EUGENE, Ore. — Two University of Oregon students are among four finalists of the Oregon BEST Red List Design Challenge. The finalists were announced May 17 at the International Living Future Institute’s annual unConference in Seattle.
Zander Eckblad, an undergraduate student in the UO's Product Design Program, and Yin Yu, a graduate student in the Interior Architecture Program, both located in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, will be supported in the development of prototypes of their ideas.
Zander proposes the use of a non-toxic, plant-based cellulose nano fiber as an alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation. He will develop a cellulose nano fiber aerogel, derived entirely from plants, that could be three times as effective as fiberglass insulation at an eighth of the cost.
Yu's proposal is for an "Open Window Blind" to improve the performance of traditional window blinds to provide privacy without limiting daylight. The unique shape of the blind is inspired, Yu says, by the structure of Oregon pine wood as viewed with a scanning electron microscope.
The other two finalists are Sukita Reay Crimmel of From These Hands LLC in Portland, whose proposal is for a “ready-mix” for earthen flooring, and Stacy Stemach of Stemach Design and Architecture in Bend, who has proposed a "Crane Lamp" made with salvaged scrap wood and an energy-efficient LED luminaire.
The Red List Design Challenge, hosted by Oregon BEST (Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center, a state signature initiative) and the International Living Future Institute, aims to inspire teams to design original, non-toxic and ecologicaly sound building products that meet the demands of the institute's "Living Building Challenge" and use the rich natural resources of the state of Oregon.
The four finalists now enter phase II of the Oregon BEST Red List Design Challenge, during which they’ll develop prototypes of their designs with the support and guidance of Oregon BEST. The winner of the design challenge will be announced at Oregon BEST FEST, the Northwest's premier cleantech innovation conference, Sept. 11-12, in Portland. First prize for the challenge is $10,000 in addition to assistance with commercialization of the product. The second-place design will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
"We are excited to work with these four finalists in the coming months to explore the potential for each to meet a real need in the marketplace," said Johanna Brickman, manager for the Sustainable Built Environment Program at Oregon BEST. "That's the reward for us in sponsoring this competition — seeing small businesses emerge out of innovation."