From Inside Business
One of the homes at this year’s Homearama at the Creeks of Nansemond features a unique, locally created item.
Ecodog, a solar powered, bio-filtered water fountain for dogs, was highlighted at The Suffolk House, built by Ore Builders. It is also a functional work of art that can be used at residences, businesses and in the community.
Nicole Harp and Knox Garvin started Ecodog about three years ago. Garvin is no longer involved with Ecodog. Harp’s current partner and engineer is Murat Ozkan.
The idea came to fruition after Harp and Garvin were awarded a grant from the Norfolk Cultural Arts Commission to launch Citizen Artist Norfolk. The project gave citizens an opportunity to share their ideas for building a better Norfolk.
“Citizen Artist Norfolk consisted of a video, website and art installation that traveled during art week,” Harp stated in an email. “It solicited creative ideas to improve the city’s design and appeal and we wanted to bring one idea to life.”
They chose Ecodog, a proposal by Leana Stormont.
“Ecodog water fountain is an excellent way to help manage rainwater that otherwise would run off and contribute to flooding,” Harp said. They saw a need that combined their connection with the community, commitment to sustainability and love for animals.
Doubling as a dog and plant watering station and urban storm water management system, Ecodog collects 55 to 200 gallons of rainwater runoff or nuisance rainwater before it touches the ground or enters city storm drains and waterways.
Harp said Ecodog is working with the City of Norfolk, Rise Resilience Rockefeller Foundation, Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business and ODU Innovation to help combat sea level rise by using larger devices – Mega Dogs – that harvest hundreds of gallons of rainwater and filter it for the community’s use.
Backed by ODU Innovation and the City of Norfolk’s Architectural Design Review and Development Board, Ecodog was the winner of the 2017 City of Norfolk Environmental Action Award for its ecological design.
The business is working with WPA Architects to put 10 Ecodogs on the Elizabeth River Trail.
“One of our latest installations at Starbucks on Colonial Avenue in Norfolk used LED lights and laser Plexiglas in the design which allows Ecodog to glow at night,” Harp said.
Harp gave several reasons why the Ecodog system, which starts at $2,500, is advantageous to have: It eliminates city permits and hookups and allows for watering stations in areas with no water connections; it provides clean hydration for canines, which attracts customers with an eye toward the environment and sustainability; and it creates animal-friendly accommodations for businesses, fostering a loyal following among dog owners.
From Inside Business
By Sandra Pennecke
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