Internationales Symposium /

International Symposium

Vorhoelzer Forum der Technischen Universität München

Arcisstrasse 21, 5. Obergeschoss

Mittwoch, 18. September 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cradle to Cradle

Prof. Dr. Werner Lang, TU München

„Cradle to Cradle an der TUM“


Cradle to Cradle  – Prof. Werner LangCradle to Cradle at the Technische Universität München: Buildings like trees, cities like forests

Building materials make up 80% of all waste ending in landfill despite the building industry’s best efforts. Additionally, new regulations proposed by Germany’s Ministry for the Environment to protect groundwater quality are expected to prohibit a large amount of currently used building materials from entering current recycling pathways, and hence increase the amount of building materials ending up in landfills. While at a glance this could look like a no-win situation for the future of sustainable buildings, the IAS and TUM have decided to go beyond sustainability in order to meet this challenge, and have embraced the design concept of ‘Cradle to Cradle®’ (C2C ) – a concept, which sees buildings as chemistry, where design includes choosing materials that are safe, healthy, and infinitely recyclable without value loss, and where ecosystem functionality is designed into the built environment to enable humans to become beneficial ‘native species’ of planet earth. During the next 2 ½ years, Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart and his scientific assistants at the Institute of energy-efficient and sustainable Design and Building at TUM will explore the challenges and opportunities related to the integration of C2C principles into building.

Cradle to Cradle® follows the three fundamental principles

- Waste equals food

- Use current solar income

- Celebrate diversity

Waste equals Food

The processes of every single organism in a living system contribute to the health and well-being of the system as a whole. The leaves of a tree, for example, its “waste”, fall to the ground where they are broken down and become nutrients for other organisms. Microbes feed off this organic "waste" and, as a result, return many valuable nutrients to the soil that the tree can profit from. The “waste” of one organism is thus nutrients for another. Plans made by humans that attempt to replicate this nutrient cycle – cycles in which waste (as we know it) no longer occurs – form the very the foundation of the material flow systems that are a fundamental component of the Cradle to Cradle® method of production.

Use current solar income

The first industrial revolution obtained its energy predominantly from the reservoirs of the past. Fossil fuels were used that had been created millions of years ago. Nuclear energy places great strains and very dangerous responsibilities on many future generations. Systems that are driven to use solar energy are systems that are using today’s energy without having to put the futures of our children and their children at risk. It is most certainly within the capabilities of today’s technology to profitably incorporate the use of and reliance on solar energy into the design of production systems. The direct capture of solar energy is one possibility. Wind energy, created as a result of sunlight causing thermal differences in the atmosphere, is a further source. Biomass and other energy sources also form creditable possibilities.

Celebrate diversity

Natural systems function and flourish through complexity. Compared to the standard solutions of the industrial revolution and to the uniformity so highly prized by globalization, nature supports an almost unending abundance of variety and diversity. How we go about manufacturing products must be similarly tackled with the same flair for diversity and variety. To concentrate on only the one criterion is to create instability and imbalance in a wider context and represents what we term an “ism”, an extreme, or completely detached, solution that is outside the actual structure of the problem.

The initiative „Cradle to Cradle at TUM“ will explore the vision of a “positive future” in building that

creates beneficial impacts instead of how to be less bad

creates a big healthy footprint instead of a less bad minimized one

explores eco-effectiveness instead of just eco-efficiency

improves the quality of building systems, products and processes

partners with customers & suppliers to establish material partnership communities

thinks of “materials opportunity” instead of “energy problem”

explores the design of building systems and processes according to their intended use for building occupants and for biological and technical metabolisms

improves indoor air quality so it contributes healthy air to the building occupants, and to the outdoors

designs building areas and processes that are energy positive

As the co-inventor of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept, co-founder and scientific director of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA), co-founder and scientific manager of Hamburger Umweltinstitut (HUI) as well as director of Braungart Consulting in Hamburg, Prof. Michael Braungart is an outstanding leader and scientist. Together with our specialists and guest scientists, his presence at TUM offers the chance to explore together ways to implement Cradle to Cradle® design concept in the built environment and to develop new concept models for architects, building material suppliers/producers and building firms which go beyond conventional sustainability thinking.

The initiative Cradle to Cradle® at TUM gives all of us the opportunity to network, to learn and benefit from cutting edge research, and to be part of this exciting new concept that will substitute insufficient ‘sustainability at cost’ with a concept that is already heralded as the ‘next industrial revolution’.

First steps towards the adaptation of the Cradle to Cradle® design concept in building design are the following publications:

The Registry Of Cradle To Cradle-Inspired Elements For Building Developments Michael Braungart, Douglas Mulhall and Katja Hansen, Rotterdam School of Management at
Erasmus University, Decision and Information Sciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2013.

Cradle to Cradle® Criteria for the Built Environment

Michael Braungart, Douglas Mulhall, EBEA international Umweltforschung, Hamburg, 2013.


seit 2010 Univ.-Prof. für energieeffizientes und nachhaltiges Planen und Bauen an der TUM – eine Stiftung der Bayerischen Bauindustrie; Leiter des Zentrums für nachhaltiges Bauen der TUM; Direktor des Oskar von Miller Forums, München

2009–2010 Direktor des ‚Center for Sustainable Development’ an der UTSoA

2008–2010 Associate Professor für Nachhaltiges Planen und Bauen an der ‚University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture’ (UTSoA)

2006 Gründung des Architekturbüros Lang Hugger Rampp GmbH Architekten, München

2001-2007 Lehrbeauftragter für 'Sonderthemen bei Fassadenkonstruktionen' und 'Baustoffkunde' an der, Fakultät für Architektur, TUM

2001–2006 Architekturbüro Werner Lang, München

2000 Promotion an der TUM; Promotionspreis des Bundes der Freunde der TUM

1994-2001 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent am Lehrstuhl für Gebäudetechnologie, Prof. Dr. Thomas Herzog, Fakultät für Architektur, TUM

seit 1993 Mitglied der Bayerischen Architektenkammer

1990-1994 Mitarbeit im Architekturbüro Kurt Ackermann + Partner, München

1990 M.Arch.II (UCLA), Award for Best Thesis der UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning

1988–1990 Fulbright Stipendiat an der University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

1988 Diplom (Hans Döllgast Preis) an der TUM

1985/86 Auslandsstudium an der Architectural Association, London

1982-1988 Studium der Architektur an der TUM