Utrecht, The Netherlands - To transition 21st century cities towards sustainability, high-performance buildings must uplift their surroundings rather than solely sustain their own existence.
EXCEPT INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITY launches a new, innovative blueprint for sustainable development in the built environment in their latest white paper titled Catalytic Buildings.
By looking beyond the physical perimeter of the building itself, the Catalytic Building approach challenges the real estate industry to use construction projects to improve the sustainability of the surrounding urban environment.
The term catalytic comes from chemistry, signifying a compound which is used to accelerate a chemical reaction, without itself being depleted. In the urban environment, a Catalytic Building is one that actively improves its surroundings and uplifts the sustainability of a whole neighbourhood.
Except’s Director Tom Bosschaert has developed the concept for over twenty years, having applied it to buildings in The Netherlands, United States, and China.
“The industry is currently obsessed with circular and energy-neutral buildings, but to confront the challenges we face due to over-population, rapid urbanization and climate change, we need to start thinking about buildings that give back to society.
“The majority of buildings that we will inhabit this century are already built. So, what is the added value of a new sustainable building, if it does not provide the conditions for its own and the neighborhood’s inhabitants to thrive?
“By looking beyond energy and materials and incorporating systemic aspects such as biodiversity, culture, social connectivity, education, and neighborhood job-creation, you don’t need to rebuild an entire city to make substantial sustainability gains,” says Bosschaert.
The Catalytic Buildings blueprint creates a new paradigm for sustainability in the construction industry, from design to development, and challenges existing certifications like LEED and BREEAM.
“Our focus should not just be on creating sustainable individual buildings, but on converting the whole city to a sustainable state. This white paper, calls on forward-thinking real estate developers, policy makers, and built environment professionals to join us at the forefront of innovation in sustainable construction,” Bosschaert concludes.
Except is an innovation, design, and sustainable development consultancy based in
Utrecht, the Netherlands. Since 1999, Except has combined systems thinking and integrated sustainability in over 600 projects worldwide. Our multi-disciplinary team of architects, industrial ecologists, and business strategists work at the forefront of sustainability consulting. We realize unique opportunities by embracing the complexity of integrated sustainability for our clients.