The Index Project
Index Award 2005 Finalists
SQFlex
A reliable water supply system based on renewable energy sources; it consists of a water pump, cables, a control unit and an energy supply

Functionality and use of design
The SQFlex system succeeds where other pump systems struggle, by adapting to the characteristic weather profile of any given area. By analyzing such location specific variables as average sunshine and wind speed, Grundfos is able to calculate how much natural energy is available over an average season.

How did this design improve life?
The SQFlex system brings water to places where nature does not – third-world countries, for example. It is a reliable water supply system based on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. By ensuring a reliable water supply in areas with extreme climates and without a reliable electricity supply, the system improves the quality of life and general health in many places around the world. With the SQFlex system, areas that have previously been considered uninhabitable or unable to sustain life have become viable and attractive. The SQFlex is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The system has addressed and solved basic problems concerning the consumption and supply of energy by making it possible to choose between different sources of energy, depending on the circumstances.

Thus, SQFlex is a product that demonstrates that design is no longer simply about form and function, innovation and trends, but also about attitudes and responsibility – for example with regard to the availability of resources and environmental issues.

Drawbacks of life improvement
SQFlex is not yet released for sale in all countries – for example, the pump is not available in Denmark.

There have also been some minor bugs in the product, but they are addressed on an ongoing basis through intensive user contact and user-feedback.

Research and need
When Grundfos had developed the initial prototype for the water pump and control box (without the internal working parts), the company launched a series of workshop sessions in North America, Africa and Australia (the main markets). During these workshops a delegation from Grundfos consisting of product managers, technicians and marketing people presented the prototype and asked the workshop participants, mainly future distributors and retailers, for feedback. Grundfos had also prepared a list of questions to be sorted out in the workshop sessions. These workshop sessions provided Grundfos with information about the users’ demands and needs that helped the developers determine how to proceed with developing and completing the SQFlex system. SQFlex is a design that is based on a very high degree of user involvement and on the users’ demands and desires.

Designed by
Niels Due Jensen - Denmark