Casa Circular #2: building for the circular economy

Building for the circular economy makes lots of sense within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been challenging the status quo of our cities and way of life. The pandemic shows that, more than ever, we need to rethink how we occupy our territories and challenge society to redefine its values ​​and plan for the next challenges. In this context, a key element for transiting to a better and more circular society is to review the connection with the environment in which we live developing strategies for us to live integrated to a healthier planet. 

Casa Circular project emerges even before the pandemic scenario, as a way for us to answer environmental challenges we’ve been facing over the past decades. Casa Circular #2 is a building designed for circular economy and inspired by the Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) design framework. In this house, resources such as water, energy, biological nutrients and building materials are designed for being reused and recycled indefinitely and to circulate in safe and healthy flows.

This pioneering model of this construction was already presented here on the blog – in 2017, when we built Casa Circular # 1 – atelier. Casa Circular # 2 will be built in Jaguariúna, a medium city from São Paulo State. And it follows the same design principle and criteria as the first house. The main difference is that this will be a family house (the first serves as a studio), adding complexity to the design solutions. 

Innovation of inhabiting and construction standards

The owners of the Casa Circular #2 have been seeking to change their living standards to a simpler and more sustainable life. They have been already studying circular economy through one of our courses at Ideia Circular. And they want to reflect this knowledge to new ways of living in their new home. 

They aim to take care of water, capture renewable energy and apply the concept of a house being a material bank – enabling it to expand or to be reassembled in any other location. Rainwater harvesting systems, water reuse, waste treatment, nutrients composting and biodigestion, green roof, passive architecture, natural swimming pool, are solutions for Casa Circular. 

Planning

Planning is the most important step for this kind of innovation, because it enables continuous optimization of resource use and solutions. Therefore, the planning phase started from a research about existing species in the region and went until the furniture design: always seeking greater efficiency and versatility.

Prefabricated woodframe panels compose the modular construction system. Woodframe allows extensions, reductions and also dismemberment of the construction, enabling future materials transformation into new products and uses. Toxic resins, glue or mortar are not part of the project to allow that each material can return to its cycle in a healthy way.

Bioclimatic strategies

Casa Circular is designed to optimize renewable resources and to exist in harmony with the natural environment. Jaguariúna is a hot climate city during most of the year. The natural cooling system associates water slides with the positioning of the windows causing the ‘chimney effect’, which releases hot air through the upper openings. The rammed earth wall, the plant nursery attached to the facade, the green roof and the natural pool are also part of the thermal and acoustic comfort strategies, at the same time these solutions fulfill other functions as well. The pool, for example, captures and reserves rainwater, cools the internal and external spaces while ensuring a healthy area for leisure and rest.

Besides, several elements function for the treatment of water and organic matter: evapotranspiration basin for gray and black water from toilets, banana circle for gray water, biodigester for animal waste and organic matter and compost system for organic waste from the kitchen, which will feed back the vegetable garden and the plant nursery.

The house with infinite life

Living in the Casa Circular is a new way of inhabiting the Planet, as the Casa is seen as an integral part of nature. Moreover, the house proposes another way of constructing, where there is no concept of waste. Natural resources and healthy materials circulate within their spheres, either the biosphere or technosphere. Circular design and Cradle to Cradle® framework address buildings as material banks by thinking about what can happen next to each material, product or resource being used. And by doing so, the house connects with the surrounding areas and supports biodiversity, becoming a healthy, circular and regenerative place.

 

International Environmental Congress – Bogotá, Colombia

Flock is participating in the XII International Environmental Congress, in the city of Bogota, Colombia. This event is organized by the Center for Sustainable Development Program Studies CEID Colombia and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Léa Gejer, Flock’s founder, talked about her vision of circular design towards the development of a positive future. For her, this can be developed by implementing Cradle to Cradle circularity and design in products, architecture and cities.

The Congress will discuss the National Circular Economy Strategy and its development plan for Colombia. In addition, politicians and circular economy experts were in the International Environmental Congress, such as the Colombian Environment Minister, Ricardo Lozano, Ken Alston of the Circular Economy Platform of the Americas, Prof. Marian Chertow, from Yale University, and Safia Minney’s Tree of People. Moreover, companies operating in the region such as Unilever, Natura and Veolia and small and medium entrepreneurs showed that they have been doing for the development of the circular economy in the region.

Therefore, the event has showed that circular economy has being incorporated into the political and business agenda of the country. It is seen as a way to take a step ahead and lead innovation in Latin America.

