prosperity

Because Three R’s Are So Old School

“Are buildings in danger of becoming just another consumer good in our disposable society?"

Given how difficult it (still) is to convince clients to look at long term cost benefits instead of initial costs, it certainly seems like most of today’s buildings are the fast food of the built environment. A recent RIBA article describes a series of approaches to building design and construction that helps them see the 3R’s of waste management and raises them another 3 as a shift to the circular economy:

 
 

retain

remanufacture

REFIT

REFURBISH

RECLAIM/REUSE

RECYCLE/COMPOST

 
The figure above summarizes circular economy principles specifically for buildings, found in the RIBA Publishing book,  Building Revolutions .

The figure above summarizes circular economy principles specifically for buildings, found in the RIBA Publishing book, Building Revolutions.


design principles mentioned:

Build in layers.
Design without waste.
Design more adaptable buildings.
Design for disassembly.
Carefully select building materials & products.


"Creating buildings that people love & value is a proven way to ensure longevity."

Another principle is to move away from the linear economy model of purchasing products. Instead, consumers can become users, with ownership replaced by stewardship. Customers purchase performance instead of products, which encourages manufacturers to take a vested interest in designing products that can be maintained, upgraded or recycled. This approach also helps secure a future supply of components and materials.
Applying circular economy principles to buildings uses fewer resources, enables adaptation for different uses and can even provide healthier environments for people to live and work in. But they also create an opportunity to design buildings that are not simply consumable goods, leaving a positive legacy for future generations. - RIBA Journal

*Speaking of waste. Here is a sobering thought:
The amount of plastic wastes on the planet today is enough to cover the planet with plastic.

Day 5: Live Long & B-Corp

Since becoming a certified B Corporation this past summer,

RNL has had the honor of getting to know other members of this remarkable community of people using their business models as a force for positive change. There are now over 1600 certified B Corps in 48 countries across the world; proving that the definition of prosperity is changing to include values such as community impact, governance and environmental stewardship.  In honor of the ‘prosperity’ principle, we're giving a shout out to some of the other certified B Corps we have come to know and admire:

 

Cultivation Center for helping spread the word of B Corporations, with their awesome Boot Camp series.

Fairware for helping us with ideas and environmentally conscious swag for celebrating our big 60th anniversary this year!

Green Spot Real Estate for their energy and commitment to Denver’s green real estate movement, and being super fun folks to hang out with in general.

Hemmings House for using the medium of film to make us all more aware of the conversations we should be having, and motivating us to take a small idea and bring it to the next level.

Ma Cher for inciting change at the community level with their shower cube initiative, and helping many of us rethink how long we spend singing in the shower.

NAVA Real Estate for revolutionizing conversations on health and wellbeing in the building industry.

Oliver Russell for telling the stories that we all need to hear

Waste Farmers for reminding us to look beyond the default approach to our food system

YR+G for sharing our passion for broadening the discussion on what sustainability means in the building industry, and what the rapidly-changing future holds.

LA Metro’s First Secure Bike Parking Station

The El Monte Bike Hub will have 24/7 access, 56 bicycle spaces, accessory sales and is stocked with all the tools needed for commuter to do repairs. Photo Credit:  Metro

The El Monte Bike Hub will have 24/7 access, 56 bicycle spaces, accessory sales and is stocked with all the tools needed for commuter to do repairs. Photo Credit: Metro

L.A. METRO ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING OF ITS VERY FIRST “METRO BIKE HUB” AT SAN GABRIEL VALLEY’S BUSY EL MONTE STATION

As part of The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) commitment to enhancing bicycle infrastructure in the L.A. region, Metro today celebrated the official opening of its very first “Metro Bike Hub,” a dedicated, full-service, secure-access, high-capacity bicycle parking facility at the El Monte Station, the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley.

The new $635,000, 1,100+ square-foot facility is conveniently located in prime ground-floor retail space at the front of El Monte Station, the largest bus facility west of Chicago.  The facility will provide a full suite of bicycle-related services including controlled entry for 56 bicycles under closed-circuit TV surveillance, peak-hour staff availability, folding bike rentals, same-day repairs, accessory sales and bike-related classes.  The facility adds 60 percent greater bicycle parking capacity to the station. -
LA Metro

 

After doubling its size in October 2012, El Monte Station has become the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley. Photo Credit:  RNL

After doubling its size in October 2012, El Monte Station has become the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley. Photo Credit: RNL

The next four Metro Bike Hubs planned to open at high-demand transit stations across Los Angeles County will be at:

  • Hollywood/Vine
  • Culver City Expo Line Station
  • Los Angeles Union Station
  • North Hollywood Red/Orange Line Station

 

LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE AND THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING MARKET

The International Living Future Institute announced Thursday the projects it has selected for the Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Pilot Project.  From now through Dec 31st 2016, the ILFI will work with the design teams of each project, ranging from SRO to Multi-Family and Mixed-Use, providing Living Building Challenge education, membership, a charrette, DD and CD phase documentation reviews. Tracking these projects, it will be interesting to see how the principles of the Living Building Challenge are applied to projects with significantly lower budgets than the signature projects that are publicized to date.

I hope they are all a success, and the results strengthen the challenging financial argument for pursuing this admirable rating system. 

photo courtesy of living-future.org

photo courtesy of living-future.org

THE WRITING ON THE (BIOPHILIC) WALL

3D printing is all the rage right now, with applications ranging from the awesome to the absurd. This one caught my attention as a fun way to combine signage and biophila. Be warned, before the grass grows they look like coils of dog turds, so you might want to consider some the lead time before opening day on your next project.

THE POWER OF A GROUP OF LAWN CHAIRS

The ‘Lighter Quicker Cheaper’ approach to place-making - the fast food of urban design or a way to kick start the journey to longer term solutions?

This article presents some examples of a quick and small way to create community spaces – by closing down unused streets and adding simple landscape furniture. One particular interesting observation:

“..based on these brief observations it seems as though certain demographics dominate the space more than others. It would be interesting to return to this space at a later time and see whether programming has been added that attracts more women and children, as is the case with Corona Plaza.”

photo credit: Nikita Malviya and Himadri Panchal

photo credit: Nikita Malviya and Himadri Panchal

THE RADICAL ART OF WALKING WITHOUT PURPOSE

This is not a new article, but it came up in a discussion of the need to design cities for people, not cars, and is worth a read. It basically reminds us of the need to walk for the sake of walking, not just as a means to go from A to B quickly. And apparently aimless walking is the key to literary genius, but wait till you finish walking before texting your agent.

"A lot of places, if you walk you feel you are doing something self-consciously. Walking becomes a radical act."

THE NEED FOR A BIKE-A-LOO

Do Bike Paths Need Ride-In Toilets? YES. And other things. Read on for a discussion on how to make Bike Paths more functional. But focus on the ride-in toilets because, yes.

photos credit: MarkA on Flickr

photos credit: MarkA on Flickr