The Net Zero Elementary School: Modeling Sustainability for Kids and Design Community

Maker: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Challenge: Compared to other municipal buildings within New York’s five boroughs, schools account for 40% of emissions—amounting to a significant impact on the city’s carbon footprint. Solution: SOM architects designed an energy efficient school on Staten Island, The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, which generates all of its own power from renewable on-site …

The Exhale Chandelier: Purifying Indoor Air with Living Microalgae

Maker: Julian Melchiorri Challenge:  Given all the time we spend indoors on a daily basis, maintaining good indoor air quality at home, work, and school is highly important. Solution: Exhale is the world’s first living Bionic Chandelier, containing living micro algae in each of its leaf modules. Results: When exposed to light, each of the microalgae-containing leaf modules is stimulated to grow …

Zipline: Using Drones to Improve Access to Urgent Medical Supplies

Maker: Zipline  Challenge: For people living in remote places with difficult terrain and infrastructure deficiencies, getting access to emergency medical supplies is a major challenge. According to Zipline, “more than two billion people lack adequate access to essential medical products, such as blood and vaccines.” Solution: Zipline improves access to urgent medical supplies with on-demand drone deliveries to remote clinics. Health workers order supplies …

Deterra: The World’s First 100% Bio-Based Jacket

Maker: Tierra  Challenge: Even the fashion industry is dependent on planet harming fossil fuels, which are used for everything from  transportation and production process to the product materials themselves. Solution: To address the problem, Tierra has developed the Deterra® Jacket. The world’s first 100 % bio-based jacket, made from materials like castor beans, wool, corn, Tencel, cotton, and corozo nuts. …

Alleviating Poverty and Disability with a Hand-Operated Tricycle

Maker: A team of industrial design students from Carleton University Challenge: An estimated 5-6 million people in Uganda are living with disabilities, and studies reveal that those living with disabilities are most likely living in poverty as well (source).  As a result, these individuals not only face the challenge of providing basic necessities for themselves, but they also “face the cultural stigma …

Tetra Rex: The World’s First 100% Renewable Carton

Maker: Tetra Pak in collaboration with Braskem Challenge: Conventional packaging is primarily made from fossil fuel derived plastic and unsustainably harvested wood fibers, Solution: “The Tetra Rex Bio-based package, which is manufactured solely from paperboard and plastics derived from plants. All the paperboard used comes from FSC-certified and controlled sources, and is traceable to its origins. The low-density polyethylene used to …

Intermarché: Fight Against Food Waste

Maker: Intermarché Challenge: According to FAO,  approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted each year—and most of it is fruits and vegetables. Such waste not only adds up to a giant economic loss (about US$ 680 billion in industrialized nations, and US$ 310 billion in developing nations according to FAO). It also amounts …

The Watercone: Turning Sea Water into Safe Drinking Water

Maker: Stephan Augustin Challenge: People in poor and sunny regions lack access to fresh water, and often have no other choice but to use dirty water for daily use. For coastal dwelling communities, seawater is no solution since most desalination units are cumbersome, need constant technical maintenance, and are very expensive. According to WHO, “By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed …

Terracooler: Efficient Cooling and Preservation of Food

Maker: Stephan Augustin Challenge: Over one billion people suffer from hunger worldwide, and one of the causes of this problem is a lack of cooling and preservation of food and crops—especially for those who live off the grid.  On the other side, in modern industrialized countries, storage or cellar rooms have been replaced by energy wasting refrigerators where much food is stored that doesn’t even require hard cooling, like vegetables, eggs, and marmalade. …

The Empowerment Plan: Breaking the Homelessness Cycle with a Coat

Maker: The Empowerment Plan Challenge: “Veronika Scott was inspired to start The Empowerment Plan when a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit challenged her to create a product to fill an actual need in her community. Veronika took to the issue of homelessness and began spending time at a nearby warming center where the design for the EMPWR …