JanuaryFebruary 2009
Industry News

EPA and Partners Kick Off Annual Green Building Design Challenge

In the third year of the Lifecycle Building Challenge competition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and partners are inviting the nation’s architects, product developers, educators, environmental leaders and students to submit innovative designs that minimize waste, reuse materials and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The “Lifecycle Building Challenge 3” – co-sponsored by the EPA, American Institute of Architects, West Coast Green, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, StopWaste.Org , and WasteCap Wisconsin – invites professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas by August 30 that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future reuse of building materials.

The EPA says ideas generated by the contest help jumpstart the building industry toward diverting the more than 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the United States. This free, web-based competition supports an online library of competition entries and green building resources.

The challenge, open to built and un-built projects, has two main categories: building – an entire building from foundation to roof; and product – building products or materials.

“This competition recognizes innovators who are pushing the envelope to protect the environment through green building design,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Designing buildings using more sustainable materials and preventing waste helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protects our environment.”

The EPA reports that lifecycle building maximizes material recovery to reverse the trend of disposing large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills. In the United States, buildings use 60 percent of all materials (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. According to industry estimates, between the years 2000 and 2030, 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced and 50 percent of the total building stock will be constructed.

Deconstruction addresses these issues by planning for a building or building component’s eventual reuse, the EPA says. By creating building components that can be easily recovered, materials are kept at their highest value, resulting in reduced energy and resource consumption.

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