2nd Edition

The Handbook to Building a Circular Economy

By David Cheshire Copyright 2021
    144 Pages
    by RIBA Publishing

    This book is a call to arms to all architects, designers and built environment professionals. To avoid a climate catastrophe and achieve a regenerative built environment, the use of new materials and any excess waste in resources need to be cut out from the very beginning of the design process. This requires far-reaching change in established industry processes. How might this begin? What are the key fundamentals you need to know? How can a more effective model be applied? This book, a much-updated second edition of the author’s previous work Building Revolutions, answers all your questions. Inspiring, but never overwhelming, the Handbook to Building a Circular Economy is your must-have companion to helping create a more sustainable future. It explains in simple and practical terms how the principles of a circular economy can be applied to the built environment, thereby reducing the resources required to construct, fit-out, maintain and refurbish buildings. Case studies include:

    • The Forge, UK, by Landsec
    • The Bath School of Art, UK, by Grimshaw
    • Urban Mining and Recycling Experimental Unit, Switzerland, by Werner Sobek
    • NASA Sustainability Base, USA, by William McDonough + Partners
    • University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre, UK, by Architype
    • Park 20|20, The Netherlands, by William McDonough + Partners.


    1. What is a Circular Economy?

    2. Why Create a Circular Economy?

    3. Built to Last?

    4. Starting at the End

    5. Circular Economy Principles for Buildings

    6. Building in Layers

    7. Designing-out Waste

    8. Design for Adaptability

    9. Design for Disassembly and Reuse

    10. Selecting Materials and Products

    11. Turning Waste into a Resource

    12. Circular Business Models

    13. Virtuous Circles

    14. Coming Full Circle


    David Cheshire is a Regional Director at AECOM, specialising in sustainability in the built environment. He has over twenty-five years’ experience acting as a sustainability champion on construction projects and has written best practice industry guidance, including the CIBSE’s Sustainability Guide and Resource Efficiency of Building Services. He is currently working with the Greater London Authority to help to implement new circular economy policies and guidance for major projects in the city.