Posted inOpinion

How to design a building on circular economy principles

Founder and Principal Architect at Rajkumar Architects, Rajkumar Architects, delves into the concept of utilising circular economy in interior design, while also providing insights and advice on implementing this approach

How to design a building on circular economy principles

In a world where architects are shaping the built environment, it is essential to create structures that contribute to a greener future. While sustainability continues to be a prevailing option, designers seek innovative opportunities that give back to the planet. One of the concepts gaining traction is ‘Circular Design’ which aligns with the principles of minimal resource use. Circular design in interiors aims to reduce waste and the reliance on virgin materials. This approach changes how we create and repurpose spaces, leading to interiors that are as sustainable as they are stunning.

Principles of circular economy

Rising above the traditional construction model, which follows a ‘take, make, dispose’ rule, circular economy focuses on a closed-loop system that minimises environmental impact. Products are designed with the thought that they can be reused or recycled rather than discarded. Further, by refurbishing products, the lifecycle of the materials can be expanded. Circular practices aim to restore and enhance natural ecosystems, promoting biodiversity and environmental health.

Material selection and sourcing

The choice of materials plays an important role in circular design. Materials that have a low environmental footprint can be used. For example, recycled materials such as reclaimed wood and metal can be included for a unique look. Opting for renewable materials such as bamboo and cork adds a sense of authenticity to the design. Non-toxic materials can also be used, improving internal quality and meeting circular requirements.

Modular and flexible design

Modular and flexible design is a key strategy in circular interior design. Modular furniture assembled in various configurations can be used in spaces, allowing for versatility and adaptable needs. Further, designing interiors with adjustable partitions and multi-functional rooms that can resonate with changing requirements. By creating spaces that can be easily reconfigured, the need for complete overhauls is minimised.

Energy efficiency and waste reduction

Energy efficiency and waste reduction are the bases of the circular economy. Incorporating such principles reduces the environmental impact and promotes resource conservation. Using LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and low-energy appliances can minimise energy consumption. Additionally, implementing recycling programs within the design process can encourage occupants to adopt sustainable waste practices.

Innovative technologies and methods

With advancements in technology, circular design is elevated to new levels of allure. For instance, technologies like 3D printing create on-demand components from sustainable materials. This reduces waste and transportation emissions. Further, digital fabrication allows for easy construction, depleting waste on site. Incorporating smart materials that respond to environmental conditions, such as self-healing surfaces and energy-harvesting flooring can contribute to overall waste reduction.

In essence, circular design presents an altering approach to contemporary interior design, offering a path to regenerative architecture. Together, we can redefine the role of interior design in shaping a more sustainable world, creating spaces that truly give back to the planet.