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Imagine a world where houses are built from plant materials instead of cement and bricks; drinking water is disinfected by solar energy, not chemicals; and homes are designed to harvest rainwater to supply hot and cold water. It is not a far away dream—you can see it at the first National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 9 to 10, which will showcase the best new designs for sustainable products and technologies, also called “green technology.”
A highlight of the expo is EPA’s second annual People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Awards, a national competition involving 41 teams of college and university students who will exhibit their novel design projects. Sustainable designs prove that providing a higher quality of life and protecting the planet are compatible with economic prosperity. Businesses are taking notice—last year, four P3 design projects became new commercial ventures. Projects included designs for green buildings, alternative fuel technologies, plans for safe drinking water in developing countries and even greening the apparel industry.
“Businesses are discovering green technology not only helps green the planet, but puts more green in their wallets. Scientific innovation has long driven the U.S. economy,” said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Now innovation is driving the movement toward environmental sustainability in the U.S. and making it profitable. At the expo, you will see designs for how we will heat our homes, clean our drinking water and design our transportation systems in the near future.”
The P3 Award was launched in 2004 to respond to the needs of the developed and developing world in moving toward sustainability. This national competition enables college students to research, develop and design scientific, technical and policy solutions to sustainability challenges.
Support for the P3 competition includes more than 45 partners in the federal government, industry and scientific and professional societies. The expo will include exhibits by companies, government and nonprofit organizations demonstrating successful sustainable technologies and products. The expo is co-sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment, Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Green Chemistry Institute.