Today is Earth Day, and here’s a very Earth-friendly idea: a skylight that can turn salt water into drinking water.
This comes from Henry Glogau, a designer, artist and architect from New Zealand.
While studying in Chile, he started to get to know people at a settlement called Nueva Esperanza, or New Hope.
The residents said it wasn’t always easy for them to get essentials like clean drinking water and electricity because they weren’t connected to water pipes and power grids.
Their homes were often makeshift, built with what they had, not always what they needed.
So Glogau came up with a device that could meet several of these needs at once, using what people already had nearby.
It’s called the Solar Desalination Skylight.
It’s not a clear glass skylight like you see in some homes in the US.
It’s more bulb-shaped, because it has a basin for water built into it.
Once seawater is hand-pumped into the basin, solar energy separates out the fresh water from the salt and other materials through evaporation.
The fresh water then drips down into another basin with a tap, so it can be collected and used.
The device also has LEDs, which are powered partly by solar and partly by the leftover salt brine.
This is a prototype, so it’s not as if we could install a bunch of these devices today and there would be enough clean water for everybody.
But Glogau’s device is an example of how to work with the environment to create something that can help people without requiring lots of extra resources, extra materials, extra time or extra costs.
The sun and the water are already doing the work in nature, so why not have them do the same work to help people out too?
This weekend in Chicago, it’s “Golden-Con,” the convention for fans of “The Golden Girls.”
(It’s also known as “Thank You For Being A Fan.”)
There will be a costume parade, a parade, trivia, parody performances and something called a “St. Olaf story slam.”
Screenshot from Henry Glogau via YouTube