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Award winners 2019

Baker's Butchery

Lukas Keller

»With the Baker’s Butchery concept, we have already anticipated the future of nutrition for a growing global population. It couples the utilisation of food waste with the development of alternative sources of protein. Thanks to the close geographical interconnection of two material cycles, it is possible to achieve synergy effects and reduce environmental pollution.«

Andreas Detzel
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Bananatex® by QWSTION


»A convincingly well-designed backpack from the Swiss label QWSTION. Together with partners in Taiwan and the Philippines, they developed the material from Abacá banana fibre as an open-source project over the course of three years. This is a renewable raw material as well as pesticide-free and biodegradable, with both strong technical and aesthetic properties.«

Prof. Friederike von Wedel-Parlow
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Green Moves Rheinland GmbH & Co. KG

»Donk-EE is a significant improvement to existing cargo bike and e-bike rental systems. In the city, these high-quality German-manufactured bikes offer an alternative to your own car due to their high efficiency, the charging with green electricity and the app-based reservation system. They are an outstanding example of the principle of ‘use instead of own’.«

Prof. em. Günter Horntrich
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Marine Litter Cleanup – SeeElefant

One Earth - One Ocean e.V.

»When ‘SeeKühe’ and ‘SeeElefanten’ meet and the ‘SeeElefant’ grabs the ‘SeeKuh’ with his onboard crane, one imagines being in a B-movie. But this marine litter cleanup by the company One Earth – One Ocean could play a role in helping solve one of the greatest global environmental challenges: The littering of our oceans.«

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter
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Jonna Breitenhuber

»SOAPBOTTLE by Jonna Breitenhuber is a fantastic example of the rethinking of packaging. Here, the packaging is also a product. This not only avoids waste but also encourages users to reflect on packaging.«

Dr. Bettina Rechenberg (in place for Maria Krautzberger)
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Paulina Grebenstein

»urban:eden is an extremely well-conceived and complex work. The concept combines extensive systems, among others for the filtering and processing of air and rainwater, with a variety of urban infrastructure measures. The development of integrated strategies for reducing the burden on the urban environment will have a considerable influence on future urban planning concepts.«

Prof. em. Günter Horntrich
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weber.therm circle

Saint-Gobain Weber GmbH

»Germany alone uses five million cubic meters of insulating materials every year. These are often permanently attached to the building, meaning that they cannot be recycled. The recyclable heat insulation system weber.therm circle from Saint-Gobain Weber GmbH is an excellent innovation that aims to tackle this problem, and is an important step towards higher resource efficiency in the construction industry. The system also has other positive properties, including exceptional robustness and the fact that it does not require biocides.«

Dr. Bettina Rechenberg (in Vertretung für Maria Krautzberger)
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Wikkelhouse B.V.

»The Wikkelhouse combines insulation and statics in a sustainable and intelligent manner – this minimalist combination is what makes the concept so exciting. Thanks to a special wrapping technique, the simple material of cardboard can be used to create versatile buildings.«

Werner Aisslinger
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WOODSCRAPER, Partner und Partner Architekten

»Here, architecture is addressing the challenges of its time! The WOODSCRAPER prototype proves that high-rise buildings made of renewable raw materials such as wood and straw are not only feasible but can even generate more resources over their lifetime than they require for construction and repair. The outcome is high-quality design that can be dismantled with all materials unmixed.«

Dr. Claudia Perren
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WormUp GmbH

»Worm_Up Home is consistently taking urban gardening a step ahead: Here, organic kitchen waste is turned into valuable compost – right in your apartment. I was convinced by the high-quality feel and the reduced design vocabulary of the composter. Unglazed fired clay from a traditional manufactory creates the ideal climate for the ever-hungry inhabitants.«

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter
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Nominated 2019


bleed clothing GmbH

Shoe production poses a great many problems: high CO2 emissions, toxic leather production processes and unfair working conditions. None of these issues apply in the case of the ECO⁴Sneaker, which is vegan and handmade in Portugal from recycled materials. While conventional sneakers have a CO2 footprint of 16 to 41 kg, only 4.37 kg of CO2 is released during the production of the ECO⁴Sneaker. Crucially, the footwear also features timeless design, high quality and running comfort, all of which come together to create a long-lasting product.

