CRADLE TO CRADLE: PRODUCTS THAT LOVE ALL THE CHILDREN
By Calley O’Neill
One of my heroes, architect Bill McDonough and his partner, chemist Dr. Michael Baumgart developed Cradle to Cradle Certification Program for products that are safe and healthy for people and the environment. Last week the US Green Building Council (USGBC) added the Cradle to Cradle Certified Program to its world famous LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System.
McDonough and Baumgart’s interest is in moving the leading edge beyond sustainability to positive growth and restoration through their collaborative Cradle to Cradle science, innovative design and leadership. As LEED is used in 240 countries, this will have a huge impact on market transformation.
McDonough, honored for his two decades of brilliant design and thinking in the green building movement, refers to this science as ‘material health’. This is the capstone for his 25 years of work.
The USGBC says “Protecting and enhancing human health and well-being have been a big part of LEED from the beginning. It’s been embedded into LEED in different credits, but it’s not been in the front seat of this vehicle we are driving. And it needs to be in the front seat in a big way.”
The good news is that global demand for healthy buildings and healthy building materials is growing enormously.
McDonough’s and Baumgart’s newest book is The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance, which came out in April 2013. I can’t wait to read it. Of note and highly recommended, their first book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, published in 2002 by North Point Press
The concept is going global. The demand for healthy building materials and interest in Cradle to Cradle Certified products is growing beyond the scale of individually LEED-certified buildings and into large developments and communities.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Cradle to Cradle Certified Program was created by McDonough Baumgart Design Chemistry in 2005 as an internal inventory, assessment, and optimization protocol for continuous product and process improvement in five criteria categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship and social fairness. In 2010, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart donated the Cradle to Cradle Certified Program to the non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to administer the certification program as an independent, third-party organization. MBDC gifted an exclusive license to the Institute for use of the product certification mark and methodology. MBDC now evaluates applicants’ products as one of the growing number of accredited assessors for the program. Once assessments are audited and approved by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, products are then recognized at one of five levels: Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.”