The Future Lifecycle of Intelligent Facades

Craig Martin, Craig Stott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The UK building industry accounts for approximately 50% of the nation's total energy consumption; generating 33% of landfill waste [1]. Reducing both is paramount for a sustainable future. Disproportionate amounts of energy are currently expended maintaining comfortable internal climates. Intelligent Facades can play a significant role in reducing this energy demand. Intelligent Facades can also be designed to eliminate their construction waste through considering their future Lifecycle. In 'Cradle-to-Cradle' McDonough and Braungart [2] develop James Lovelock's Gaia [3] principles of sustaining existence through closed loop systems with their eco-effective approach to product design. Modelled on natural processes, Eco-Effective design offers a paradigm shift away from the 'be less bad' eco-efficient, by promoting 'waste as food'. Upcycling is the remanufacturing of nutrients, which have fulfilled their primary use, into higher value environmental products. On this premise future Intelligent Facades should be fully upcyclable. At the end of their designed life all components should be efficiently removed and returned to a manufacturer to be reused without wastage. Working alongside facade manufacturer Lindner, architects and Zurich ETH Professors Gramazio & Kohler, and architects 3XN, enabled this research to fully explore the possibilities of an eco-effective design ethos, and devise a set of proposals that could facilitate a global reduction in carbon emissions. Through interpreting and implementing a closed-loop strategy, this paper extends the knowledge of Intelligent Facades day-to-day operation by exploring their future life cycle and eco-effectiveness; i.e. the potential modes of decommissioning and upcycling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th International conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA)
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Eco-effective
  • Life cycle
  • Facade
  • Upcycling
  • Cradle to Cradle
  • Circular design


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