News Brief

ISO Simplifies Specifying for Circular Design

A new standard lays out design guidance for maximizing a building’s adaptability and disassembly potential.

Making material and design choices that minimize a building’s embodied carbon upfront is vital. But a new standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) reminds us that we can also reduce embodied impacts by extending the useful life of what we plan to build.

ISO 20887: 2020, Sustainability in Buildings and Civil Engineering Works, focuses on principles of adaptability and disassembly in order to first extend a building’s lifespan, and then to recapture lasting building components for other applications. The standard breaks down adaptability into versatility, convertibility, and expandability. Covered strategies on design for disassembly include providing easy access to components, avoiding unnecessary treatments and finishes, simplifying and standardizing the design, and supporting circular economy business models.

The standard is meant for designers to use in early design and can be used for new construction, renovation projects, or even incremental improvements. Following the standard will lead to a project that has a longer lifespan, makes better use of resources, and contributes less waste to landfills, according to a press release. 

Published April 6, 2020

Pearson, C. (2020, March 23). ISO Simplifies Specifying for Circular Design. Retrieved from

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