Cradle to Cradle® Buildings

Today, energy efficiency, CO2 savings and the use of renewable energies are practically standard criteria for the construction of new buildings. With regard to the overall challenge faced by the construction and real estate sector, these measures are however far from enough. In the long term, we will not be confronted with a lack of energy, but with a lack of raw material! As the biggest consumer of raw materials worldwide and producer of enormous quantities of waste, the construction industry is responsible like almost no other industry sector. Fast and efficient solutions for climate and resource problems must be realised for the construction of new buildings. 

Building on today’s sustainability standards, which already far exceed the existing legislation, we have a solution for the resource problem with the Cradle to Cradle® concept. According to this, buildings can be created like trees and cities like forests. For a positive footprint for people, society and the environment.

Where is the difference to current buildings?

Networked, self-sufficient, flexible, recyclable, healthy and energy-positive: Buildings according to the Cradle to Cradle® design principles are flexible and capable of conversion. The selected healthy materials used in the buildings are easy to disassemble, can be separated according to type and are fully recyclable. This turns buildings into durable and valuable raw material banks that release the resources again after the end of their service life, thus contributing to the value-retention of the real estate.

Buildings according to the Cradle to Cradle® principles come with a positive ecological footprint, for example by purifying the outside air or rainwater or creating habitats for plants and animals. The plan is that by using and producing renewable energies, buildings will in the long-term supply more energy than they consume – creating energy-positive buildings.

„Buildings that become rubble and waste at the end of their life cycle have a design problem.“ 

We spend more than 90 percent of our lives in buildings. The choice of materials in terms of Cradle to Cradle® exceeds statutory standards by far and ensures a productivity enhancing and inspiring indoor climate. 

In doing so, the implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept does not compete with building certifications according to DGNB, LEED, BREEAM or HQE. In fact, the implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® principles develops holistic sustainability standards to create the best possible positive ecological footprint for buildings.

How does EPEA support the implementation of the Cradle to Cradle® design principle for buildings?

What COfootprint do materials have? Which types of structures can be separated again? Which products are healthy and beneficial for humans and the environment? What raw material values does a building have throughout its lifecycle?

A new discipline within the scope of the integrated planning of buildings has been created with “circular engineering”; this enables answers for all questions concerning the recyclability and materials used in buildings. Circular engineering not only provides knowledge in the areas of planning and construction processes but also a high level of expertise in health and environmental compatibility of materials and available industrial products.

Building Circularity Passport®

In this context, the “Building Circularity Passport®” serves as a planning and documentation tool, for enabling the recyclability of a building in collaboration with architects, all planning disciplines as well as the construction firms. For completed construction projects, the Building Circularity Passport® additionally provides detailed information on which of the used materials can be easily separated, as well as on the chemical composition of the products used in the building. It is also possible to determine the monetary value of the structures used in the buildings. This information on the building provides you with considerable added value for financing, through aspects of risk assessment, value determination as well as the operation of the building.

Building Material Scout

To simplify the planning and documentation process for all parties involved in planning and construction, we work with the platform Building Material Scout online platform for our projects. Here, all material-related information on products and building materials is collected and structured for use in the building projects.

The platform enables clients, architects, planners and construction companies to obtain information on recyclable and healthy construction products, contact the manufacturers and organise the data management for construction projects. Ultimately, a Building Material Passport is created for each construction project – the materials equivalent to an energy certificate.

For more than 30 years, we have been working worldwide as innovation partner and knowledge trustee together with architects, product manufactures, facade and building engineers and designers: from the optimisation of the building materials to the development of recyclable and healthy buildings with positive added value.

  • Circular engineering
  • C2C design principle
  • Planning material from conception to completion
  • Material passport management across the entire planning and construction process
  • Profitability calculations and valuation
  • Using instead of buying

For the city hall in Venlo, a project we worked on together with our partner, the city of Venlo, EPEA developed material passports for products. Additional flagship projects include the now completed new building for the RAG Zeche Zollverein and the buildings currently under construction as well as the fire station for the municipality of Straubenhardt, the wood-based hybrid construction “The Cradle“ in Düsseldorf as well as several construction projects of Roche at their site in Basel.

What added value do Cradle to Cradle® inspired buildings offer?

Buildings optimised for indoor use not only improve the indoor climate but may also purify the outside air and generate renewable energies. The use of recyclable materials creates positive added value for the environment, people and the retained value of the building.

Together we achieve: 

  • Buildings as raw material deposits instead of unused capital
  • Maximum flexibility of use and adaptability
  • Risk provisioning for real estate values insted of „stranded assets“
  • Return potential and positive performance
  • Healthy and inspiring work environments
  • Positive influence on the city and society