Lighting with Cradle to Cradle® certification, for use in sustainable buildings
Villingen-Schwenningen, March 2018: In view of the growing scarcity of raw materials and the associated need for the construction sector to be aware and responsible about its use of resources, Waldmann has obtained the world's first Cradle to Cradle® certification for an office luminaire.
The importance of sustainability in the building industry is rising all the time. The main reason for this, alongside the high level of waste materials within the sector, is the scarcity of raw materials. Already now, the building industry is very much affected by price hikes for raw materials. Today, this topic is becoming even more pressing than energy, the previous focal topic. In addition, products often contain materials that constitute a health hazard. To a growing extent, planners, general contractors and product manufacturers are going to have to face up to these challenges. The aim must be to make and leave behind a positive footprint.
The 'circular economy' offers a promising way into the future, based on the principles of renewable energies and material flows that involve recycling. One approach of providing a solution for the implementation of the above in industry is the Cradle to Cradle concept devised by Michael Braungart, William McDonough and EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung [International Environmental Research] Hamburg. “Cradle to Cradle is not an environmental topic, nor is it a moral one. Instead, it is posited firmly and solely on quality, innovation and sound business sense. A product that finishes up as waste is a bad product," explains Braungart.
Cradle to Cradle describes the principle of two continuous cycles: While consumables are bio-degradable and after use return to the natural cycle of nutrients, durable goods need to be dismantled after use into their constituent elements and directed into a technical cycle. Downcycling with loss of quality is prevented, ingredients are chemically safe and are suitable for recycling. Instead of waste in the modern sense, there are only reusable nutrients. Buildings constitute raw material storage facilities. At the end of their useful life, their resources can be reused as the basis for new products. The design and manufacture of suitable products involves far-reaching modifications, and an ever growing number of companies is affected by this process. In this, Braungart sees no alternative to firm action: “The current environmental discussion must be leveraged positively, and transformed into quality and innovation”.
The world's first office luminaire to achieve Cradle to Cradle® certification is made by Waldmann, an SME manufacturer of lighting solutions. “Certification of the LAVIGO was for us a first step, one that we consider to be important in this age of sustainable construction. This allows us to set an example in this sector, and we also view this step as an integral component of our responsibility towards society”, states Gerhard Waldmann, the owner and CEO of Herbert Waldmann GmbH & Co. KG to explain his decision.
To satisfy requirements, all the materials used in the LAVIGO were identified. They were evaluated in terms of their toxicological and recycling credentials and, in some cases, improvements were made. In addition, this evaluation incorporated verification of the energy balance, the volume and quality of water required and compliance with social criteria. This comprehensive evaluation process was performed by EPEA, assisted by the renowned Stuttgart-based construction and consultancy company Drees & Sommer.
For example, Waldmann was able to contribute with some hard facts. Its actively run environmental management system, its own CHP plant and a solar power system, the use of exclusively water-based paints or the in-house child daycare centre all demonstrate its commitment to meeting challenging requirements. Following initial certification of LAVIGO with VTL for biodynamic light, other products in the LAVIGO family are now also being prepared for certification. In addition, Waldmann is examining the demanding criteria associated with the implementation of all new developments in the office lighting sector. Waldmann luminaires deliver benefits in the form of bonus points for construction projects that strive to achieve building certification, for example through DGNB or LEED. “Quality products such as the LAVIGO from Waldmann”, explains Braungart, “support a positive development trend in the construction sector”. They are an essential requirement for attractive and healthy buildings, and they provide an added value for people and for the environment.