We can now swap petrol guzzling cars with the smooth purr of a Tesler, eat food grown in our own sustainable kitchen gardens and wear clothes which are fully traceable but what about the buildings around us?
Designing buildings that are more energy efficient is not a new concept – for example the Bloomberg Building in London underwent their sustainability build back in 2010 and is now considered the world’s most sustainable office building. The building has a 40% reduced energy usage down to specialised ceiling panels, rain water collection and aeroplane style loos that significantly reduce water usage.
But what about using materials normally considered as waste and redundant, to build something useful and inspiring.
A Colombian construction company, Woodpecker WPC, now create affordable housing for local communities using waste coffee husks. The houses are eco-friendly and low-income made purely by recycled coffee waste. The husks are turned into easily transportable blocks that can be used to build homes without specialised tools or training.
Standing within the recycling mountain village of Kamikatsu in Japan is the Kamikatz Public House. Kamikatsu’s aim is become a sustainable recycling society and already has an 80% recycling rate by organising waste into 34 categories. Used items are displayed at the recycling centre to be reloved and repurposed. The Kamikatz Public House sells household items, food and beer as well as housing a brewery and a pub. The windows in the pub were collected from abandoned local houses, local farm equipment now doubles up as shop fixture and fittings, old newspapers redesigned as wallpaper and empty bottles create striking chandeliers.
Brighton’s Waste House is the UK’s first permanent building constructed purely from rubbish collected from households and construction sites. Designed by Duncan Baker-Brown with the help of students from the University of Brighton, the Waste House is a community centric space proving ‘waste’ material is in actually an extremely valuable resource.
Precious Plastic have created 100% recycled plastic bricks that are basically LEGO for grown-ups. Anyone can download the drawings for free or start producing the blocks themselves - no previous experience is required. The bricks are easy to produce, easy to assemble and perfect for building quick structures and low cost housing.
It seems with some forward thinking and imagination, zero waste really does have a meaning.