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Cradle to Cradle: The Latest Architecture and News

Cradle to Cradle in Electric Appliances: Reusable Plugs and Switches

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Annually, 13% of the waste generated by humans is recycled, but where does the remaining 87% go? The combination of different types of waste is gradually filling the Earth’s oceans and landfills, leading to a negative impact on wildlife, the natural environment and human health. Within the large amounts of solid waste produced in developed cities, used electronics are a clear example of how materials can be efficiently managed after their life cycle ends. Understanding the behavior of these materials and resources before, during and after their useful life cycle has guided the search for new solutions, such as the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) methodology.

C2C proposes the design of products or processes that function as a healthy ecological system, where resources are efficiently managed in a cyclical way. By applying this methodology to electric appliances, JUNG has developed circular design strategies for their most-used switches and plugs for conventional and smart building technology, allowing them to be dismantled and reused when the product is no longer fit for use.

Perkins+Will Launches New Website to Help Designers Avoid Hazardous Materials in Their Projects

Perkins+Will has launched a newly updated website tool aimed at increasing awareness of hazardous building materials and encouraging designers to select healthier products for their projects.

The firm first established their Precautionary List of hazardous materials in 2008, with a full Transparency website coming in 2011. The new website features improved versions of both tools. Rather than a static list, materials are now organized within a searchable database that can be quickly organized using filters such as  project type, product type, and health and environmental impacts.

Constructing the Curriculum: William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle Building to Inspire the Next Generation

Tackling the widespread issue of climate change, Universidad EAN (UEAN) in Bogotá, Colombia illustrates the same construction philosophy taught to the students in their new building under the title of ‘Project Legacy.' As the next generation fill the seats of the new auditorium they will be party to the very thinking that went behind the building, solidifying their knowledge as they get to experience it first-hand.

The architects, William McDonough + Partners, are no stranger to the cradle-to-cradle ethos that inspires their sustainable approach. The philosophy models the human industry on the processes within nature to maximise usage of materials for as long as possible – recovering and regenerating products. These perpetual cycles are a long-term solution to the dominant system that uses the cheapest materials in manufacturing.

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William McDonough on Sustainability: "Carbon Is Not the Enemy"

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Why Architects Must Rethink Carbon (It's Not the Enemy We Face)."

Metropolis editor in chief Susan Szenasy sits down with William McDonough—the designer, author, and developer of Cradle to Cradle design—to understand why we must begin to employ a new language regarding carbon and sustainable design.

Susan Szenasy: Your article in Nature, “Carbon is Not the Enemy,” really caught my attention. You're redefining how we think about carbon, what it is, and what we should be looking for. It seems like a new phase that you're leading us to. How did you come up with this idea, that there needs to be a new language on carbon? Can you trace back your thought process?

William McDonough: [With the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015,] everybody kept saying, "Oh, we have to do this, to reduce our carbon 20% by 2020." Well, when you think about that Susan, it's absurd. What you're telling us is what you're not going to do. You’re going to reduce your badness by 20% by 2020? That would be like getting in a taxi and saying to the driver, "Quick, I'm not going to the airport." It doesn't tell us what you're going to do.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

"Reduce, reuse, recycle" urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their provocative, visionary book, however, this approach perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world, they ask.


William McDonough Unveils ICEhouse™, The Next Step in the Circular Economy

Designer William McDonough has unveiled the next step in cradle-to-cradle manufacturing: The Innovation for the Circular Economy house (ICEhouse) in Davos, Switzerland. The ICEhouse aims to show the “positive design framework described in the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and the reuse of resources implicit in the circular economy."

The house was used as a place of gathering and discussion for the World Economic Forum annual meeting. After being used for the week, the building will be disassembled and reconstructed elsewhere.

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Announces 2015 Product Innovator Award Recipients

The Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute (C2CPII) has announced the winners of its 2015 Product Innovator Awards. Focusing on leaders in industries that are designing with upcycling and closed-circuit lifespans in mind, the award recognizes innovation in the practice of sustainable, circular-economy design. See the winners after the break.

Perkins+Will Suggests Alternative Materials to Replace Health-Threatening PVC

When you consider the practical properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - durability, versatility and low price - it is easy to understand how it has become such a common construction material, with applications as roofing membranes, siding, pipes and plumbing, conduit, window frames, window blinds, molding and trim, and fencing. But perhaps it’s time to be more cautious about its use. According to a new whitepaper report by Perkins+Will, "What’s New (and What’s Not) With PVC," in spite of recent advances in plastic chemistry PVC is still responsible for a range of environmental and human health hazards created in multiple stages of its manufacturing process.

The Future of Brick: Biodegradable And Bacterial

MoMA’s PS1 exhibit in Queens is a showcase for young architects with lofty ideas. This year’s winning firm “The Living” designed "Hi-Fy" - a biodegradable brick tower. Although the idea might seem far-fetched for housing, the idea is gaining traction. North Carolina start-up bioMason, recently won the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge for their “biodegradable bricks.” So Kieron Monks at CNN had to ask the question, would you live in a house made of sand, bacteria or fungi? Find out the benefits of these modern bricks here.

Insulation Grown From Fungi

Inspired by the woods of Vermont, a US biotechnology startup have developed a system for using agricultural byproducts with fungal mycelium (a natural, self-assembling binder) to grow high performance insulation. Ecovative Mushroom® Insulation is seen as a viable competitor to plastic foams that can be found in both in packaging and building insulation, for which the project recently won second place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge.

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Bricks Grown From Bacteria

A unique biotechnology start-up company have developed a method of growing bricks from nothing more than bacteria and naturally abundant materials. Having recently won first place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge, bioMason has developed a method of growing materials by employing microorganisms. Arguing that the four traditional building materials - concrete, glass, steel and wood - both contain a significant level of embodied energy and heavily rely on limited natural resources, their answer is in high strength natural biological cements (such as coral) that can be used "without negative impacts to the surrounding environment."

Finalists Create Next Generation of Sustainable Building Products

In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected products from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical sustainability and entrepreneurship, creating "a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use."

Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute's Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.

Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Challenge

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and the Make It Right Foundation have issued a $250,000 challenge for manufacturers to design a product for the affordable housing market, which is both safe for human and environmental health and is designed for re-use. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2013.