Today, sustainability think tank Sustainia and partners announced a top-10 of leading sustainability innovations for 2015. The 10 projects and technologies are finalists for international honor, Sustainia Award, which identifies and celebrates groundbreaking sustainability solutions from all over the world.
Sustainia’s Award Committee, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, will now review the finalists, which come from nine different countries and cover everything from new ways of financing climate mitigation projects in cities, leasing models for baby clothes, citizen engagement projects for energy consumption and solar rechargeable hearing aids.
These top 100 sustainability solutions were selected after reviewing more than 1,500 projects and businesses on six continents:
The Sustainia Award Committee counts five jury members: Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Chair of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra K. Pachauri and Former EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The public is also part of the celebrations. Starting today, everyone can vote for their favorite innovation among the 10 nominees. The finalist with most public votes will bring home the Sustainia Community Award.
Both winners are announced at the Sustainia Award Ceremony on Dec. 6 in Paris during the COP21. With the newly ratified Sustainable Development Goals and the negotiations for a new binding climate agreement at COP21, it’s enough with the talk and all about action—the readily available solutions. These solutions, the real change makers, are already now working in the market and will be needed in a changing world of climate change—no matter the outcome of COP21. The Award Ceremony gathers innovators and performers from around the world to celebrate solutions for a sustainable tomorrow.
Here are the top 10 leading sustainability innovations for 2015:
Buildings Finalist: Archiblox (Australia), Energy-Positive Prefabricated House
More than 15 percent of the world’s total energy consumption is used in residential homes. Archiblox has created a prefabricated house with minimal energy usage and environmental footprint that is liveable, accessible, and affordable. The prefabricated modular design makes construction more energy efficient. When in place, the home generates more electricity than it uses. The energy efficiency is achieved with the use of double-glazed windows, solar panels and water-efficient fixtures. Sliding flexible garden walls reduce sunlight infiltration in the summer; in winter, the walls are retracted to achieve a tighter thermal envelope. The structure’s small size, 53m 2, also ensures a reduction in electricity consumption, while its open plan maximizes usable area. The prefabricated modules can be flexibly composed, and installation takes just five weeks.
Food Finalist: SunCulture (USA), Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation for Smallholders
More than 80 percent of Kenya experiences low and unpredictable rainfall. Farmers are therefore unable to rely on rain-fed agriculture to meet their subsistence needs. Although diesel and treadle pumps are available in the market, the effectiveness of these technologies is constrained by high fuel costs and labor inefficiencies. Instead, SunCulture’s system relies on a renewable energy source and the solar-powered drip irrigation system delivers water directly to crop roots, resulting in yield gains of up to 300 percent and water savings of up to 80 percent, according to the company. Over 250 systems have been installed in Kenya, with a payback period of one three-month growing season based on fuel, fertilizer and labor savings in addition to increased crop yields. To increase access, SunCulture also offers various payment options, including a financing scheme.