“Coffee with impact”: circular economy at Abraps

Event organized by Abraps to talk about circular economy.

Abraps (Brazilian Association of Professionals for Sustainable Development) is organizing an event called “Coffee with impact” to talk about circular economy. Léa Gejer is invited to talk about her professional experience applying circular economy and Cradle to Cradle. Her experience is focus in architecture, urban planning and product’s design.

At first she will speak about how the Cradle to Cradle and circular economy framework has influenced her career as an architect and urban planner. Additionally, how she sees the next steps for the transition of the Brazilian construction market.

She will also talk about differences between sustainability, recycling and circular economy. And she will also bring examples of how circular design is guiding the development of products, buildings and cities, in a way to illustrate possible solutions for effective circular products and systems.

Abraps is a not-for-profit institution committed to strengthening the work of professionals working on sustainable development goals. The institution encourages the connection and exchange of experiences among its members. In general participating and holding events, fostering the construction and disseminating sustainable knowledge. Abraps also provides products, services and opportunities. The event “Coffee with impact” is organized by VISÃO ABRAPS. This is a group of young people from Abraps. They aim tfacilitate the approach of those interested in sustainable themes from an innovative and informal vision.

The “Coffee with impact” event is free. And will take place next 27th July, from 10am to 12pm at Vila Butantan. The adress is R. Agostinho Cantu r 47, at Butantã, in Sao Paulo. To take part you only have to sign up here (only in Portuguese).

 

Apply for the MIT Solve Challenge of Circular Economy

Applications for the MIT Solve Challenge of Circular Economy are open until July 1. People from anywhere in the world can apply as a person, team or organisation.

What is Solve and why should you apply?

Solve is an MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) program. It looks for innovative, technology-based and human-centered solutions to our global challenges. Through open innovation, Solve seeks a diversified portfolio of solutions in different parts of the world. Every year some challenges are open. In 2019, in addition to the ‘circular economy’, Solve has launched other three challenges: ‘community innovation’, ‘child development’ and ‘healthy cities’.

For Solve program, the definition of “technology-based solutions” is quite broad. In addition to technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and virtual reality, winning teams from the past challenges thrived with, for example, a vegetable fiber that absorbs oil spills, biodegradable absorbents and cell phone applications.

Solutions are accepted in their various stages of development. Such as prototyping (product testing phase), pilot (the product, service or business model has already been tested in at least one community), growth, scale or potential partnership. It is important to be aware that solutions in the ‘idea’ stage are unlikely to be selected.

How does the selection work?

Solve judges are invited experts and leaders from all industrial sectors. Léa Gejer, founder at Flock, is part of the jury  in MIT Solve Challenge of Circular Economy and of the leadership group for the circular economy. The solutions will be selected based on some criteria. They are: alignment with Solve’s global challenges, impact potential, scalability, financial feasibility and innovative approach. “Being innovative” means including a new technology, a new technology application, a new business model or a new process to solve the challenge. Your idea must be innovative to the whole world. This means that if your idea is new in Brazil, for example, but it’s already common in other countries, it doesn’t work for this challenge.

Selected finalists will attend a live audience at Solve Challenge Finals. If you are selected for the challenge finals, trips to New York and accommodations will be refunded. The solutions selected will form a new Solver class and will build partnerships with the Solve community.

What do I win if my solution is selected in MIT Solve Challenge of Circular Economy?

There is more than $ 1.5 million in award funding available for the Solver 2019 class. If you are selected as Solver, you will receive a $ 10,000 Solve grant. Besides, you will have access to significant additional funding.

Plus, winning the challenge, you’ll be part of the MIT-supporting network. And will receive 12 months of personalised support with community members from multiple sectors of Solve. Through these connections, you will build partnerships to accelerate your work, validate your impact and business model, and scale your solution.

Apply your solution at MIT-Solve Challenge here.

The Circulars Awards: Léa Gejer’s work has been recognized for Leadership

Being recognised for our work is deeply motivating, and that’s what  happened to Léa Gejer, founder at Flock and co-creator at Ideia Circular, by The Circulars Awards 2019. We believe this happen because  what we have done at Flock is more than just circular economy or Cradle to Cradle consulting. It is to change the world in a process of transition. For a more conscious alternative of consumption, construction, production, existence. Every day, for all the people.

Therefore, when Léa Gejer was ‘highly commended’ by The Circulars 2019 for Leadership, we’ve got highly motivated.  This reinforced our conviction that we are on the correct path to change the current linear model to a more positive future. The Circulars Awards is one of the leading in circular economy subject at the world.

