Cradle to Cradle and the built environment
This paradigm shift reveals new opportunities to improve quality, increase value, and spur innovation. It extends design considerations to all of the cycles of life that run through our buildings and communities. It inspires us to constantly seek improvement in our designs, and to share our discoveries with others.
Cradle to Cradle is characterized by three principles derived from nature:
Everything is a resource for something else.
In nature, the “waste” of one system is food for another. Buildings can be designed to be disassembled and safely returned to the soil (biological nutrients), or re-utilized as high-quality materials for new products and buildings (technical nutrients). Conventional building systems and infrastructures (for example, wastewater treatment) can be redesigned to become nutrient management systems that capture previously discarded resources for safe and productive reuse.
Use renewable energy.
Living things thrive on the energy of current solar income. Similarly, human constructs can utilize renewable energy in many forms—such as wind, geothermal and gravitational energy—thereby capitalizing on these abundant resources while supporting human and environmental health.
Around the world, geology, hydrology, photosynthesis and nutrient cycling, adapted to locale, yield an astonishing diversity of natural and cultural life. Designs that respond to the unique challenges and opportunities offered by each place fit elegantly and effectively into their own niches.