• Profile

    New guidance released from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) allows architects and designers pursuing the Living Building Challenge (LBC) to incorporate Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products and Material Health Certificate products into their projects.

    Circular Buildings, Step-by-Step of the Cradle to Cradle improvement process:

    Inventory: The manufacturer works with their assessor and supply chain to identify all materials present at 100 ppm and further look at all chemicals in each material present.

    Screen: A check against lists to confirm whether some of that bad stuff is NOT in the product. And a full chemical assessments need to be conducted by a chemist or toxicologist.

    Assess: The assessor judges each chemical’s potential risk across 24 different human and environmental endpoints. Human endpoints include things  carcinogenicity and mutagenicity. Environmental endpoints look into aquatic toxicity, terrestrial toxicity, etc.

    Optimise: The material health attribute achievement level indicates the level of optimisation that has been achieved. For products that are not fully optimised, manufacturers are required to put a strategy in place for the eventual phase-out or optimisation of any X assessed materials.

    Every two years, manufacturers must demonstrate efforts to improve their products in order to have their products re-certified.

    Circular Building Example

    The city hall of Venlo, Netherlands, opened in 2016 as a shining example of Cradle to Cradle® design. In cooperation with C2C ExpoLAB, not only did the city hall achieve the C2C goals, the project also delivers assurances of return on investment and actionable measurement.

    In case of Venlo City Hall, the investment of €3.4 million in C2C elements, has a ROI of €16.9 million over 40 years. The business case shows us a positive cash flow after one year.

    So you not only can add a positive impact for health of people or the environment, but also create a positive business case.


    The building’s design team leveraged Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products to achieve Built Positive concepts on several fronts—buildings as material banks, designing for disassembly, and material health.

    Circular Building Materials have a material passport

    So that the exact content in the building is known. Material passports are emerging as a tool to facilitate information for buildings as material banks and include ingredient disclosure, how to disassemble, and how to recycle or return the material.

    Collaboration is key

    They asked for guaranteed take-back systems to close the loop after the use phase of the building. But also they were convinced by the companies that materials keep a residual value. They made an agreement of 18% residual value for the furniture. This means a total savings of €300,000 for the city.

    A Circular Building is designed for disassembly

    The team addressed design for disassembly via a “green demolition” plan devised by the building contractor that provides directives on how to disassemble the building to create continuous cycles.

    Circular materials & resources are healthy

    The most important reason to go for C2C Certified products is not only that these products can be recycled or upcycled, but also that they have a residual value and of course that they are healthy. As an example. during the use phase of the building, the indoor air quality is measured, including VOCs, fine dust, CO2, and humidity. An important goal was the absence of chemicals or toxic materials and off-gassing during the use phase. C2C certification provides those verifications. Along with a materials approach, Venlo City Hall incorporates Cradle to Cradle® design via systems addressing indoor and outdoor air quality, energy, and water.

    A custom real-time system will measure the set KPIs for the four C2C themes. For example, how much renewable energy is produced and what is the consumption? What is the indoor or outdoor air quality in numbers as temperature, fine dust, CO2, and humidity?

    For more information read: C2C ExpolabC2C certified or contact Alex Muller at ILFI: alexandra.muller@living-future.org.

    City Hall photo credit: Ton Desar

  • Reviews

    Leave a Review