Theater Talk
Theater Talk
Theater Talk

Building a Restorative Future Through Material Reuse

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Building a Restorative Future Through Material Reuse

We can make construction more sustainable by viewing old building materials as resources, not waste



In 2009, the EPA estimated that we were throwing away 170 million tons of building materials each year. Just over a decade later, that number has risen to 600 million tons—enough to fill the entire Empire State Building 2,500 times. But as it turns out, these materials that are getting thrown out are not necessarily waste—they can be resources for the next building cycle. And reusing them can help make our communities more sustainable, equitable, and resilient, according to Shannon Goodman, executive director at Lifecycle Building Center. She suggests that to make the change, we need to require reuse assessments before demolition, design buildings to be disassembled later so components can be more easily reused, and create a skilled workforce that can capture these resources while helping the community access them at an affordable cost. Goodman provides three inspiring examples of what is possible when we recognize what these abundant resources can do for how we design, build, support, and sustain our communities.

About the speaker

Shannon Goodman is the co-founder and executive Director of Lifecycle Building Center in Atlanta, Georgia. With a mission of promoting environmental stewardship and community, Lifecycle Building Center helps create a sustainable lifecycle for the built environment. Previously, Goodman worked as an architect for Perkins + Will. She holds degrees from Ohio State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.  

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Ready to dive deeper into sustainable design and new possibilities for resilient communities? Check out these related AU sessions: 

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