UNYP Alum's Startup Makes Sustainable History

The University of New York in Prague alumnus Pavel Podruh recently made history when he accepted the prestigious EU Sustainable Energy Award for his startup Český Ostrovní Dům. Pavel and his team are the first Czechs ever to win the award and the only ones to do so without a subsidized project, according to his announcement on Facebook. 

Studying at the University of New York in Prague brings rewards

The sustainability awards honor innovative approaches to energy efficiency and renewables that inspire “new ways to shape Europe’s energy future,” the organization’s website says. Anyone in the EU is allowed to submit a project as long as it is meant to encourage people, companies, or the government to work toward more affordable and climate-friendly energy options. Organized by the European Commission, the competition receives hundreds of contestants each year, from small local initiatives to industry-wide programs, and only five winners are chosen. The award is considered the European Commission’s most respected honor. 

Český Ostrovní Dům is a self-sustaining housing project that showcases cutting-edge technology without sacrificing the environment. Pavel told us in an interview last year that he drew inspiration from Tesla for his company. “By actually constructing only a few technologically advanced and more sustainable houses, I can use them as an image tool to help it grow,” he said. “By growing, I mean to ignite demand just like Tesla did for the electric cars segment… We are an exclusive product startup that hopes the bigger guys will follow.”

Pavel graduated from UNYP in 2010 with a degree in Business Administration. Before starting his own business, he was living in the fast lane, dividing his hours between acting as a brand manager for Gambrinus Excellent and singing in a semi-successful rock band. It was when he started to think about what kind of future he would leave to his kids that he turned his attention to the environment. 

Český Ostrovní Dům’s mission is “to accelerate the transition to advanced sustainable technologies in our homes and buildings. It resonates with the public, it resonates with universities, it resonates with the government, and it resonates with businesses,” he said. “It teaches us how we can be more earth-friendly while keeping our way of life in the future. It is not the solution. It is just a small step. I believe there will be more steps in the future.”

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