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San Francisco group recognized for Lifecycle Building innovation / U.S. EPA announces winners of the second annual Green Building Design Competition

Release Date: 10/30/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248,

(10/30/08) SAN FRANCISCO - During a ceremony at the WasteWise/National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Conference in Washington, D.C., the U.S. EPA recognized a Bay Area group among the winners of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge 2 competition.

San Francisco-based Contain Your Enthusiasm by Joel M. Karr from Group 41 Architects used shipping containers to make a gracious 3-bedroom home of 1,300 sq. ft. with 9-foot ceilings. Their industrial quality is softened with simple wood trellis elements to provide shading. The group “upcycles” the used containers as a highly “green” and responsible alternative. Approximately 50 percent of shipping containers are designed for single use, and with the cost of re-use too high, they pile up at major shipping points and are left to rust.

“The winners announced today 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. “Using more sustainable materials and preventing waste helps prevent climate change and create healthier buildings.”

The EPA acknowledges award winners for their innovative green building ideas that will help reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings and assist the building industry to reuse more than 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the United States. Reusing building materials also reduces energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with extraction, production, and transportation of new 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.

These issues can be addressed by planning for a building or building component's eventual deconstruction or adaptation. 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 EPA, along with its partners, the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects, Southface Energy Institute, West Coast Green, and StopWaste.Org, invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials. The remarkable response to the challenge has led the partners to launch the competition for a third year in the fall of 2008 through 2009.

The competition, open to architects, reuse experts, engineers, designers, planners, contractors, builders, educators, environmental advocates and students, includes the following categories:

Building—an entire building from foundation to roof
Innovation—a component, tool, policy, part of a building, a strategy, or educational tool
Outstanding Achievement Awards—best greenhouse gas reduction design, best school design and best residential design

Contact information:
Joel M. Karr
Other Team Members
T. Jason Anderson, 415-431-0300,
Mona Husni, 415-431-0300,

For more information on the competition, the winners, and to view images, please visit the LBC2 Web sites: and