“Innovation” is the word of the year in the water industry.
That’s because we need new thinking to solve the water supply and infrastructure challenges of the future, which include an anticipated water gap looming in Colorado and $1 trillion needed to upgrade the nation’s D-rated infrastructure.
In October, I had the opportunity to visit the Solar Decathlon hosted right here in Denver, where 11 schools from around the world designed and built full-sized sustainable houses, and the students competed in 10 contests that ranged from engineering to health and comfort.
This was the first year that water was part of the competition, and the students didn’t disappoint. Water-efficiency ideas like rainwater collection, graywater systems and even aquaponics were brought to life in the “pop-up village” displaying all 11 student-built sustainable homes.
To me, these innovative and forward-thinking designs proved that the future is now. We’re seeing firsthand that the students of today have some great ideas to tackle the water challenges of tomorrow.
Not only were the homes technologically innovative, they also made sustainable living look and feel like a lifestyle enhancement, rather than a sacrifice.
Changing public perception is often the most difficult kind of innovation, and these extraordinary students not only did that, they also inspired the next generation. Including my 9-year-old nephew Jack, who walked through the homes and told me he couldn’t wait until he was big so that he could live in a house like he saw at the Solar Decathlon.
I think you’ll agree. Take a look: