Building Revolutions: Applying the Circular Economy to the Built Environment
The construction industry operates within a linear economy of make, use, dispose. Buildings are stripped out and torn down with astonishing regularity while new buildings are constructed from hard-won virgin materials. But raw materials are becoming scarce, and the demands for them are exploiting fragile ecosystems, even as the global demand for resources continues to rise. The industry demands over half the world’s extracted materials and generates around a third of the total waste generated in the EU, making it a prime candidate for applying the circular economy. Yet there has been little focus on how construction industry professionals and their clients can contribute towards the movement.
A new RIBA book, Building Revolutions addresses this absence: drawing on illustrative methods and examples, it explains how the principles of a circular economy can be applied to the built environment where resources are kept in use and their value retained. The book describes how buildings and materials can be reused or salvaged to extend their life and proposes ways new business models can be applied to reduce capital and lifecycle costs, providing a positive architectural legacy for future generations.
Julie Hirigoyen has written the foreword for the book and says: ‘The profligate attitude we have so far applied to construction resources will not be compatible with the priorities of future generations. It is high time we addressed this, and recognised our stewardship role over the planet’s finite resources. Such a transformation of the built environment industry is at the heart of the UK Green Building Council’s mission, so I welcome the work David Cheshire has put into articulating a different future for an industry with so much potential for greater efficiencies.’
Copies are available from the RIBA Publications website.