November 03, 2008

Unbolt, Detach, Reassemble: Loblolly House Wins EPA Challenge

Loblolly House was assembled from components that will maintain their integrity when they are disassembled at some moment in the future.

It was announced last week that Loblolly House is a winner of the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge competition, sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The competition acknowledges the winning teams for developing building strategies that will help to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings and assist the building industry in the reuse of more than 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the United States. Reusing building materials also reduces the energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with extraction, production, and transportation of new materials. 
Loblolly House represents a novel approach to off-site fabricated and modular building concepts. The house uses integrated assemblies that are detailed for on-site assembly as well as future disassembly and redeployment. Just as components may be assembled swiftly, so may they be disassembled swiftly—and whole. Instead of the stream of decomposed debris that comprises much of what we are left to recycle today, this house poses a far more extensive agenda of wholesale reclamation. It envisions the possibility that our architecture, when it is disassembled at some unknown moment in the future, can be relocated and reassembled in new ways from reclaimed parts. 
To test the viability of design for disassembly, we performed a virtual house disassembly/reassembly. We also examined the embodied energy and carbon footprint analysis and created a design-for-reassembly scenario to evidence the potential of a near 100 percent waste-diversion design intent. 
Read the EPA press release.