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BPW Bergische Achsen KG

eTransport is an electric axle drive that enables trucks to enter inner city zones with no harmful exhaust emissions and less noise. This can make a significant contribution to quieter and cleaner logistics in urban areas. The system is designed to meet a typical daily workload (40-80 km) for urban distribution traffic. The flexible design means that existing fleets can be retrofitted for electromobility, or commercial vehicle manufacturers can integrate eTransport into new vehicle concepts.

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Freiburg Town Hall

ingenhoven architects

The new Freiburg Town Hall is the first public building anywhere in the world to meet the Net-Plus-energy standard. The elegantly designed building complex, which prominently features a rounded larch wood façade, generates more energy from renewable sources than it requires for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and hot water. This is achieved through the use of solar and geothermal energy, as well as by building component activation and an energy management system. A green campus connects the individual building sections with one another.

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Green power on grey asphalt

Solmove GmbH

Solmove has developed a multifunctional road surface that can be affixed to sealed surfaces. The so-called “solar carpeting” surfacing consists of photovoltaic cells and special glass, which reduces tyre noise and thaws off ice in winter. The project envisages a coupling with information-, data- and charging technologies: the surfacing will glow in a variety of colours and will be able to exchange information with autonomous vehicles. It will also generate solar power that can be transmitted wirelessly to vehicles via induction.

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Grohe Sense und Sense Guard

Grohe AG

GROHE Sense and GROHE Sense Guard are intelligent product solutions for water security in smart homes. The water sensor monitors room temperature and humidity, detects frost hazards and issues an alarm if readings are unusually high or low. For example, following direct installation on the main water pipe, GROHE Sense can automatically stop the water supply if a major leak has been detected. The new, clearly arranged GROHE Sense App facilitates a more conscious use of the valuable resource of water.

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Joulia SA

The Joulia-Twinline shower channel heats fresh cold water using the heat of the already used shower water. This means that by the time it makes it to the shower mixer, the water is no longer cold but up to 25 °C, requiring the addition of less hot water to reach the desired temperature. Thanks to this integrated heat recovery, the latest models can achieve energy savings of up to 63 % whilst meeting the aesthetic requirements of modern bathroom architecture.

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KSP to go

RMBH GmbH Beleuchtung - und Heiztechnik

In high rooms and halls, the advantages of ceiling-mounted radiant panels are well known: the highly efficient transfer of heat ensures a pleasant sensation of warmth, with up to 40% less energy consumption. To date predominantly reserved for large-scale projects, KSP to go is now making this technology available for smaller halls. Assembly is simple and flexible thanks to the modular design and innovative online aids, and can be completed almost entirely without tools. Additional lighting is provided by the side-mounted LED strips.

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Losing Paradise

Daniel Barnbeck

Losing Paradise tells of the island state of Kiribati, which will sink into the sea in just a few years’ time as a consequence of global warming. As a final project of his studies, Daniel Barnbeck developed a novel narrative format that gives adequate space and scope to this important story. Forgoing a linear structure, his documentary story app incorporates eleven films, a radio play and 19 expert contributions, which can be called up as desired. With this project, Barnbeck hopes to foster awareness of the consequences of climate change.

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plant b

Emilie Burfeind, Andreas Grimm

The project plant b is developing promising and sustainable alternatives for the manufacture of digitally designed structures. A 3D-printed crystalline cellulosic physical structure has already been developed within the framework of the research. This is hardened through the application of a growing organism (wheatgrass and mycelium) and a variety of waxes (stearin and beeswax). The resulting composite can be returned to the production process and is biodegradable.

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Printing with waste products

Ladina Ingold

In this "waste printing process", organic by-products from local companies are upcycled and upgraded into short-lifespan printed materials. Here, residual materials such as oil or juice are collected, dried, ground, processed into pigments and then screen-printed into packaging materials, posters or flyers. The end result are unique items with a high-quality look and feel. Upon disposal, the printed materials can be recycled as waste paper.

