Global warming is as hot a topic as ever these days, but the availability of fresh water—"needed for drinking, industry and sanitation"—is just as pressing a concern. Jovoto, Duke University's Center for Energy Development and the Global Environment (EDGE) and Treehugger, hope to tackle "one of the most overlooked environmental issues of the 21st century—water efficiency in buildings" with H2Overhaul.Water is often wasted because it is under-priced. But think for a moment about what happens to something when it becomes scarce. Basic human needs will continue to drive demand for water and ultimately drive up the cost for access.
Because water is such a vital resource, all buildings—schools, hospitals, warehouses, apartment complexes—should include water efficiency as a goal. Buildings use 13% of the total water consumed in the United States each day. This challenge will bring together the most innovative ideas to reduce/reuse water among new and existing facilities worldwide. When it comes to reducing water waste at a local level, the scale is so large that if you move the needle in a positive direction, the impact is huge.
The eight-week challenge launches today, October 10, 2011, soliciting the best ideas to "explore how new and existing buildings/facilities can use less water, reuse the water they currently use, and capture water to use on-site." Designers are invited to approach this problem from three distinct angles: landscaping around building sites, innovative wastewater technologies and water use reduction.
The total prize money is a $20,000 endowment award. Learn more here.