The Green Urbanist

#35: Rachel Hoolahan (Orms) - Circular Economy and Material Passports

November 28, 2021 Ross O'Ceallaigh
The Green Urbanist
#35: Rachel Hoolahan (Orms) - Circular Economy and Material Passports
Show Notes

Rachel Hoolahan is an architect and sustainability co-ordinator at Orms Architects, a leading London practice with extensive experience working with existing buildings. For the past few years, the practice has engaged in a series of deep research assignments and is utilising this data and knowledge to push the boundaries of sustainable development – both in refurbishment and new build projects.

Recently, she led a research piece on material passports as part of a wider Grosvenor Estate Innovation Project into material reuse. The outcome of this work is a methodology for encouraging more meaningful material reuse, by creating a material database for the project. The approach is deliberately open source and flexible, allowing design teams of any size or skill set to apply the work to their projects.

Rachel is the recipient of the 2021 AJ100 Sustainability Champion Award

This episode covers:

  • What circular economy means for buildings 
  • Material passports
  • Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB)
  • Building a culture of sustainability
  • Consumerism and fast fashioned 

As you may have guessed, this episode is all about Circularity, also called Circular Economy. Rachel explains so clearly why reusing construction and building materials is so important, but also practically how to do it, with examples from her own work. We also talk about how Orms Architects are embedding sustainability in their work culture, which is fascinating. And we end with a discussion on consumerism, the fashion industry and how we need a change in mindset to live within the planet's boundaries.

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