About  The Circulars Awards

This is the fifth edition of the award with seven categories for ​​circular economy. The Circulars recognises the work and effort of people and organisations around the world. People that above all contribute effectively to the area of ​​circular economy in the private, public sectors and society. Every year, the awards is given during the Davos meeting. It is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and the Global Young Leaders Forum.

“Circular economy on fashion” webinar at ABIT (Brazilian Association of Textile Industry)

Circular economy is gradually more present in the textile and fashion industry. But what are the ways to apply the concept of circular economy on fashion? It is necessary to design, produce and supply clothes and accessories to be used with responsibility, optimizing the useful lifetime of these products, understanding that each material has its own value, in a way that  their materials are able to return safely either to the biosphere or technosphere at the end of their cycles. Therefore, we must take into account some concepts of circular economy for fashion and textile industry, both from the point of view of production and consumption.

Materials should be designed with the intention of maintaining or optimizing material quality for next cycles, what we call Upcycling. When designing a product, we should ask ourselves: What chemicals am I pouring into this material or product? How and by whom were they made? Are these products healthy to be in contact with our skin? And what can happen to every material I’m using afterwards? Are they positive materials? How can I eliminate what is not going well in my production? And at the same time, how can I optimize what is positive?

In addition, new business models and opportunities for the fashion industry have emerged. New questions have been raised: How can my products and materials circulate for more time in the hands of consumers? How can I bring my clients back to my store, increasing the quality and value of my products? Old trends such as repairing and maintenance are coming back? How can I work with them in my business?

“Circular economy on fashion” webinar

Léa Gejer will speak about these concepts and the current developments of the circular economy in Brazilian fashion that on 12/13 on the webinar of ABIT (Brazilian Association of Textile Industry). The idea is to speak of the circular economy at the textile chain, based on current success cases,within the Brazilian context. The webinar is paid, but anyone who reads Flock can have a 25% discount. Just use at the registration moment this discount coupon: JMHLS3JPG8

To register, click here (portuguese).

Learn more about fashion and circular economics in an interview given by Léa for a fashion blog and at Idea Circular’s blog (Portuguese only).

Flock at Construsummit 2018

Today opens Construsummit 2018. The event, will happen during the next two days at São Paulo. It is considered the largest summit of the Brazilian civil construction sector. The event is organised for who is looking for the most recents technologies, innovations and strategies on market of construction. The meeting was developed for directors, construction managers, entrepreneurs and suppliers from all over Brazil.

The event offers the the opportunity to be in contact with professionals from the national and international market.This year, Construsummit will have international speakers such as Jeff Wilson (founder of Kasita), Gerry McCaughey (CEO  of Entekra Inc. and Century Homes) and Masa Noguchi (founder of  ZEMCH network).

Léa Gejer will represent Flock at  Construsummit 2018 .  She will talk about the benefits of  Circular Economy and Cradle to Cradle to the construction market. She will take part atthe panel “How to generate business and social impact in the construction and real estate market?”, with Lilian Veltman (from Alpop), Dorly grandson (from Artemísia), Fernando Assad (from Programa Vivenda), and mediation by Luciene Antunes (from Oficina de Impacto).

The construction sector in Brazil is still very informal, and adopts a linear model in almost all over its processes. Flock’s idea is to show that civil construction has a great potential for circular economy and Cradle to Cradle, through an effective architectural project, where buildings are understood as material banks. This is possible by planning and covering the whole supply chain. As well as using new materials and products that can be reused with the same quality in next cycles.

Casa Circular at Construsummit 2018

Léa will bring up the practical case of the first “Casa Circular” (“Circular House”) . In this project Flock was able to apply the circular economy and Cradle to Cradle logic in the whole planning and construction processes. By showing up this case study, she will bring up the debate about the difficulties and opportunities this model can emerge to the development of the construction sector in the Brazilian market.

Learn more about Construsummit.

 

The difference between recycling and circular economy – radio interview

During 2018 Sao Paulo Zero Waste Week, Flock participated in partnership with IED SP and the Ideia Circular from ​​the discussion: “Waste, a design flaw”. After the event, “Green FM” radio station interviewed  Léa Gejer, architect and founder of Flock. She talked about the about the difference between recycling and circular economy and prospects for waste management in the 21st century. Léa spoke, for example, about  the transition from the current linear economic system to a development of a circular future.

