In America, our buildings use 13% of the total water consumed each day. But we are running out of fresh water, misusing it, wasting it. What can we do to reduce what we use in our buildings? To collect it? To purify it? Let's find out. Duke University's Center for Energy Development and the Global Environment (EDGE) and TreeHugger are supporting H2Overhaul, a challenge to find the best ideas.
Using the Jovoto platform, familiar to those who participated in the LifeEdited competition, H2Overhaul wants ideas which explore how new and existing buildings/facilities can use less water, reuse the water they currently use, and capture water to use on-site. These might include:
Water-efficient Landscaping around the building site, e.g. How can the site be irrigated in new ways? How can we maximize the amount of captured rainwater on-site?
Innovative Wastewater Technologies, e.g. What on-site solutions can be used to reduce wastewater and demand on potable water (i.e. drinkable water) to carry it away.
Water Use Reduction, e.g. How can sites reduce water from inside and lower their reliance on municipal water supplies?
Successful ideas will demonstrate at least one of the above concepts which tackles holistic water recycling: from wastewater (i.e. greywater, black water, drainwater) to reclaimed water (i.e. rainwater) to potable drinking water.
See the full briefing here.
The contest just opened a few days ago and runs until 5 December, but ideas are already pouring in. Jovoto competitions are very different from typical architectural competitions where everyone drops their entries on the last day; here, people might start with an idea, listen to comments, and build on it through the course of the event. You can poke through the early entries here. Some of them are really interesting:
Gizmotech proposes a sort of combination window and sand filter, where water drips through a very thin layer of sand, thin enough that some light still comes through, so that sunlight can provide solar disinfection. Don't know what it would do to your U value of the glazing, but its an interesting idea.
wwwbangkok proposes the Sponge wall panel system.
This concept focus on collecting water directly from the rain and from atmospheric humidity, with benefit to get more clean water (compare to roof collector) and reduce the filtering task, to get drinking water 24 h a day.
Some of the ideas are very clever and practical; others a bit strange and others have already been done. But it is early in the game; enter your best idea at H2Overhaul and win your share of $ 20,000.