U.S. EPA Announces Green Building Design Challenge

March 1, 2007
Contest rewards reuse designs that save resources and costs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with GreenBuildingBlocks.com, the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects, and West Coast Green, announce the first Lifecycle Building Challenge, a national competition to develop green building strategies and designs that reduce waste and conserve resources by facilitating adaptation, disassembly, and reuse. The goal of the challenge is to inspire the green building movement to look at buildings as future stocks of resources by developing innovative practices and products to maximize material recovery and reduce both environmental and economic costs.

The Lifecycle Building Challenge is currently accepting submissions and is seeking the nation’s architects, designers, engineers, reuse experts, other building professionals, and students to participate. The registration deadline is April 15, 2007. Ideas that facilitate reuse, minimize waste, support disassembly, and anticipate the future use of building materials are encouraged.

The challenge, open to built and unbuilt work, has three main categories:

  • Building - an entire building from foundation to roof.
  • Component - a single building assembly, system, or connector.
  • Service - idea, policy, tool, or practice.

For more information, or to enter the competition, visit (www.lifecyclebuilding.org).

GreenBuildingBlocks.com is the only private-sector sponsor of the Lifecycle Building Challenge and is donating $7,500 in award money to be divided among the three winners in the student category. All winners will be honored at an awards ceremony at the West Coast Green Conference in San Francisco in September.

In the United States, buildings consume 60 percent of total materials flow (excluding food and fuel) and account for 33 percent of the solid waste stream. Building renovation and demolition accounts for 91 percent of the construction and demolition debris generated each year, while new construction accounts for only 9 percent. From the years 2000 to 2030, 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced and 50 percent of the total building stock will be constructed.

These issues can be addressed by planning for a building or building component's eventual deconstruction or adaptation.  By creating building components that can be easily recovered and reused, materials are kept at their highest value, resulting in reduced consumption of energy and resources.

"Lifecycle building innovations are about improving the efficiency of our resource utilization and heading towards a more sustainable environment,” says Wayne Nastri, administrator of the U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest Office in San Francisco. “This challenge raises the standard for both green building and environmental protection."

This information was provided by Green Building Blocks, a leading online resource for building professionals committed to sustainable construction and green remodeling. The Lifecycle Building Challenge is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects, the Building Materials Reuse Association, and West Coast Green to change the way people think about, design, construct, and deconstruct buildings by developing a library of strategies to maximize material recovery and reduce environmental and economic costs. To find out more, visit (www.lifecyclebuilding.org).

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