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Sarah Maria Schmidt

The two cornerstones of the RAW LINES – POSITIVE MATERIALS project emphasise the role of the material in the broader context of sustainable design. In pursuit of healthy material innovation, the RAW LINES collection uses the biologically recyclable SeaCell™ algae fibre as a knitting yarn. All components, including dyes, are healthy and safe. Alongside, the MATERIAL INNOVATION APP helps designers to learn about the qualitative characteristics of different materials with regard to design, ecology, culture and social issues, as well as economics.

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Recirculated office paper

Steinbeis Papier GmbH

The office paper from Steinbeis fulfils the requirements of the cradle-to-cradle principle and has been awarded the Blue Angel and EU ecolabels. The company was committed to ecological paper production as early as the mid-1970s. In the meantime, they use only waste paper. In contrast with conventional paper production, their process requires 83 % less water and 72 % less energy, and emits 53 % less CO2.

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Laufen Bathrooms AG

The excessive nutrient input and micropollutants contained in wastewater threatens to suffocate the Earth’s surface water. Against this backdrop, it is crucial that material cycles are closed in order to recover nutrients and remove pollutants from circulation. This requires the separation of component streams from wastewater as they form. The save! separation toilet utilises the surface tension effect to divert the urine, thus facilitating ecological purification and enabling the recycling of nutrients as fertiliser.

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Schwalbe inner tube recycling

Schwalbe - Ralf Bohle GmbH

Together with the Environmental Research Institute EPEA, Schwalbe has developed a return system and recycling concept for bicycle inner tubes. Old returned inner tubes are turned into new tubes – 100% recycled. To this end, the company has developed its own devulcanisation process, which saves raw materials and energy with no loss of quality. Compared to the production of new butyl rubber tubes, only one fifth of the energy is consumed – including all transportation routes.

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Sonnet refilling station

Sonett GmbH

The refill station enables retail businesses to offer ecological detergents and cleaners in reusable containers. The low-maintenance and user-friendly station, which is manufactured using sustainable materials, can be operated without power. In addition, a recycling pilot project ensures the proper retrieval, cleaning and reuse of the bulk packs that stock the refill station. In this way, Sonett is making an important contribution to waste prevention and resource conservation.

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Sofia Souidi

Superwood is a new fibreboard material created for the furniture industry. It is made from recycled wood fibres that are mixed with a “historical” glue made from lactic acid before being pressed into boards. Traditional casein glue replaces the formaldehyde-based adhesives used in the production of conventional MDF boards. Superwood is characterised by delicately textured surfaces, a matt material aesthetic and outstanding solidity. Vegetable pigments are used for colouration.

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Upgrading original tube radios

Vangerow GmbH

Under the motto “better than new”, this project is restoring old radios from the 50s and 60s to create music systems that combine the charm and warmth of a tube radio receiver with the very latest functionality. Specifically, a Raspberry Pi turns the device into a web radio that can be used to stream music. In keeping with the principle of upcycling, the old radios are upgraded, redesigned and used afresh.

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The bionic plastic ventilator ZAbluefin has been developed to fulfil the operating conditions that are typical of climate control units. Through bionic optimisation, it has been possible to achieve the same rigidity as conventional plastic ventilators, with less material expenditure. The shape of the blades was inspired by natural forms, namely the wings of an owl and the fins of the humpback whale. These optimisations reduce noise levels during operation and ensure high efficiency.

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Julia Heitz

The book project »ökospace« is focused on the area of sustainable typography. It aims to raise awareness of how the selection and application of typeface during the design of print products can help save resources such as paper and ink. Through exaggerated depictions of frugality and extravagance, the book encourages designers to reflect on their own approaches and attitudes. There are also specific tips for the environmentally friendly application of typography.

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Project overview

Here you can find an overview of all nominated and winning projects since 2012. Among them are works by companies, design offices and marketing agencies, architecture or engineering firms, researchers and students from varied sectors.

Project overview