Episode 26 – Rebuilding the Office Through Circularity w/ Andy Delisi

With office renovations increasing in frequency and expending more and more waste, it’s time to embrace remanufacturing.

The data has been around for a long time and is not only undisputed but commonly accepted: that the built environment is responsible for approximately 42 per cent of annual global CO2 emissions.

This is bad – really bad – and we are now seeing Western governments stumble over each other with promises to address the problem. The U.K. government, for example, has just announced a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, and to become Net Zero Carbon by 2050, and will do so by leaning heavily on the construction industry to rapidly adopt more sustainable practices.

The A&D industry likes to think it is serious about getting to carbon neutral. They are right up there on stages alongside governments pledging to use eco-friendly materials and solutions when designing the built environment that have a lower environmental impact. But when we start poking around at actual practices, certain “inconvenient truths” that seriously impede these sustainability goals bubble to the surface, ones that interior designers seem either unwilling or unable to do anything about. I’m talking specifically about office furniture specification and procurement.

To help me take an unvarnished look at what is going on, I sat down with Andy Delisi, vice president at Envirotech. A WELL AP since 2016, Andy has been vocal in advocating for sustainable workplaces aligned with WELL principles. He has penned four registered courses through IDCEC, focusing on topics like Smart Building Technology, Workplace Circularity and Embodied Carbon in Interiors, and has spoken on this topic at many events including the recent ARIDO AGM.

In this episode I get him to explain how “circularity” is the best weapon to combat the carbon villain, but also what’s stopping us from achieving a circular economy. We discuss what kinds of new (or just sensible) thinking designers need to explore to get off the typical “take, make, waste” model, and how can we rebuild a workplace that is still an evolving post-COVID landscape through a focus on circular design, which emphasizes sustainability at each step of a product’s lifecycle, from inception to recycling and reuse.