This past week on March 29, the fourth annual University of Washington Environmental Innovation Challenge was held at the competitions namesake. The Environmental Innovation Challenge is a friendly competition that calls on student teams from across the entire Northwest to explore an environmental problem, design and develop a solution, produce a working prototype, and present a business model and market opportunity to a panel of judges. This year’s judging panel was comprised of local clean-tech experts, entrepreneurs and investors.
In order to tackle the emerging and growing green economy, student teams pitched a wide range of innovative, ground-breaking ideas that have the potential to help entire communities and possibly the world.
The winning idea came from a University of Washington team named Green Innovative Safety Technologies. Their vision would eliminate the need for heavy, concrete highway jersey barriers. Instead, through their model, discarded ground-up tires from landfills (according to the team one tire, per person, per year is discarded in the US) would be cased into lane separation devices. According to the team, it would cost less per mile and emit less carbon emissions than concrete. The team took home $10,000 for their idea.
Other teams presented prototypes and business plans for sustainable, temporary housing after natural disasters, urban greenhouses, a non-stick cookware alternative to Teflon, and more.
As a company that works closely with universities on projects that increase overall campus sustainability, it’s great to see one university’s efforts to get students involved in green initiatives as well. In our eyes, all of the student teams who competed at the Environmental Innovation Challenge are winners.
For more information on the event or to learn how to sign up for next year’s competition, go here. And to learn more about how your university can decrease its environmental impact and carbon footprint, visit our website at www.therefinishingtouch.com.