The 2013 Semi-Finalists have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the entry criteria including an interview with the individual or team behind the strategy. They were advanced from a pool of 300 entries submitted then narrowed down to 19 semi-finalists and submitted to a 7 panel jury for selection of the winning solution.
The titles and a 50 word summary of their project is listed below. You can click on the title to go to a feature page about the entry where you will find a more in-depth description of the project, including video (if available) and images.
Congratulations to the 2013 Semi-Finalists and everyone who entered this year's Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Those who have opted to have their work published are also featured in the Idea Index.
|The Loowatt System||2.5 billion people today need access to safe sanitation, and resulting waterborne illnesses ravage productivity, causing disease and death. Loowatt has developed and implemented a waterless toilet system that offers a clean and odor free user experience, and produces energy and fertilizer, commodities which directly benefit toilet users.|
|Regenerating Healthy Soils Through Sustainable Sanitation (SOIL)||
SOIL’s ecological sanitation systems in Haiti convert human wastes into rich compost, turning public health problems into solutions. Our work demonstrates how sustainable sanitation improves public health, restores degraded ecosystems, reduces malnutrition, and provides jobs. We believe our projects provide a global model while meeting a vital need in Haiti.
Plastic foams (Styrofoam) are made from finite and often-harmful petrochemicals, don’t biodegrade, and contribute to growing waste in landfills and in our environment. Ecovative has harnessed the efficiency of fungi to literally grow an alternative that performs and costs the same as plastic, but is biobased and home compostable.
|Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science||
As we face global demand increases for energy and consumer products, and their resultant disproportionate health and environment impacts in low-income communities, the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science empowers residents to challenge government and industry environmental health data through collaborative development of inexpensive, open-source monitoring tools and techniques.
|Bioenergy Value Chain||
Sustainable, integrated value chain for solid biofuels that harnesses the rich potential of bioenergy, while: providing livelihood and income generation opportunities to rural communities, productively utilizing waste in the form of agricultural and organic residues, and reducing CO2 footprint through replacement of fossil fuels.
|Healthy Watersheds for Clean Energy||
To address the dual challenges of rural poverty and environmental degradation, our holistic approach combines renewable energy provision with community-based forest and watershed conservation in Northern Nicaragua, demonstrating a model for sustainable development applicable around the world.
|TBS River Regeneration||
TBS mobilises the traditional wisdom of decentralized communities in arid areas to address local water shortages. As rivers systems are restored, their degraded ecosystems (human, natural, social, ecological, economic, political) are revived. Long term, by engaging and empowering all community members, their economy, food security, culture, individual and community health are secured.
|The Green Chemistry Commitment||
Why are there hazardous industrial chemicals in our commercial products? One reason is because the people who design molecules receive little or no training in how to design them safely when they are students. This initiative seeks to make fundamental systematic change in the way we train our future scientists.
|International Bridges to Justice Legal Training Resource Center||
International Bridges to Justice, to further its mission of protecting all persons from torture as a police investigative tool and guaranteeing them a fair trial, seeks to develop an online platform to train criminal defense lawyers – an initiative that can ultimately transform criminal justice systems and advance human security worldwide.
|Voltree Acoustic Early Detection Sensor System||
We propose a system that will provide early detection of insect pests that threaten valuable crops and tree species. Insects of interest include the Asian Long Horned Beetle and the Red Palm Beetle. The system allows early detection using the sounds of the larvae while they are feeding on plants.
|100,000 Homes Campaign||
The 100,000 Homes Campaign, coordinated by Community Solutions, is a national movement of communities finding permanent housing for 100,000 homeless Americans by July 2014. The Campaign draws on public health and design strategies to help communities do more with less, ending homelessness in measurable, efficient, and cost-effective ways.
|Eliminating Poverty Through the "Traffic Light" Strategy||
Despite decades of top-down programs to alleviate poverty, 1.4 billion live in extreme poverty. The “Traffic Light” strategy eliminates poverty from the bottom up, enabling the poor to be the architects of and chief protagonists in their own plans for overcoming poverty as it affects their families in 50 dimensions.
|Echale a tu Casa||
Échale a tu Casa is a Social Housing Production program of Ecoblock International that provides sustainable community development through an assisted self-build housing program bringing technical assistance, social organization, training, financing and supervision giving this the population at the base of the pyramid an opportunity to build their patrimony.
|MASS Design Lab: Building Systemic Change||
Design in isolation is hurting people — this is especially true in economically marginalized contexts. Informed, health-driven design could help; however, it’s largely unaffordable and requires investment in human capacity to be effective. We have launched the MASS Design Laboratory (MDLab) to build better buildings and invest in the people to build them.
|Build Change's Homeowner-Driven Technical Assistance for Safer Housing||
Build Change works to reduce the deaths, injuries and economic losses sustained after earthquakes in developing countries. Build Change’s homeowner-driven approach provides homeowners, builders, engineers and government officials with access to training, technical assistance and financing to build safe, culturally appropriate disaster-resistant homes in even the most marginalized neighborhoods.
|PITCHAfrica: Waterbank Schools||
The Waterbank School is a transformative school design for poor regions in need of water, worldwide. Utilizing geometry, layout and materials, the school provides a sustainable supply of water and food, for the same cost as the conventional 4 classroom linear school building common throughout the developing world, while catalyzing systemic change in the community.
Edible insects are a healthy, tasty, and sustainable source of protein. But could they become an enjoyable reality in the West? Ento is a company that aims to achieve just that. Our team has created a roadmap for introducing insects to the western diet, which we aim to bring to reality.
|Olazul: Ecological Shrimp Aquaculture||
Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S. and the least sustainable. Olazul is innovating an ecological aquaculture model for open ocean shrimp production. Our system empowers coastal communities negatively impacted by overfishing to produce native shrimp without habitat destruction, bycatch, antibiotics, or fishmeal while allowing fisheries to rebound.
|Agroforestry Reconnecting People and Nature||
The urgent need to transform agriculture and its socioeconomic/ environmental impacts has in agroforestry an ecological and viable alternative to harmonize food production with preserving our environment. This strategy contributes modifying patterns of production/consumption in our society, building a perspective, which is solid and sustainable, creating sovereignty in rural communities.