Tag Archives: circular economy

PreCycling: A gateway to the Construction Circular Economy

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Precycling is a term I adopted within FutuREstorative to describe the decision making process when specifying, procuring, ordering and calling off materials. It is the thought process, not for only the avoidance of waste but in considering net-positive and secondary uses for a product at the end of its initial use.

Precycling is defined as ‘making purchasing decisions that will ultimately eliminate, delay, reduce the need to recycle or dispose of waste” and should be at the top of all waste hierarchies, as indeed it now is with some of the organisation whom I am supporting.

I have suggested elsewhere that product or material data sheets or passports within BIM should contain deconstruction, disassembly future use options within their attributes, hence enabling and informing precycling decisions.

“Precycling is one of the gateways into a construction circular economy” and assists in making the conversion from Site Waste Management Plans (that detail methods for reducing and better management of waste) to Material Conservation Plans (that detail methods for conserving resources)

Material Conservation Plans are a Living Building Challenge requirement under the Materials imperative. A framework for UK Project Material Conservation Plans is included within FutuREstorative

In January 2017 BRE published Material resource efficiency in construction: Supporting a circular economy (FB 85) which although still having a focus on Site Waste Management Plans assists in shifting waste thinking further up stream, noting that Material resource efficiency can be applied across a construction project’s life cycle, but with the greatest benefits at early, pre-construction stages

4_fb85_165px “There is increasing awareness that improved material resource efficiency will produce benefits across the construction industry such as cost savings, reduced environmental impact and an enhanced reputation. At a construction project level, resource efficiency can be implemented at all stages (design, procurement, construction, in use and end of life) using established tools and techniques.

This guide describes the material resource efficiency requirements in BREEAM. It provides the background, drivers, benefits and practical advice to assist clients, designers and contractors in achieving higher levels of material resource efficiency. It will also be useful to product manufacturers, suppliers and waste management companies”

 

BS 8001 circular economy standard consultation

The British Standards Institute has issued consultation for BS 8001  for businesses implementing circular economy thinking. 

pexels-photo-94616I have covered the circular economy over the recent years within the built environment over recent years within blog posts here,through numerous presentations and workshops and of course within FutuREstorative It is great therefore to see that  BS8001 standard for circular economy guidance is out for consultation.

BS8001 in time will surely become as important as ISO 9001, 14001 etc in the lexicon of key standards, and more so than these standards, BS8001 will pull together a meaningful triple bottom line approach to business.

Unlike other technical standards BS8001 provides information on circular economy concepts, suggesting steps that can be taken to operate in a circular economy.  According to the BSI, the standard will help organisations take practical action to make the most of a low-carbon economy and cut costs and supply chain risks whilst generating economic and social value.

The standard is non sector, size or location specific, hence providing case studies, guidance and recommendations for all on circular economy business models and strategies

Perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the standard might be the in-depth review of current circular economy terminology and schools of thought. In an effort to clarify different parts of the circular economy for readers, 8001 seeks to distinguish between nuanced concepts and clear up some confusion that has emerged as circular economy conversation has proliferated. For example, the draft includes sections on ‘open’ and ‘closed’ loops, why the circular economy is distinct from resource efficiency and zero-waste agendas, and how the circular economy relates to other disciplines such as the Blue Economy, Cradle to Cradle and Biomimicry (1)

Consultation is open until January 15th to comment on the draft standard.

(1) http://circulatenews.org/2016/12/british-standards-institute-on-the-circular-economy/

Bright Green – the new Black (Friday)

That Green is the new Black is illustrated through sustainability focused alternatives to the commercialism of Black Friday.

100-planet-tcl-1404x778-c-defaultPatagonia whose sustainability vision entails using business to make change will be giving 100% of sales to 1% For The Planet this Black Friday. 

This year Patagonia will donate 100 percent of global Black Friday sales in our stores and on our website to grassroots organisations working in local communities to protect our air, water and soil for future generations. These are small groups, often underfunded and under the radar, who work on the front lines. The support we can give is more important now than ever

pexels-photo-94616REI and others under the hashtag banner of #optoutside will be closing stores, encouraging staff to spend time with family and friends – out of doors.

Here in the UK we have adopted the US Black Friday sales madness. In conversation with a local outdoor gear store, they felt they couldn’t make the stand as Patagonia and REI are doing as they would just loose out (online) sales to competition over the black Friday 2 week period. But there are signs we are adopting the green Friday thinking here in the UK.

As I write this blog on a business trip to Brighton, I am encouraged to see BrightFriday activities in place coordinated through alt fashion Hubbub.org. Their three simple guidelines to create a BrightFriday also serves as a great circular economy statement.

How to create your #BrightFriday this Black Friday

1. Resist the pressure of buying things you don’t want or even need. Remember, the best bargain is not buying stuff you didn’t want in the first place.

