Workshop 3. Circular Economy Buildings


James Ball: Regional Manager; MaGrann Associates



UIC Forum, Room E



Most buildings are designed, built, and then slowly deteriorate until they are torn down. Green Buildings, despite their more environmentally friendly design, will suffer the same end, piled onto landfills that are already full with construction debris. It does not have to be this way. The degradation of our built environment is a symptom of our linear industrial system - a system that we based on a false premise of unlimited raw materials, landfill space, and fossil fuels. This linear system is outdated; the industry and economy of the 21rst century will be circular.
A circular economy is based on an industrial ecology – meaning that the industrial use of materials will mimic the natural use of materials – where nothing is wasted and everything has value. For buildings, that means no more piles of rubble. Circular Economy Buildings will be designed to be redesigned so that they can adapt to the changing needs of the building’s users and community. They will improve over time instead of degrading into obsolescence. Their value will be determined by their performance, not their price tag; so that environmental goals will be overachieved - not overpromised.

Circular Economy Buildings use resource scarcity to create economic abundance. The endless circular flow of products and materials keeps buildings at their highest value for businesses and users. There are an abundance of business opportunities in this new economy for building professionals. This session will provide participants with the understanding and tools to succeed in a building industry based on the circular economy.
Learning Objectives:


  • Understand the Circular Economy and Industrial Ecology and how they apply to buildings.

  • Gain the tools to create new designs, financing, and business models that will be a part of Circular Economy Buildings. Take home ideas on how the Circular Economy would reinvent the business types represented by the audience participants.


    Number of Participants: 40