Virginia Gardiner is the founder and CEO of Loowatt. The company is creating sustainable toilets with waterless flush technology that can capture odour and convert waste into electricity, biogas and fertiliser.
The initiative started as a project in Virginia’s master’s in industrial design engineering programme. Since then, the company has designed toilets to improve sanitation conditions worldwide. Over 800 people use Loowatt toilets, and the company plans on shipping several hundred more toilets to the Philippines and Madagascar this year.
“We believe that to make a new solution for sanitation in the 21st century, you need to have the experience on a par with a flush toilet in terms of hygiene and no odour,” she told Dezeen. “You need to have a waterless system so that you don’t need to waste water to get human waste out of sight and out of mind. And you need to have value generating systems.”
Loowatt won the Game-Changer Prize at London’s Cleantech Innovate 2019, a showcase of game-changing clean technologies.
“It’s a massive honour for the Loowatt system to receive such recognition among a fantastic array of exciting startups,” she proclaimed in Envirotec Magazine. “Crucially, placing the Cleantech Innovate focus on sanitation as the issue needing innovative technologies for the 21st century – to ensure the survival of our people, and our planet – is vitally important for us all.”
Prior to founding Loowatt, Virginia received a bachelor’s in comparative literature from Stanford University and worked as a writer and editor for publications such as The New York Times and Dwell. She also has a master’s in industrial design engineering from the Royal College of Art and a master’s in mechanical engineering at Imperial College London.Tags: sanitation, sustainability, toilets