Last year October, the office of the mayor of London published ” Design for a Circular Economy” a primer on how architects and property developers can create design that would advance the concept of a circular economy by integrating new technology and rethinking ideology.
The primer serves as a call to action for industry stake holders and offers a guide on the terminology around the concept. According to the primer document, 54 per cent of the waste generated in London annually comes from the built environment. In a circular economy, waste is designed out and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible by being repaired, recycled or remade, rather than discarded and replaced with new ones. With architecture, this extends to the practice of reusing and adapting buildings rather than demolishing them.
The primer states that going forward, all new developments in the UK capital will need to submit a circular economy statement, laying out how recycled materials can be used or new materials specified so they can be reused, and how construction waste will be cut down. Buildings will also need to prove that they offer spaces for occupants to exchange unwanted materials with each other, and provide enough space for recycling collections.
Refurbishing buildings will be encouraged, and new developments will need to prove they are built to last. The Design for a Circular Economy guide includes a glossary of circular-economy terms, a breakdown of its essential tenants, and decision trees for developers to use when commissioning projects.
Circular economy will encourage “good growth”
The document also highlights the financial benefits of a circular economy. Reducing construction waste will save projects money and flexible buildings that can be adapted over their lifetime will retain their value.
According to the London Waste and Recycling Board, if London successfully adopts the principals of a circular economy it could contribute up to £5 billion in growth and 12,000 new jobs in the city by 2036.
In the Nigerian Context
Private organisations in collaboration with the government of Nigeria are currently tackling e-waste and laying the foundation for a circular economy with a focus on waste management and plastic recycling. Adapting this to the built environment in the country would definitely spill over to a plethora of other sectors and make for a more sustainable built environment.