2. Rekindle love for what you already have.

3. Create memories rather than buying them by trying something you’ve always wanted to do.

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Sustainability, Sharing and Success

Below is my keynote presentation given to the UCLan Teaching and Learning conference recently, where the theme of the conference was Sustainability, Sharing and Success.

My keynote covered development of sustainability thinking, from the throwaway dreams and society  of the 1950’s to the circular economy, from the ubiquitous Brundtland definition to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from sustainable buildings to healthy, biophilic and salutogenic buildings that heal. The keynote explored sharing through social media, and successful, ‘just’ sustainability leadership.

All themes covered  in detail within FutuREstorative published end of August 2016.

Patagonia Worn Wear – UK Tour

“Let’s all become radical environmentalists” commented Patagonia chief executive Rose Marcario “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our (stuff) through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time, thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.”

This remains in my mind, one of the more useful of circular economy thinking approaches

Patagonia’s Worm Well bus will be setting up temporary workstations at venues across the UK to repair garments, free of charge.

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Worn Wear at Kendal Film Festival 2015

The UK leg is part of a wider five-country mission across Europe to extend the life of outdoor enthusiasts’ clothing. It starts on 15 April in the UK and Germany before moving on to other European countries.

Dates and details are on the Patagonia Worn Wear website.

It would be great to see this extended into other areas, more built environment related areas, for example, FM organisations holding free equipment repair workshops in buildings they operate, construction and consultancy organisations returning to their buildings and providing free sustainability advice and repair service … The opportunities based on circular economy business models are huge.

Put simply, if it’s broke, fix it! Dont replace it

Related previous post: (2012) Construction CSR Makeover: can construction learn from Patagonia?

Ready for a Circular Economy?

IMG_1100My recent talk at Green Vision Circular Economy event held at the Re:Center, University of Bradford, focused on Design for DeConstruction principles and raised a number of questions, for example;

  • The Circular Economy is not just simply new generation waste recycling – are we rethinking design and construction systems and processes. (slide 2)
  • How can we convert Site Waste Management Plans to Material Conservation Management Plans? (slide 3)
  • Is BIM ready to embrace design for (secondary) reuse, after the first design purpose?How well do we understand the difference between Material Passports and Product Data Sheets? (slide 5)
  • How can we remove toxic materials from buildings so that we do not build in more health problems for future use, future buildings and future generations? (slide 7)
  • Are we limiting circular economy potential through greater integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing systems? (slide 15)
  • Is there really a place in construction 2016 for Substances that are Hazardous to Health? (slide 24)

Related Post: Circular Economy and the Built Environment

Circular Economy and the Built Environment

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Updated: Ready for a Circular Economy?

This coming week sees a number of circular economy events, for example Green Vision 10th Feb  (#GVis2016) in Bradford and ConstructCE 12 Feb (#cethinking) in London. Also see the Build Well 2016 Feb 10/11 event in the USA.  If you are at all interested in learning more about Circular Economy and its current popularity in construction, get along to at least one for these, and, engage via their twitter streams

This blog has mentioned and covered concepts of Circular Economy, Cradle to Cradle and related themes on many occasions, including the 2008 Constructing Excellence Lancashire Waste is Stupid event and presentation for that asked the question when did the construction Take Make Dump become acceptable, and why it remains so.

Whilst we see an increase in interest and a hunger to understand, an occasional interface with mainstream sustainability (as represented by BREEAM) and with BIM (GreenBIM), circular economy thinking struggles to gain any real traction within the built environment.

Research shows that the circular economy could be worth up to £29billion to the UK economy. It remains unclear how much of this would be construction related, but is this another area we can apply the rule of thumb 40% factor to, making a significant impact on the sector?

The Living Building Challenge provides a great framework for circular economy thinking, requiring for example, Conservation Plans not just Site Waste Management Plans, and pulls on the DfD (Design for Disassembly or Design for Deconstruction) principles as a guide for material selection and management within Living Building Challenge projects.

And it is DfD principles that will form the core of my talk at the Green Vision circular economy with examples from recent visits in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US.

Circular Economy and DfD principles present great opportunities and challenges for todays design and construction within the world of BIM. Can we for example design buildings with materials and components that have a secondary designed life after the first? and, how can we incorporate materials and components that are already insitu within existing buildings? The Alliander company ‘new’ HQ building in the Netherlands demonstrates it is possible, using concepts such as Material Passports to incorporate 80% raw materials from existing buildings and have designed re-use potential for 80% of the new building.

However, if we are serious in designing and constructing buildings with circular economy thinking, with a planned lifetimes reaching to 250 years, as for example in the case of Bullitt Centre, is it acceptable or responsible to specify or include unhealthy or toxic chemicals or materials?  We would be potentially locking risks into many years of use and potentially many future buildings. A good place to start is to ensure the buildings are LBC Red List compliant. The Bullitt Centre has demonstrated toxic material free buildings are possible in six-storey, city centre commercial buildings.

