A motley — and potentially game-changing — crew of 10 finalists in the inaugural Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge
have been announced by San Francisco-based nonprofit the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute.
The contest, which aims to “identify and reward highly creative and innovative [green building] product concepts for healthy, sustainable, affordable housing,” was launched last November at the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild conference in partnership with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation
which, despite some criticism
, is continuing on with its admirable mission
to build 150 affordable storm-resistant homes in New Orleans’ Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. Cradle to Cradle co-founder/architect/designer/zero waste demigod William McDonough is, alongside Pitt, a co-founder of Make It Right.
Here’s a bit more on the challenge which received 144 applicants vying for a combined total of $250,000 in prize money:
The Challenge seeks to inspire innovators to recreate and retool the way products are designed, manufactured and consumed.
The prize is strategically aligned with national and international trends in green building that are redefining sustainability beyond traditional indicators such energy efficiency to also include consideration for improved human and environmental health.
And true to the content’s C2C roots, all entrants, in addition to having to be fully capable of manufacturing the products at hand, had to successfully meet the criteria outlined within Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standards
: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. Essentially, in addition to being safe for both for humans and the environment, the competing products also were required to be “designed for re-use, returning safely to soil or to industry forever after its use.” All applicants were screened by Cradle to Cradle Certification experts, Make It Right building professionals, and toxicologists from ToxServices. The current roster of C2C Certified products is a diverse one that includes, among other things, ergonomic chairs
, cleaning products
, flooring, and even surfboard wax.
It’s an intriguing group of products that made it to the top 10, some of which I’ve previously featured or mentioned in various posts. Here’s a look at ‘em:
Taylor Royale, Director of Communications for Make It Right, explains the significance that innovative green building products such as the competition finalists can have on sustainable, affordable home building in a recent press release: "At Make It Right, we are trying to revolutionize the affordable home industry. We believe that well designed, sustainable, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes can be built for the same price as conventional homes. If this is true, we have no excuse to build any other way. We are constantly looking for new products that would make our homes more sustainable, more affordable or, ideally, both.”
After being judged by a panel including Make It Right executive director Tom Darden, the USGBC’s Scot Horst, and Tom Gavigan, co-founder of Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, the winners — the first place contender will receive $150,000 while second and third place entries will walk away with $75,000 and $50,000, respectively — will be announced on November 15 at the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute’s Innovation Celebration gala in Manhattan. The competition is sponsored by the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
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