This article originally appeared on The Yard Blog.
The school year has come to a close at the Sustainability Workshop, a project-based school at The Navy Yard that challenges Philadelphia public school seniors to solve the world’s toughest problems. The organization celebrated the end of the school year on June 4th with a large exhibition event, where its 30 graduating high school students displayed the year’s final projects.
One project undertaken by a group of students, dubbed Greens-in-a-Box, involves the design and construction of a hydroponic vegetation system within a shipping container. Greens-in-a-Box provides light to the plants via LEDs, and is designed with a closed-loop system, where the water that circulates through the plants is recycled and used over and over. The whole operation is powered by a solar panel. This on-site container showcased varieties of lettuce that will reach harvest in 45 days, providing healthy food to the community.
Another Sustainability Workshop project, Land RAFTS, has received international attention in the Spirit of Innovation Challenge, a competition inviting students all over the world to formulate solutions for global sustainability problems. This project proposes a low-cost emergency housing solution that can be deployed anywhere in the world in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Powered with a solar panel, Land RAFTS is designed to be completely off-grid, while providing clean water, cooking, and even refrigeration capabilities. All of the construction materials for a single home are packaged and distributed in one shipping container.
After the open-house exhibition, several members of the faculty and student body made some closing statements to the graduating class. “I finally feel that I’m actually doing something,” said student Janiel Gonzalez. “We’re doing something good!”
Congratulations to the Sustainability Workshop Class of 2013!