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 …

Read: The Untapped Value of Organic Waste in Construction

What if instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, incinerator or compost pile, we could give it another life as bricks, panels, carpets or insulation? Arup, the design and engineer firm, says this is not only possible, it’s a very valuable opportunity. In their latest report, The Urban Bio Loop, Arup aims to demonstrate a different, circular paradigm for …

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. …

Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

This book is a valuable resource for architects and designers who want to implement innovative and sustainable materials in their work. Written by architect Blaine Brownell,  Transmaterial Next  catalogs sustainable materials “that redefine our physical environment.” Materials which not only have low to no environmental impact, but also deliver when it comes to performance and applicability. The catalog also exists digitally, as a …

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 …

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. …

Method: Making Bottles from Recovered Ocean Plastic

Maker: Method Challenge: “It’s estimated that several million tons of plastic makes its way into our oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting our marine populations. and the problem isn’t going away anytime soon as more plastic washes up on beaches everyday.” Solution: “With the help of local beach clean-up groups and volunteers, Method has collected more than a ton of …

Watch: Fashion Industry Innovator Paul Dillinger Shares His Story

Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co is challenging fashion industry standards and helping reimagine a new, sustainable design method and business model. In this video by the Aspen Institute, Dillinger tells his story about challenging industry standards, and his current work rewriting the rules for sustainability and design in fashion and at Levis. You can also learn more about Dillinger’s …

The Water We Eat: An Infographic Story

Maker: Info Design Lab Challenge: Fresh water is one of our most valuable and critical resources. We need to make sure there is enough for everyone on our planet, and we need to put solutions to work now if we want to avoid a water crisis. When it comes to improving our global consumption habits, most people don’t realize that about 92% of consumption actually …