Loading Events
  • Designing for Circular Building Materials: A San Francisco Bay Area – New York City Conversation

    << All Events

    Designing for Circular Building Materials: A San Francisco Bay Area – New York City Conversation

    Thursday, November 19, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PST

    Most building materials are made from virgin resources, and when a building is refurbished or demolished, they end up being downcycled, incinerated or landfilled. The negative impacts of this linear “take-make-waste” resource flow are vast, and the construction industry is starting to experience resource scarcity. In contrast, the circular economy aims to design waste and pollution out of the system, keep products and materials in use for as long as possible and regenerate natural systems.

    Learn how architects can support a circular economy of building materials, far beyond effective construction and demolition waste management plans. Find out the benefits of considering buildings as material banks, how material passports fit into this concept, and what it means for a BIM model. Learn how healthy material and low embodied carbon considerations relate to circularity, and how they are supported by local policies. Hear about successful case studies of projects incorporating salvaged materials, and successful deconstruction in practice.

    This panel is the second in a series on Zero Waste Design for the San Francisco Bay Area, to discuss how architects can build circular, from current best practices to what needs to happen to reach a truly circular future.



    Learning Objectives

    1. Explain the main concepts of a circular economy as they relate to building design.
    2. Explain key ways in which healthy materials, embodied carbon and circularity are related to each other.
    3. Understand the phrase “waste is material without information”, and the role of a digital material database.
    4. Identify strategies design teams can use to ensure that buildings can be deconstructed and materials salvaged for reuse at their highest level.


    About the Moderator

    Clare Miflin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Certified Passive House Designer, Certified Biomimicry Professional
    Founder, Center for Zero Waste Design

    Clare is an architect and systems thinker with over 20 years of experience designing buildings to Passive House, LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge and AIA COTE Top Ten standards. Clare led the development of the AIANY Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary collaborative process. The Guidelines are a comprehensive resource for design of the built environment to help cities reach zero waste goals. She is setting up a nonprofit Center for Zero Waste Design to disseminate and implement the Guidelines widely, and founded a consultancy – ThinkWoven – to develop strategies to weave urban systems into ecosystems. She is co-chair of the AIANY’s Committee on the Environment; a board member of BiomimicryNYC, a member of NYC’s Living Building Collaborative and Sustainability Coordinator for her local food cooperative.


    About the Panelists

    Marcus Hopper, AIA, NCARB, LEED ID+C

    Marcus is the Northwest Regional Design Management leader for Gensler. With a depth of experience in workplace environments, his diverse portfolio spans: Financial Services, Media, Not-For-Profit, Professional Services, Science and Technology industries. As a licensed architect, Marcus is passionate about design’s capacity to shape the built environment with creativity, environmental conscientiousness and material sustainability. He has contributed to Gensler’s Design Resilience team that completed high profile projects for Etsy in New York City and the NRDC space in San Francisco. In 2018, he was part of a research team that studied five Gensler offices that had recently undergone renovation to see how reused materials played a role. The goal of the research was to bring awareness to the circular economy and identify how the industry can bolster and encourage reuse processes within design work. Findings from this initial study were published in the Gensler Research Institute white paper, What’s Old is New Again – Circumnavigating the Circular Economy.

    Frances Yang

    Frances leads Arup’s Americas Sustainable Materials Consulting practice, promoting low carbon, healthy, and circular design of our built environment. She serves on the AIA Materials Knowledge Working Group, is a board member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, and co-leads the Coalition workstream of Arup’s partnership with the Ellen McArthur Foundation. Most recently, she has helped to launch All for Reuse, an initiative to generate the demand and infrastructure for economical reuse of materials in commercial tenant improvements.

    Amanda Kaminsky

    Amanda Kaminsky is Founder and Principal of Building Product Ecosystems [BPE] LLC, collaborating with building owners and cities to optimize material resource cycles for whole system health.

    BPE leads multi-disciplinary collaborations that evolve feedstocks, recycling, infrastructure, and logistics for optimal systemic health and performance of building material resources. BPE pilots improvements to product, process, standards, and infrastructure on behalf of building owners, their design and construction teams, supply chains, recycling networks, and impacted communities, engaging regional policy makers and academic research as needed. Amanda Chairs the Health Product Declaration Collaborative Board, and is a Director on the Recycling Certification Institute Board. BPE is also a Reuse Partner of Build Reuse.

    Eden Brukman, LEED-AP BD+C, Living Building Hero

    Eden Brukman is the Senior Green Building Coordinator at San Francisco Department of the Environment. Since 1996, Eden has focused on establishing socially and environmentally responsible solutions for human habitat: she coauthored Living Building Challenge and directed its evolution and global deployment from 2007-2012; served as the first Technical Director of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative; and contributed to the early development of other programs such as Declare, the Pharos Project, and EcoDistricts. Also licensed architect, Eden’s advocacy efforts have led to policy reform, decentralized building and community developments, and the creation of a network of local action groups in cities all over the world.

    James Slattery

    James Slattery is the Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Specialist at San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. In this capacity, James is responsible for regulatory oversight of 15 debris processing facilities, 350+ debris haulers, and more than 30,000 permitted construction activities that generate approximately 1.5 million tons of debris each year. James’ work focuses on resource conservation, debris reduction & material recovery strategies, and environmental action in solid waste management. James has worked with the Department of the Environment for the past 7.5 years and is excited to share San Francisco’s journey toward Zero Waste.



    This program is accredited by AIA New York to provide 1.5 HSW Learning Units.

    Share This Event


    Thursday, November 19, 2020
    11:00 am - 12:30 pm PST
    Event Categories:
    , , ,
    Event Tags:


    Online Event


    AIA New York
    View Organizer Website