Our greatest challenges stem from the need to provide for more people, while taking less from the planet. Fortunately, today's designers have the tools, technologies and ingenuity to meet these epic sustainable development challenges head on.
Whether we look at water use or resource extraction, Earth's natural systems have been pushed beyond capacity. Human systems—including our cities, infrastructure and institutions—are similarly stretched. Embracing these constraints creates the potential to develop epic solutions.
Cleantech start-up BioLite wanted to tackle the interrelated epic challenges of climate impact, energy generation and health. Around the world, 4 million premature deaths are caused by toxic smoke from cooking on open fires inside the home. This problem inspired BioLite's designers to deliver a cooking stove powered with clean, affordable energy. They faced significant constraints: how could they keep the product price down, reduce fuel consumption and simplify the design, while maximising the heat and electricity the stove could generate?
Earth's natural systems are being pushed beyond capacity.
BioLite designed a truly epic solution. Its HomeStove reduces smoke by 95%, improving home air quality and protecting the health of the household. By reducing the amount of wood used by 50%, families save time and money. BioLite also developed a technology that converts waste heat into electricity so families can use the generated energy to charge mobile phones and LED lights.
Sustainable design examples like BioLite's HomeStove not only help the global climate, but support the community's health and independence. Epic solutions like these deliver multiple benefits and represent the best of what design can do for humanity.