EPA Announces Green Building Design Competition Winners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of it's inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition, a program designed to reduce waste during construction and demolition of new buildings.

By CP Editorial Staff  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of it's inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition, a program designed to reduce waste during construction and demolition of buildings.

The awards were announced by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson at the inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition during a ceremony at the West Coast Green Conference in San Francisco.
The "Lifecycle Building Challenge" — partners the U.S. EPA, the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects and West Coast Green — invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials. Green Building Blocks, the competition sponsor, provided cash awards to student winners, and Green Building in Alameda County, Calif. provided the awards.

The goal of the program is to recognize ideas from the design contest that could jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the United States. Lifecycle building maximizes material recovery to reverse the trend of disposing of large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills. Reusing building components also reduces energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and transporting materials.
In the United States, buildings consume 60 percent of total materials flow (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, 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced and 50 percent of the total building stock will be constructed.
By creating building components that can be easily recovered and reused, materials are kept at their highest value, resulting in reduced consumption of energy and resources.
The challenge, open to built and un-built work, was launched in January and open for four months. The categories include:
·Building-an entire building from foundation to roof
·Component-a single building assembly, system, or connector
·Service-a tool, method, or other idea
The winners, selected by a panel of expert judges, include:

Building category
Pavilion in the Park (Professional - Built)
Erin Silva, architectural designer, The Miller|Hull Partnership, Seattle, Wash.
Building that separates into four modules and can be moved by truck
The 11,100 square foot Pavilion in the park's entire structure is designed for future transportation, reassembly and reuse in a new location. The building's parts separate at three integrated joints to break into four separate modules that can be moved on trucks by surface street. The building sits lightly on the land atop short concrete piers allowing the grade and vegetation to run uninterrupted beneath. Gangway ramps with integrated hinged joints allow the ramps to adapt to the topography of future locations.
GreenMobile Factory-built Housing Units for SE USA (Professional - Unbuilt)
Michael Berk, professor, Mississippi State University School of Architecture, Mississippi State, Miss.
Adaptable mobile home unit for disaster relief and permanent use
The GreenMobile envisions affordable, factory-built energy efficient mobile home units that meet International Residential Code for housing with structurally-sound foundations, demount for easy relocation, and can function in a place with a limited infrastructure or no utility grid in place.  They can be used for immediate disaster relief housing, including first responders, and later converted to permanent housing.  The project incorporates systematic strategies for growth and change as family structures also grow and change. "Pre-fabricated plug-in" rooms, plug-in porches, and surface mounted wiring are also featured in the design.

The groHome (student)
Adam Fenner, Jason Bond, Thomas Gerhardt, Josh Canez, Nick Schaider, students, Texas A&M University, 2007 Solar Decathlon Team, College Station, Texas
Open source housing modules to meet changing family and community needs
The open source concept used in the software community is adapted in this entry to develop open source building systems allowing anyone to design and incorporate elements into the building system if grid protocols and standard joint connections are used.  Using a library of pre-manufactured components brought to a site and assembled efficiently, the structure is designed with a specialized bolted connector joint that allows for components to be unplugged easily and without damage. Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) can be embedded to take inventory and check the history of components. The project includes a community building game, Utopia 2.0, to allow neighbors to swap building modules as family and community needs change.

Sustainability by Design: Deconstruction and Adaptive Reuse (People's Choice Award)
Mitch Boucher, Haworth, Inc., Holland, Mich.
Comprehensive 99 percent reuse and recycling construction project
When Haworth, a global designer and manufacturer of adaptable workspace environments, planned major renovations on its headquarters, the company set a goal to recycle or salvage up to 75 percent of the materials. The project diverted more than 99 percent of construction materials through reuse and recycling:  321 tons of steel were recycled; 75 workstations were donated; and door locksets were removed intact and reused in other facilities. More than 58,000 tons of carpet tiles were removed for re-installation, donated to local schools, or recycled.

Component Category

Green-Zip-Tape Demountable Tape (Professional - Built)
Frank Little, founder, Tax Advantage Design, Magnolia, Texas
Drywall tape attachment system to support easy deconstruction and reuse
Patented demountable tape provides an alternative method for hanging sheetrock for later de-construction and reuse.  Drywall has traditionally been a barrier to gaining easy access to structural components of the building for repair or reuse. This tape and associated screw connectors allow drywall to be easily removed and replaces the traditional nailing mechanism, which can damage the drywall and inhibit reuse.
Deconstructable and Reusable Composite Slab (Professional - Unbuilt)
Mark D. Webster, Dirk M. Kestner, James C. Parker, Matthew H. Johnson, structural engineers, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc., Auburndale, Mass.
Reusable structural floor system
The composite component system uses specialized bolts, serrated clamps, and cast-in channels to create a more easily disassembled system, allowing reuse of the composite slab.  A serious problem with conventional composite slabs is that it is a "throw-away" system; most of the parts are completely non-reusable at the end of the building's life.  The team developed a composite slab system that maintains the efficiency benefits offered by composite action, while adding near 100 percent reusability. The structure allows the slab and beam to work together to resist bending due to floor loads. The size of the steel beam can be reduced by over 30 percent providing both economic and environmental benefits.
Guidelines for Building with Reusable Materials (Student)
Aaron Tvrdy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
Creative designs from reused building materials collected regionally
This project foresees waste materials gathered in bulk, refurbished, and stored in regional design centers where designers can create components out of former waste. One example uses discarded railroad track and ties to create a superstructure for a wood pallet wall system. With a creative design approach, reclaimed material kits can be used to create attractive components that can either celebrate or conceal their original identity.
Tool and Service Category
ATHENA Assembly Evaluation Tool (Professional - Built)
Wayne Trusty, ATHENA Institute, Portland, Ore.
Software on the lifecycle environmental impacts of building assemblies
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is one tool for determining environmental impacts of various building materials through all phases of its life, from extraction through use and disposal. The ATHENA software tool adopts LCA methodology to measure the climate-changing potential and other environmental impacts of more than 400 common building assemblies.  A generic version will be made available, free of charge, to the entire sustainable construction community.

Deconstruction Engineer (Student)
Keith Cullum and Paul Sargent, California Polytechnic State University, Yorba Linda, Calif.
Proposed new profession to support building deconstruction
The project proposes a new degree program and profession:  the deconstruction engineer. These professionals would consult throughout a building's lifecycle to ensure that adaptation and deconstruction occur in the most effective way. During the first stages of planning a structure, the engineer offers design suggestions to anticipate efficient deconstruction.  At the end of a building's life, the deconstruction engineer evaluates and assesses safe reverse construction procedures for salvaging materials.

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  posted on 9/28/2007   Article Use Policy

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