Carleton University’s SHAD group of high school students devised an innovative solution to fight climate change and lower bills, besting 800 students to dominate the John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup—the first time one team scored so well in the history of the Waterloo, Ont.-based enrichment and entrepreneurship program.

Held each October to celebrate the best innovations developed by some of Canada’s highest-potential secondary students, this year’s challenge was to develop and pitch an entrepreneurial solution to “help Canadians meaningfully reduce their energy footprint.”

Carleton’s 11-member team was named after its innovation—Kameleon. They won in the four key award segments—best application of theme, best application of scientific principles, best business plan and best prototype—and ultimately were named SHAD Innovators of the Year.

Kameleon are roof shingles optimized to repel heat in summer and insulate your home in winter through a combination of paints including the key ingredient—leuco dye paint. The colour-changing technology turns the shingles white when it is warm outside, to reflect sunlight and keep homes cool. In the winter, the shingles turn black to attract the sun’s heat and keep homes warm.

“I had no idea that if you brought a group of 10 incredibly bright students together, you could actually come up with something together that could help reduce our energy footprint,” says Kameleon team leader Saad Baig. He adds Kameleon is considering applying for a patent once their product undergoes testing.

“The idea behind our design challenge is to teach high school students the fundamental skills they need to be innovators and to give them the confidence to get going,” says Tim Jackson, president and CEO of SHAD. “The students are given a safe space for hands-on learning where they learn to create an idea, fail and build something even better. You can’t help but feel good about our future when you meet these young people and see what they are capable of achieving.”

SHAD is open to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 who live in residence, attend lectures and workshops offered by top faculty and community leaders, and participate in field trips to see science and innovation in action. There are recreational activities to round out the learning, all designed to help students realize their full potential with other like-minded students from all over Canada.

Kameleon’s team members are: Obi Aghamelu, from Moose Jaw, Sask.; Saad Baig from Etobicoke, Ont.; Bhuvna Dalal from Cambridge, Ont.; Michael Groff from Newmarket, Ont.; Abby Hackett from Tignish, PEI; Ulla Hagomer from Scarborough, Ont.; Mika Lu from Vancouver, BC; Armaan Marwaha from Toronto, ON; Megan Scarlett from Toronto, Ont.; Yvaine Stelmack from Sylvan Lake, AB; and Hugo Yin from Surrey, BC.

About SHAD

SHAD produces leaders for Canada through its award-winning, life-changing, pan-Canadian enrichment platform for high school students. Every year, SHAD helps 900 young Canadians tap into their full potential through an innovative month-long program at one of 16 partner university campuses. There, students apply STEAM (science-tech-engineering-arts-math) disciplines to real-life public policy and entrepreneurial challenges, forging insights and valuable relationships for life.

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