The era of just harm reduction should really be history, and, in an age of responsible construction, the Precautionary Principle (to do no harm where evidence of health or ecological risk exists), should be forefront in design. And if unhealthy or toxic materials are really unavoidable, then project Deconstruction Plan’s must detail the designed replacement rationale and methodology as soon as healthy alternatives become available.

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Circular thinking and DFD are explored within my upcoming RIBA publication FutuRestorative as inspirations and challenges for a new sustainability in the built environment.

Event Links:

Green Vision 10th Feb   Hashtag #GVIs2016 @lsigreenvision

CE Thinking 12 Feb  Hashtag #CEthinking @constructCE 

Build Well 2016 Feb 10/11 @BuildWELL_EBNet

Inventing the Eco-Industrial Age … with ‘Bio’ the new Data.

unnamedThat ‘Bio’ is set to be the new data, and a further development for BIM (Building Information Management) to align with biomimicry and the circular economy was reinforced in a Wired interview with Janice Beynus inspirational insights into the near future manufacturing at Interface.

What excites you about where technology is taking humankind?

I’m excited by the fact that we are probably the first generation to actually be able to gather biological intelligence and distribute it to the people because of the Internet. Our understanding of how nature works is just increasing exponentially. Now we have a way to gather it and to actually make it available to people.

Our experiment is AskNature.org to try to get that biological intelligence out. That’s exciting to me—understanding how nature works, and then possibly being able to emulate it.

You’ve said that “heat, beat, and treat”—heating up materials, beating them with high pressure, and treating them with chemicals—is the de facto slogan for our current industrial age. What should be the slogan for the next era in manufacturing?

I think manufacturing will be local, safe, and cyclical. (… but at the moment) We’re talking about an industrial process, where you wear hard hats and eye guards. We’re a long way to go before it’s local raw material, safely produced, (with non toxic products) and then recycled at the end of its life—put back into the printer, if you will, as the raw materials for the next product.

We’ve got a long way to go.

Why did I seek to put GreenBIM into Room 101?

Why did I seek to put Green BIM into Room 101 ? Did I not tweet only this week that Green BIM is one of the more important developments in the built environment?

greenBIM 101

The label, or hashtag for GreenBIM is so riddled with issues, I was only able to skim during the 2 mins allowed in the ThinkBIM / Green Vision Room 101 session, and in fact is pre-occupying a lot of thought and space in my forthcoming RIBA book.

However, in 5 bullet points … here goes.

  • BIM (and digital construction) is the most powerful of improvement and collaborative programmes for decades, if not in the history of construction – all BIM should be green – all BIM should be pushing the boundaries and doing more good, not happy just to maintain a business as usual, a sustainability status quo or be incrementally less bad.
  • Every BIM is a core enabler in achieving Construction Vision 2025 through sustainability and carbon targets – requiring net positive approaches. Construction 2025 is not just for GreenBIM’s.
  • One of the fast emerging sectors within the world of sustainability, with a predicted market value in the billions, is the circular economy – every BIM, not just GreenBIM’s should be addressing this concept. In particular, where one building becomes the food, the material farm, for the next building. Am I in danger of creating a new hashtag and meme here: #CEBIM _ Circular Economy BIM anyone?
  • Looking through (BIM) product data sheets we see products and chemicals that are scientifically proven carcinogenic – the formaldehyde, the PVC’s, the styrene – all BIM’s should address these issues on health and wellbeing grounds, not just GreenBIM. It is estimated to take 8 hours per material on Red List transparency to determine exact ingredients – and ensure no redlist prohibited materials, at present this doesn’t make material or product specification through BIM a viable option for LBC, Well Building standard or indeed LEED4 where the Red List thinking is applied
  • Green Vision has embraced Living Building Challenge – where, for accredited projects like the Bullit Centre there are no energy performance gaps – this is what a BIM should achieve on every building, green or not, and fast. Lets seek a net-positive performance gap. This is Construction Vision 2025!

Conclusion: My reason for putting GreenBIM into 101 is more out of frustration than annoyance. We would all agree that all BIM’s should be GreenBIMs, so do we need another label, perhaps, perhaps not, but what we do need to do is to take the agenda from ‘GreenBIM’ sessions to all other BIM events, initiates, software, projects, and make every BIM Green.

I also blogged on this very issue back in 2013 – Do we really need ‘Green BIM’?

It was encouraging to see the Circular Economy feature in a number of presentations at the Green BIM event. For more on circular economy and BIM see my take here: RegenerativeBIM … moving the GreenBIM debate

And, by coincidence or serendipity, I had presented to and participated within a panel debate at Runshaw College on Circular Economy the day before:

Circulate News Launched

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched Circulate, an online platform for news and thought-leadership on circular economy thinking, providing a central location for information and news on circular economy related topics.

Content on Circulate falls into three distinct types:

  • fortnightly featured articles with a journalistic focus, from a range of writers;
  • daily updated news articles from various industries and on a number of subjects, accompanied by comment from the Circulate editorial team;
  • and suggested reading material recommended by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation team.

Circulate has a twitter account at @circulatenews