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EPA Announces Green Building Design Contest Winners in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced winners of the inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition today. Three of the winners were from the EPA Region 7 states of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

Award winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce unwanted environmental and energy effects of buildings.

Aaron Tvrdy, a student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, won for his project that foresees waste materials gathered in bulk, refurbished, and stored in regional design centers where designers can create components out of former waste.

One example uses discarded railroad track and ties to create a superstructure for a wood pallet wall system. With a creative design approach, reclaimed material kits can be used to create attractive components that can either celebrate or conceal their original identity. More about this project can be found at:

Dan Rockhill of Lawrence, Kan., received an honorable mention for his single-family home with movable walls. This two-bedroom, one-bath house has 1,200 square feet of living space composed of six modules.

The proportions of the house have been tailored to the dimensions of a standard city lot. A movable storage wall permits splitting an area such as a single bedroom into a separate office and storage space as the homeowner might desire. Learn more about this project at:

Another honorable mention went to Iowa State University student Thomas Hagarty of Muscatine, Iowa. His project examined the question: “Why aren’t buildings already designed to be disassembled?”

A simple structure was made of light-switch mounting brackets, an object from which many different structures can be built, and the project grew to include joint details, connection diagrams, and alternative spaces and elevations to support the concept of lifecycle building. More about this project is at:

The Lifecycle Building Challenge invited professionals and students nationwide to submit designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and anticipate future use of building materials.

Lifecycle building maximizes material recovery to reverse the trend of disposing of large quantities of construction and demolition debris in landfills. Reusing building components also reduces energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and transporting materials.

Buildings account for 60 percent of total materials flow in the United States (excluding food and fuel) and account for 33 percent of the solid waste stream. Building renovation and demolition account for 91 percent of the construction and demolition debris generated each year, while new construction accounts for only 9 percent. Between 2000 and 2030, 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced and 50 percent of the total building stock will be constructed.

The winners were announced by EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response Susan Bodine, American Institute of Architects President RK Stewart and Building Materials Reuse Association President Brad Guy.


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