One of the highlights of the interview was that Léa explained the difference between recycling and circular economy development. “When we recycle a product, it does not mean that the material would  go back to the cycle with the same quality. Recycling works at the end of the line (of production). And that can reduce the quality of the material. And therefore we call this as a downcycle process” explains the architect.

What is the difference between recycling and circular economy?

“A good example is the plastic bottle. We spend a lot of energy to produce it. Let’s suppose we decide to recycle that bottle by mixing it with cotton to make a T-shirt. What happens is that we will mix two primary materials. One from the biological cycle (cotton) with one from the technical cycle (which comes from the industry). When you add the two types of material, you create what we call an hybrid material. And to recycle this hybrid product, you have to reduce the quality from  both the cotton and the plastic bottle. And that is downcycling” continues Léa.

“On the other hand, for the development of circular economy powered by Cradle to Cradle, we work with what we call upcycle. That means we design the products thinking about the two cycles (technical and biological) at the first place. So that at the end of its use, the materials can return to their original cycles with the same quality. Thus, we can say that circular economy is more advanced than recycling. In this framework, we already think in the next cycles of the product or materials from its conception and not only at the end of the production” she concludes.

To listen to the full interview, which addresses these and other issues related to circular economy and waste management, click here and listen to the Green FM podcast (only in Portuguese).

Flock & IV SEMANAU

Flock participates of the IV SEMANAU (Week of Architecture and Urbanism), an extracurricular activity of the Architecture and Urbanism course of the University of São Paulo (USP) to promote integration, exchange of experiences, knowledge and skills among students, teachers and professionals.

In this year, SEMANAU discusses the topic “Projective Anomie: Contemporary Fragmentation and political act”. In the face of contemporary fragmentation there is a difficulty in positioning the people who work in architecture. How do the architect and urban planner project into a contemporary, fragmented space? How to design knowing your social responsibility? What is the role of the architect and urban planner in this time of fragmentation?

Léa Gejer will talk over some of these questions during her talk on Cradle to Cradle on 23/10, at 4.30 pm at SEMANAU. See the schedule of the event through SEMANAU’s Facebook (only in portuguese) 

Event “Waste, a design flaw” in Zero Waste Week Brazil

Flock, Ideia Circular and IED São Paulo are organising, during the Brazilian Zero Waste Week (SLZ), a gathering to discuss “Waste, a design flaw” (in portuguese “Lixo, erro de projeto”). The event will take place at IED (Instituto Europeu de Design) São Paulo, on October 19/10, starting at 4:30 p.m.

The circular economy model powered by Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design framework delineates possibilities, new ideas, methodologies, and successful practices that challenge projects to not generate waste, since the conception of products and systems still in the design phase.Yet,, the amount of waste is enormous, as a result of our daily habits designs of constructions  and its materials, most of industrial sectors and a poor management of our cities. This waste production is a reflection of a linear model, where resources are extracted, transformed in products, consumed and discarded in landfills or open dumps.

However,  we believe that products can be designed in a way that each material is to be understood as a nutrient for its next cycles. In this understanding, the concept of waste is eliminated. This design framework  should be applied for building materials, as well as for entire construction and cities, and creating positive effects for users, biosphere and technosphere.

“Waste, a design flaw” (program):

IED, Flock and Ideia Circular

October 19, 2018

4:00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m

Pannel one: Designing for the 21st Century

Mediation: Fabiano Pereira – Director of IED Brazil Innovation Center

Speakers: Cradle to cradle in products, buildings and cities, Léa Gejer, Flock and Ideia Circular

Zero Waste in Smart Cities – Caio Vassão, Founding Member of the Future Urban Scenarios Study Group (CUF – FAU-USP)

Circular perception and design thinking – Christian Ullmann, Center for Innovation IED Br

5:30 PM to 6:00 PM Coffee break

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Pannel two: Challenges of circular economy

Mediation: Luisa Picanço – Ideia Circular

Speakers: Challenges in the design and evaluation of circular products – Carla Tennenbaum, Ideia Circular

Challenges to Implement Circular Business Models – Diego Rodrigues Iritani, Researcher CIEC-USP and Founder Upcyle

Fashion Transparency Index Brazil – Eloisa Artuso, Fashion Revolution Brasil

 

Local

IED São Paulo

Rua Maranhão 617 – Higienópolis – Sao Paulo

Tel. 11 3660-8000

Full SLZ programming (only in portuguese): https://www.ideiacircular.com/semana-lixo-zero/