Have you ever sat in an audience of 400 or so people, politely listening to a man at a podium announce the winner of a Very Prestigious Grand Prize, expecting him to read out someone else’s name… but then he reads out yours?

Me neither.

That’s why when MIT professor Thomas Malone this week pronounced our company’s BEEP carbon mapping tool the overall winner in the institute’s Climate CoLab competition—out of 27 runners-up and three finalists, from all over the world—it took a full beat for the words to sink in.

BEEP is our abbreviation for the Business Energy and Emissions Profile (BEEP) Dashboard. Dozens of local government professionals are using the data visualization tool to design more effective carbon-reduction engagement programs.

Since 2007, Climate Smart, has helped more than 800 small and medium-sized businesses cut their emissions and associated costs through training, software, support, and certification. BEEP is our way of coming at the challenge from the other direction.

A few years ago, we realized that planners and energy managers—the people who work behind the scenes down at City Hall to turn climate targets into reality—didn’t have the street-level information they needed to effectively engage with their private-sector counterparts.

We knew that local governments across North America had limited budgets to work with. We also knew that they were on the front lines of the effort to drive down carbon emissions—as small and medium sized businesses contribute as much as 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

But the data stopped at the threshold of the dozens, or hundreds, of small and medium-sized businesses in their city, or even in a specific neighborhood.

We created the BEEP Dashboard to close the gap. It graphically projects a given city’s energy usage and carbon emissions by industry and business type. Its interactive mapping interface allows community leaders to quickly identify opportunities to cut greenhouse gases and more effectively engage with the private sector.

We’re honoured, humbled, and inspired to be recognized for our work, and in the company of other Honourable Mentions at the Crowds & Climate Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Their ranks include a pair of Swiss scientists who have figured out how to reduce methane associated with rice farming, a retired Intel engineer working on a franchise model for microgrids, and a pair of entrepreneurs who have created an affordable online energy audit program.