good way for you to share that info and no good way for the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) to gather, store, or use that data. Currently, you can download your energy use data from your online PG&E account and then go to another site to fill out your Home Energy Profile ( But, once you make it through those steps there is still no way to connect the PG&E energy data with the Home Energy Profile, and no way to get that data to SF Environment. How can we connect the PG&E data with the Home Energy Profile and how do we get this information to SF Environment so they can use it to create better programs and policies?

The Goal: Create an integrated application that offers a unified user interface to meet the following objectives:
  • allows the user to download and submit bill data from their online PG&E account - complete SF Environment's Home Energy Profile
  • combine that information for more a more customized profile for the user to make behavior changes
  • and allow the SF Environment to compile the aggregate of individual user habits to drive its decision-making and help SF residents save energy.

The application should be public-facing, user-friendly, and encourage people to share their energy use data by integrating the winning idea from the ImproveSF Energy Use Challenge (

Challenge Sponsor: San Francisco Department of Environment

Hunter Franks Community Manager, Mayor's Office Of Civic Innovation

Alex Gudich Ambassador,


For this hack, EnergySavvy will be making available two data sets:
  • Anonymized data on the characteristics, usage, and energy efficiency of homes in the San Francisco area
  • A smaller set of data of specific homes characteristics accompanied by Green Button data for each of those homes

All data will be available to download via a link provided to hackathon participants.

Analyzing Building Energy Management - Panoptix

The Challenge

According to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly half the energy used in the world is consumed by buildings and the US EPA says 10-30% of that energy is WASTED! This represents a great opportunity for developers create meaningful applications that utilize building data so owners, manager and tenants have better visibility to their energy usage so they can make changes that will reduce their costs and have a positive impact on the environment.

Panoptix APIs provide hackers with access to a range of data that is being generated so analytical and visualization tools can be developed that make building efficiency easier than ever. Below are some simple ideas for apps that could make a difference—but you are only limited by your imagination.

Goal 1:
Create an application using Panoptix APIs that can visualize C02 emissions based on building meter data across one or multiple buildings. Share the results with social sites like Facebook, foursquare etc. Why? Maybe to gamify building efficiency challenges?

Competition between floors in a dorm? Create benchmarks based on utility and government date so building owners can see who is performing the best among a group—maybe in partnership with a City? Augment the challenge with a site where results can be posted. How about an open discussion forum on the site to help people with tricks and tips to improve their efficiency.

Goal 2: Notification
Create an application that monitors specific conditions available from Panoptix APIs, and creates a notification via one or all of the following methods: Email, SMS, Twitter. Specific conditions to monitor can be determined by the team (e.g. Consumption limits, peak demand, etc.)

The opportunity to use building data to develop meaningful applications that can make a difference is huge! Check out the current data and APIs available at

Challenge Sponsor: Johnson Controls

John K. Bernd Product Manager - Panoptix, Johnson Controls

Simone Vigano Certified Scrum Product Owner - Panoptix, Johnson Controls

Prize: Johnson Controls
Register to access API

Tapping Into the Smart Grid - OnStar

The Challenge

Creating an easy way to manage when electric vehicles recharge is considered one of the major hurdles in EV and smart grid deployment. Without managing time-of-use, the electrical grid will face steep peaks in energy demand as drivers return home from work and all plug in at the same to recharge their cars. You will have 10 virtual Chevy Volts created for your application. You will be granted access to OnStar’s SmartGrid APIs for Chevy Volt functionality, including the following controls:

  • Electric Vehicle Service
  • Get a vehicle’s current charging status
  • Stop a charging vehicle from charging
  • Reduce a vehicle’s charging level
  • Electric Vehicle Time of Use (TOU) Service
  • Read the current TOU structure used by the vehicle
  • Set a new TOU structure for the vehicle

Leverage data from OnStar APIs to create new applications that benefit customers (Chevy Volt owners), building managers and utilities. Reduce a customer’s utility bill by proactively setting the Chevy Volt to charge at a time when there is typically a lower load and lower cost energy (this is known as “Time of Use” or TOU). Improve Chevy Volt electricity use by actively controlling these Volts while they are plugged into the electric grid (this is known as “Demand Response”).

Challenge Sponsor: OnStar
Facilitators: Vijay Vardhan + Allen Brodjeski
Prize: OnStar
Register to access API

How Parking Impacts Sustainable Mobility - SFPark

The Challenge

Let's face it, moving around San Francisco, while tolerable for some, is challenging for most commuters. There are issues with capacity, reliability and frequency among public transit options - none of which are optimized to work together well. And when you add the myriad single passenger vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists that make up the rest of the matrix you end up with a disgruntled populace.

In an effort to assuage some of the congestion caused by single passenger vehicles circling the most congested blocks looking for parking, the City of San Francisco created a pilot project called SFPARK. The project employs flexible pricing - it is modified quarterly based on driver demand - in an effort to ensure there is at least one parking space available per block. Parking sensors detect when space is available, and would-be drivers can check that availability in real-time online or via a smartphone application (SMS de-prioritized).

Goal 1:

Using the SFPark's open source code made available by the SFMTA and developers of SFPark, create a multi-modal trip planner. It should present the user with the information they need to make informed decisions about their commute before they leave home, comparing the available options in terms of time, cost, health, and environmental impact (see

Bonus points: if your solution includes a reasonable SMS-enabled version of the application.

Goal 2:

Data visualization: Present comparisons between the street parking occupancy and parking garage parking occupancy. This would help us to distinguish any relationships between garage and street parking occupancy that might be worthy of closer examination.

Does the data suggest that we need to amplify promotion for garage parking availability in crowded San Francisco neighborhoods?

Below, please find a few suggested starting points:

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