June 2013: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

Water-Gifting Billboard
Lima, Peru

A billboard that dispenses clean, free drinking water in a desert city of 8 million provides a bright sparkle of ingenuity in a thirsty world.

water billboard

image via UTEC

Why is it beautiful? This billboard puts its words into action. It advertises the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC), which teaches a sustainable focus in engineering. The billboard produces 100 liters of purified water collected from the humidity-laden air each day. A  faucet at the base of the billboard dispenses clean, free water to the citizens of Lima.

Why is it useful? Peru’s capital, Lima, is the world’s second largest city located in a desert (after Cairo). Its residents contend with the heat and humidity of an equatorial climate, limited rainfall, and a documented lack of access to safe drinking water.

Add to the equation a waste problem in the form of 200 million plastic bottles produced monthly to quench the thirst of the city’s inhabitants and visitors.

Mayo DraftFCB, the ad agency behind the billboard, puts ‘engineering into action’ to promote education, increase access to clean drinking water and decrease pollution from plastic bottles. No small measure.

Why is it green? The UTEC billboard, installed next to a busy highway, represents an engineering feat on its own: it houses five machines that operate in similar ways to a dehumidifier. But these ‘dehumidifiers’ go further than simply removing water from the air. The water is filtered and transformed into clean, drinking water – that essential substance so important to human life. It’s multi-use rainwater harvesting for the people.

Read more about the water-gifting billboard at Kalev.com.

Check out Sally’s blog for more B.U.G. Designs.

+ Cardboard Bicycle on the Go

cardboard bicycleFundraising for Izhar Gafni’s cardboard bicycle, previously featured here, has begun!

Click here to learn more about supporting Gafni’s
revolutionary new mode of transportation.

July 2012: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design


Sparkling or still, fizzy or flat? If you prefer your water carbonated then the SodaStream home soda maker is a refreshing alternative to bottled water and soda. Your water won’t fall flat with the SodaStream. And neither will the environment.

SodaStream in the Rainwater HOG office. It’s a glass half full kind of day.

Why is it beautiful?
Every time you use this ‘Active Green’ product to carbonate water at home you reduce your daily CO2 footprint. Use the soda mixes to make your own home brew. Feeling fancy? Try making a sparkling ‘shrub’ for a plum delicious change. Or simply drink your tap water, transformed.

Why is it useful? This affordable home tool uses minimal counter space in place of storage space for bottled waters and sodas.  One SodaStream carbonator makes 60 or 110 liters, equivalent to 170 or 310 aluminum cans. That means less packaging waste from cans and bottles, and less pollution caused by the transport of bottled beverages. And to complete the green cycle, when the the carbonator cartridge runs out, it can be refilled at any number of participating retailers (including Costco, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target).

Why is it green? The carbon footprint of SodaStream is up to 80% lower than other carbonated soft drinks. The carbon footprint of a product or service is the total carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted during its lifecycle, from its production to its final disposal. Something to bubble about, indeed.

April 2012: Buried No Longer – America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge

Buried No Longer: Report on America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge

American Water Works Association (AWWA) has issued a report, Buried No Longer: America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge, intended to bring the conversation about water infrastructure- the network of aging pipes through which U.S. household water is distributed – above ground.

Read the report: Buried No Longer: America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge.
After compiling a comprehensive picture of the nation’s water pipe inventory, AWWA has created an in-depth analysis of the nation’s water infrastructure renewal needs. And they’ve assigned a $1 trillion dollar plus price tag to it for the next 25 years.

Here’s a summary of what they’ve found:

1. The Needs Are Large.

2. Household Water Bills Will Go Up.

3. There Are Important Regional Differences.

4. There Are Important Differences Based on System Size.

5. The Costs Keep Coming.

6. Postponing Investment Only Makes the Problem Worse.

While the AWWA’s report offers data-filled analysis showing the extent of maintenance and repair necessary to maintain the U.S. water system, they stop short of offering solutions for financing these infrastructure investments.

So, how might one pay for a national investment of such scale?

We suggest a revisit to the report on financing sustainable water solutions, which offers a glass half-full perspective with tangible ideas on dealing with the cost of a leaky water system that loses six billion gallons of water each day. Find a summary in our March edition.

Read the report: Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure.