Activity 1: The Circular Economy in the Built Environment

This activity, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, concentrates on the design of buildings, their use and eco- effectiveness. Students will explore how, through applying circular economy principles, new buildings can be created that have a positive impact – buildings that do good rather than less harm.

The activity is composed of four lessons which would take five hours of classroom time with additional self-study time. Students explore inspirational case studies, analyse existing buildings and investigate how these are used by communities. They then identify key circular economy principles and elements of cradle to cradle thinking that they can incorporate into their own design for a new building. Realisation of their designs is completed using 2D and 3D design computer modelling.

Design and technology concepts include:

• Developing a specification
• CAD Modelling
• Graphic communication

Circular economy concepts include:

• Cradle to cradle design, especially with regard to the built environment
• Distinction between linear and circular economy principles as they relate to buildings and systems

The activity could be extended further within different subjects:

Science: exploring the properties of existing and new building materials.
Mathematics: modelling changes in energy usage resulting from different materials.

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This resource is part of System Reset: Design and Technology for a Circular Economy

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