In the third year of the agency’s Lifecycle Building Challenge competition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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 EPA said ideas generated by the contest could help the building industry to divert the more than 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U.S. The free, web-based competition supports an online library of competition entries and green-building resources.
The “Lifecycle Building Challenge 3”—co-sponsored by the EPA, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), West Coast Green, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, StopWaste.Org, and WasteCap Wisconsin—invites professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future reuse of building materials. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 30.
The challenge, open to built and unbuilt projects, consists of two main categories:
· Building—an entire building from foundation to roof, and
· Product—building products or materials
Outstanding entries in each category will be recognized and publicized in national journals and at conferences nationwide. The competition’s partners will also recognize exceptional entries in two other Outstanding Achievement Awards: Best Greenhouse Gas Reduction Design and Best School Design.
“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 “lifecycle building” concept maximizes material recovery to reduce the disposal of large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills. In the U.S., buildings consume 60% of all materials (excluding food and fuel) and account for 33% of the solid waste stream, the EPA said. Building renovation and demolition accounts for 91% of the construction and demolition debris generated each year, while new construction accounts for just 9%. Between 2000 and 2030, it is anticipated that 27% of existing buildings will be replaced and 50% of the total building stock will be constructed.
The EPA said a lifecycle approach that includes a deconstruction component addresses these waste-disposal issues by planning for a building or building component’s eventual reuse. By creating building components that can be easily recovered, materials are kept at their highest value, resulting in reduced energy and resource consumption. Reusing building components reduces the energy and greenhouse-gas emissions associated with extracting, producing and transporting materials.
At the end of the competition, expert judges will determine the best entries in each category, with the winners to be recognized this fall.
For more information or to enter the competition, interested parties are advised to visit the website located at http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org.