Young designer groups

Coelacanth Enviro Club developed guidelines on sustainable and efficient cooking practices that can help all households. (supplied)

Coelacanth Enviro Club developed guidelines on sustainable and efficient cooking practices that can help all households. (supplied)

Winner: Coelacanth Enviro Club
Coelacanth Enviro Club is a group of high school learners from East London in the Eastern Cape with a passion for promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and preserving the environment for future generations.

The group decided to investigate more energy efficient approaches to cooking. Their motivation was simple: everyone cooks and changing something simple in the kitchen can make a big difference.

The group audited the efficiency of the Snappy Chef induction cooking system versus traditional cooking methods, including a hot plate and a gas cooker.

They found that cooking on gas resulted in a shorter cooking time and fewer carbon emissions across all four tests.

They then took their audit one step further to provide tips and recommendations to the public on how to reduce energy consumption while cooking.

The result was a set of guidelines on sustainable and efficient cooking practices that can help ordinary households and even professional cooks cook more efficiently.

Runner-up: Embonisweni Primary School Enviro Club
Members of the Enviro Club at Embonisweni Primary School in Mpumalanga designed a product that addresses one of the challenges faced by countless under-serviced communities in South Africa.

They set the goal of designing a portable solar water heater for use in disadvantaged communities to fill the gap for residents who have no access to piped water and must find ways to heat water that is delivered by trucks.

The stand-alone solar water geyser consists of a collector that is one square metre, a supporting frame and an insulated 40-litre geyser tank, which must be filled manually.

To date the group has made five working models that are being used by their local community, and they have been well received.

After paying off the cost of the geyser (R920), the cost of heating water is free, meaning residents no longer need to rely on open fires, electric kettles or stove tops to heat their water. This design is ideal for mass production and deployment in under-serviced rural and urban environments.

Runner-up: Teen Energy
Josephine Bröhm combined her understanding of what it is to be a teenager in the modern age of social media, her passion for saving energy and the business case for energy efficiency to create an innovative shared savings model for teenagers and their parents.

Relying on the accessibility of social media as a call to action for energy efficient behaviour, she created Teen Energy to focus on spreading awareness among teenagers about electricity use and abuse, and involving parents in the quest to reduce monthly electricity bills.

Teenagers calculate their household’s estimated average monthly electricity usage and commit to reducing their energy consumption — and, in turn, the monthly bill.

Teenagers are incentivised to save by receiving a portion of the savings as pocket money. Teen Energy uses a Facebook page to share tips, ideas and information about how to reduce energy.

The number of “likes” on the page is growing steadily and the page has secured interest from users around the world.

This feature has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian's advertisers. Contents and photographs were sourced independently by the M&G's supplements editorial team. It forms part of the bigger supplement