INTERVIEW: Sustainability Advisor Lonny Grafman on the Waterpod
If you live in New York City, you may soon have the chance to check out the Waterpod, an incredible self-reliant eco-habitat, exhibition, and living space designed to showcase sustainable grassroots technology. The Waterpod just launched this Saturday, and it will now dock for public viewing at various locations in Manhattan’s five boroughs. We had the chance to conduct an exclusive interview with Lonny Grafman, the project’s sustainability advisor, about this floating model of self-sufficiency.
Inhabitat: How did you get involved in the Waterpod project?
Lonny: A colleague of mine at Appropedia called me at 11 PM one evening and said, “Hey, there’s this project you really need to work on.” He handed the phone to the Waterpod’s visionary, Mary Mattingly, we hit it off, and started talking about the project. My official role is sustainability advisor, so I look at how systems integrate together. My role has also been to coordinate volunteers and fix problems, but there is also a lead designer and a lead builder.
Inhabitat: What technologies have you been working on?
Lonny: Physically, I’ve been working on everything. My students [at Humboldt State University’s Environmental Resources Engineering Department designed 11 projects for the Waterpod, and we sent them out here to New York… including rainwater catchment and filtration systems, bicycle power, wind power, hydroponics, a composting toilet, and a chicken coop. We had 11 teams of three or four students each, and each team met with Waterpod workers at least once per week via Skype and email. They’re sophomores in college, but this is still all sophomore-level stuff. Now that we’re here at the barge, the projects are going through many different iterations, but some projects, like the bike power one, are ready to install.
Why is there a chicken coop on the Waterpod?
Lonny: Four or five chickens will be living on deck, eating food scraps, and providing eggs for food. We’re also looking at ways to convert chicken waste into hydroponic solutions.
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