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U.S. EPA, partners kick off green building design challenge / Contest to reward designs that save resources, costs

Release Date: 12/15/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 12/15/08) In the third year of the 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.

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 on-line library of competition entries and green building resources.

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 challenge, open to built and un-built projects has two main categories:

  • Building—an entire building from foundation to roof
  • 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.”

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. Between 2000 to 2030, it is expected that 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. 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 gases emissions associated with extracting, producing and transporting materials.

At the end of the competition, expert judges will determine the best entries in each category and the winners will be recognized in the fall.

For more information or to enter the competition, visit http://www.lifecyclebuilding.org.
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