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EPA and Partners Kick Off Green Building Design Challenge

Release Date: 04/09/2008
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421,

Contest to reward reuse designs that save resources, costs

(Atlanta, Ga. – April 9, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and partners are calling on the nation’s architects, builders, students and others to participate in the second Lifecycle Building Challenge. The competition seeks designs that facilitate building material adaptation and reuse, minimize waste, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Ideas generated by the contest will jumpstart the building industry to help divert more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the United States.

The “Lifecycle Building Challenge 2” – co-sponsored by the Building Materials Reuse Association, the American Institute of Architects, Region 4 Partner Southface Energy Institute, and West Coast Green – invites professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas by July 31, 2008 that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate the future use of building materials. Students, architects, reuse experts, engineers, builders, product designers, educators and environmental advocates are encouraged to apply for the web-based competition.

The challenge, open to built and un-built work, has two main categories:

Building—an entire building from foundation to roof
Component, Tool and Service—a building connector, strategy or other idea

Outstanding entries in each category will be recognized and publicized in national journals and at conferences nationwide. The competition’s partners will also recognize exceptional entries in three other categories. The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) will select the Best School Design, West Coast Green will recognize the Best Residential Entry, and Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) will select the Best Greenhouse Gas Reduction Design.

"The Lifecycle Building Challenge explores new ideas and techniques to minimize waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. “Designing buildings to reverse the trend of disposing of large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills is an important environmental protection strategy.”

Lifecycle building maximizes material recovery to reverse the trend of disposing large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills. 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.

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. Reusing building components reduces the energy and greenhouse gases emissions associated with extracting, producing and transporting materials.

The challenge will be officially launched in April. At the end of the competition, expert judges will determine the best entries in each category and the winners will be recognized at EPA’s Lifecycle Building Conference in November 2008.

For more information or to enter the competition, visit