Philly Codefest 2020 Theme: Environmental Sustainability


Sustainability isn’t just an environmental issue, but it’s also a human issue that affects everyone. As climate change makes Philadelphia hotter and wetter, and sea level rise threatens our waterfronts and low-lying communities, Mayor Jim Kenney and the City of Philadelphia have committed to reducing Philly’s citywide carbon pollution by 80 percent and achieving a 100 percent carbon-free electricity grid by 2050.

In its eighth year, Philly Codefest 2020 aims to bring together students and professionals from all backgrounds to develop novel, creative solutions to support the region’s sustainability and climate goals and help make our region a safer, healthier place to be for generations to come.

Suggested areas of focus for hacks include:

  • Water (e.g., clean water access, wastewater management, stormwater/flood management)
  • Agriculture & Food (e.g., agricultural pollution/runoff management, green farming, food security)
  • Transportation (e.g., green transportation technology and incentives, reducing emissions, public transportation infrastructure)
  • Waste (e.g., litter, trash and recycling management, composting)
  • Energy (e.g., renewable energy, energy consumption reduction technology, clean air)


Presented by the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), Philly Codefest is a free software and hardware hackathon in Philadelphia that encourages students and professionals from all experience levels and backgrounds to work together to develop innovative solutions to help solve real world challenges.

With no coding experience required, Philly Codefest is open to everyone, regardless of coding experience – just bring your creativity to Drexel CCI's annual hackathon! Attendees will form teams to work on projects, and then will present their final creations to a panel of judges – comprised of Drexel faculty, sponsors and respected members of the Philadelphia tech community – for a chance to win awesome prizes.

Philly Codefest's mission, to make the world a better place through technology, echoes CCI's commitment to forge and foster lasting relationships among students, professionals, tech leaders, start-ups and corporations. Drexel's annual hackathon leverages the already strong tech community in the Greater Philadelphia area to create one of the largest and most dynamic hackathons in the region.


Please submit a link to your project demo video.  The video should be no longer than 5 minutes max.  The video should be hosted on Youtube or a similar platform so our Judges can view it.  Final video submission link is due no later than 11:59pm EST, Friday, November 20.  You will not be permitted to add a video to your submission after this deadline.

Hackathon Sponsors


$23,000 in prizes

Philly Codefest 2020 Student Team Award

This award will recognize the best student team hack. This award is only eligible to 100% student teams! Winning team to share $2,500 cash prize

Philly Codefest 2020 Collaborative Award

In the spirit of Philly Codefest’s mission, the Collaborative Award is only open to teams with a mix of students and professional participants. This prize will go to the best overall hack.

Philly Codefest Freshmen Challenge

This prize will go to the majority freshmen student team with the best overall hack. Your team must have at least 50% freshmen student team members to be eligible for this prize. - $1000

Drexel CCI Corporate Partners Program - Most Innovative Project

This prize is awarded to the team/project with the most innovative project.

Philly Codefest 2020 Best Hack for Social Good

In the spirit of Codefest's 2020 Theme: Environmental Sustainability, the Best Hack for Social Good will be award to the team that best addresses Philadelphia's Environmental Sustainability issue.

The Benefits and Costs of Going Digital (Boomi, a Dell Technologies business)

Develop an application or tool that in some way addresses, measures, or educates about the environmental impact / sustainability of digital information. The winning team will take home Dell Boomi Swag.

Judging Criteria: The novelty of the idea. How well the project communicates or embodies its intent. The project should broaden accessibility and inclusion relevant to its topic area. The project must consider ethical treatment of any data it captures, tracks, or processes, whether that's application content or user / usage information and statistics.

Bring ESG funds to the spotlight (Vanguard)

Vanguard offers a suite of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) funds that screens companies based on certain social, human rights, and environmental criteria. The problem is that ESG funds have a low quality of information available which results in low adoption. How can we bring ESG funds to the spotlight? Each member of the winning team will receive a $50 VISA Gift Card.

Criteria: Awarded to the team with the most creative, high-impact and scalable solution for ESG funds.

Predicting Water Usage Needs based on the Weather (American Water)

One Team of up to six team members. *Requirements for Prize Consideration: • To qualify for a prize, the team must be comprised of members residing in the continental United States.

How can we use technology to calculate water utilization to changes in precipitation, changes in temperature, and changes in humidity and how to reduce water utilization in response to those changes in weather? The technology should compare the reduction water utilization directly to the customer’s water utilization on their bill. The technology should anticipate future weather patterns and recommend steps to take before the weather changes to reduce future water utilization. Reduction in water utilization would increase environmental sustainability.
Winning team will receive a New Apple Watch SE & Powerbeats Pro Earbuds

Judging Criteria: Creativity, adherence to challenge idea, and completeness of vision.

Using IoT devices and technologies, identify and suggest ways of reducing water waste within a household (or business) (American Water)

One Team of up to six team members. *Requirements for Prize Consideration: • To qualify for a prize, the team must be comprised of members residing in the continental United States.

American families can waste 180 gallons of water per week through household leaks or inefficient use. With the rapid growth of IoT sensors, devices, and open-source technologies becoming more commercially available, the ability to capture and report usage details, control household equipment, and alert on unexpected anomalies is becoming an accessible option for more families. Challenge: Using IoT hardware and tooling, how could a household set up these devices, capture usage details, and suggest improvements to daily use that would limit the amount of excess water use? How might a solution differ between residential families and industrial businesses? Winning team to receive a DJI Spark Fly More Drone Combo Prize Bundle

Judging Criteria: Creativity, adherence to challenge idea, and completeness of vision.

American Water Education Game for Water and Wastewater Learning *

One Team of up to six team members. *Requirements for Prize Consideration: • To qualify for a prize, the team must be comprised of members residing in the continental United States. • Agreement to assign ownership rights in the submission to American Water.

Winning team to create the most creative educational game for water and wastewater learning. Winning team will win a Nintendo Switch Bundle.

*To be eligible for this challenge, teams will need to agree to an assignment agreement with American Water. Please email for a copy of that agreement.

IBM/Clinton Foundation - Climate Change Solution (3)

Climate Change: the most pressing issue our planet is facing. This crisis has the potential to impact every human, every industry and every living organism on the planet. It sounds extreme because it is. Exhaustive research has confirmed changing weather patterns, rapidly rising sea levels, and extreme weather events proliferating around the world.

We will be asking you to form teams of 3-5, to build a solution using at least 1 IBM service or API, along with any other open source technology, to address the problem of climate change. This could include a solution that aids humanity in the wake of a natural disaster, tackles the issue of water sustainability, or leads us to a more energy efficient future.

To be eligible for this prize, your solution must contain at least 1 IBM Service or API

1st place - $800
2nd place - $500
3rd place - $200

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Sean McCloskey

Sean McCloskey
Director of Business Development at Envative

John McNamara

John McNamara
Director of Information Technology College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University

Jessica Tang

Jessica Tang
Software Developer at Vanguard

Michael Afrin

Michael Afrin
Software Developer at Vanguard

Roger Doherty

Roger Doherty
Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft

Joe Adair

Joe Adair
Sr. Software Developer Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics

Thomas Baxter

Thomas Baxter
Senior Technologist Technology & Innovation at American Water

Jeff Salvage
Teaching Professor, Computer Science Department, College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University

Judging Criteria

  • Impact
    How does you project address one of the themes surrounding environmental sustainability? And what type of impact will it have on the community?
  • Innovation & Creativity
    How innovative and creative is your app? How much did you develop during the event?
  • User Experience
    Is the app usable in its current state? How is the user experience? Does it work?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

Tell your friends

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.