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Exeter City Futures has been excited to participate in this year’s Grand Challenges with the University of Exeter. On the theme of ‘solving the climate change problem’ we set the challenge ‘The Sustainable Family’.

Using the data available in the Energy Independence 2025 Report students were tasked with developing a model that will allow a typical Exeter family, or an Exeter student household, to determine the changes they would need to make to become energy independent by 2025.

The Sustainable Family

The enquiry group has been split into two groups to develop their models resulting in the design of two apps. Group 1 designed an app for the average household in the city called the Exeter Green Family.

Group 2 looked at how much energy the household of a University of Exeter student consumes in one week. They designed an app for students to track their energy usage per week and compared it with previous weeks.

About Grand Challenges

Unique to Exeter, Grand Challenges is open to all undergraduates from any discipline. By exposing students to a range of contemporary global challenges, students engage in interdisciplinary collaboration to create innovative solutions, supported by a range of experts. Solutions can be videos, social media campaigns, apps, games, events and more.


Setting this challenge is just one way in which Exeter City Futures is creating an Analytical City. We believe that big steps towards building better cities and a better world can happen when we embrace analytics.

For us the Analytical City is about giving all of us, especially young people, the courage to ask big questions about the city and life we want, and creating the change necessary to make that happen together.

It was great working with the students to develop their ideas and help them understand energy use within the City. Exeter City Futures was impressed by the quality of the responses to the challenge set, and we hope to see further innovative ideas and responses to Exeter’s challenges from them in the future.