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A house is torn down. None of the materials are thrown away, but reused in a new house. This is an example of a cradle to cradle concept.
The idea is based on the fact that the natural environment's resources are limited, why they cannot be wasted but should be reused in another context.
Today we approach the building process with focus on minimizing energy consumption and recycling the materials as much as possible. Unfortunately, the materials are often of less value when recycled, because they are not designed for the purpose.
Cradle to cradle makes it possible to focus on the process of dismantling and reusing the materials of a building when it is torn down.
The goal is to learn from nature that knows nothing about waste of resources. Buildings should make a positive contribution to the environment instead of burdening it. Like trees, future buildings will produce oxygen, clean the air, collect rainwater and support the biodiversity and even produce energy instead of consume it.
Cradle to cradle has already gained acceptance in a large group of international companies and institutions, e.g. Philips, Rheinzink and Steelcase. COWI is currently involved in the development of the first Cradle to Cradle buildings in Denmark.
COWI has 11 cradle to cradle consultants who are trained at EPEA (the Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency) in Hamburg, Germany.
Cradle to cradle
Cradle to cradle as a sustainable principle
Cradle to Cradle: rethinking production from the ground up