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Arup guideline details the application of Cradle to Cradle principles for MEP design

Cinthia Buchheister Cinthia Buchheister Europe Press Office, Germany
15 April 2019

Today Arup launches its Guideline for Building Services Design inspired by the Cradle to Cradle Concept, a companion field guide for designers looking to incorporate circular design principles in the engineering of building services. The document provides a starting point for practitioners working on the implementation of C2C in this important sector of the built environment.

C2C, also known as regenerative design, is a holistic framework for the design of systems – and buildings – that deliver a ‘positive balance’, creating a beneficial ecological impact on their environment. To achieve this, C2C focusses on the need to eliminate waste production, embracing the circular re-use of materials, and creating a net positive impact on the world around us.

Arup's Guideline for Building Services Design inspired by the Cradle to Cradle concept. Arup's Guideline for Building Services Design inspired by the Cradle to Cradle concept.

Arup’s new guidance document is an important contribution to the field of C2C design, outlining its application for the different disciplines that make up building services:

  • water installations

  • gas installations and fuel supplies

  • heating systems

  • ventilation systems

  • cooling systems

  • electrical installations

  • extra low voltage (ELV) installations

  • vertical transport

  • usage-specific/specialist systems

  • building management/controls systems

The guideline provides a set of overall aims and realistically achievable design criteria for the application of C2C in each of the above disciplines, offering an indication of the aspects to consider in each design phase (from establishing the brief, to the system selection and sizing as well as material selection). Taking up the concepts of ‘eliminating waste’ and ‘design for disassembly’, it also covers material selection and construction methods, ensuring that the employed materials can be recycled and re-used at the end of their useful life, making the building a ‘material bank’.

William McDonough, globally recognised leader in sustainable development and co-author of the 2002 book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’, welcomed the report’s depth in the foreword, while acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead.

“This Guideline is an important and bold first step, and one that will hopefully lead to much discussion and debate. I applaud the effort to bring rigour to the endeavour, and look forward to continued, elegant refinement”, says William McDonough in the foreword.

Driven by its ambition to shape a better world, Arup has worked on a range of sustainability projects that seek to deliver a long-lasting positive impact for society at large; in developing the guide, the Arup team drew from this impressive global experience.

We see this guide as a starting point when setting out to design C2C-inspired building services. We asked ourselves what a designer would need to know and decide at each stage of the design, and went through much of the research and evaluation process one would have to go through, providing the reader a real head start. ” Karsten Jurkait Karsten Jurkait Associate Director, Advanced Building Engineering, Arup Germany & Co-author "Guideline for Building Services inspired by the Cradle to Cradle Principles"

In its guide, the team points out that a C2C-inspired design cannot be achieved by any discipline on its own but will require the development of holistic solutions that cross the traditional design disciplines. Arup’s guide now closes an important gap by offering what has been missing so far – a wealth of guidance for all building services disciplines.