Bright ideas 1

An exciting highlight of the 2010 BYEE conference was the launch of the Bayer Young Environmental Leader Award to encourage environmental projects that demonstrate originality, potential impact and sustainability. Each participating country nominated an Envoy to present a project to a panel of judges, who awarded four projects with special support from Bayer.

Daniel Isfer Zardo, Brazil



My project, ECOHABITARE, a student-led research centre at Pontifícia Universidade Católica Paraná, focuses on transforming municipal and industrial wastes into sustainable building. Our group includes students in disciplines ranging from civil engineering to environmental engineering, biology, architecture and design.

One common local waste is marble dust, a by-product of marble mining, similar to the clay used to make conventional bricks. We took this to a brick maker, who used it to our specifications to create the ‘ecological brick’. It stacks well, so doesn’t need much mortar, and the design, which originates from the United States, accommodates supporting rods, saving on wooden supports.

We’ve patented these bricks and are building demonstration structures on campus: a Waste Shelter, where the public can bring materials to be recycled; and a demonstration house to showcase our innovations and serve as an education centre for the neighbouring community.

We’ve also designed a recycled-materials green roof made of wood and PET bottles, and a rainwater collection system of 200-litre alcohol barrels, filtered through 10-litre plastic bottles filled with sand, rocks and mesh.

Ultimately, we’ll share knowledge by building more demonstration buildings, and by producing an easy-to-understand self-construction guide, enabling communities to apply these ideas anywhere.

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This post is also available in: French, Spanish