‘Sustainable Futures’, an interdisciplinary research theme at the University of Brighton, is having a significant impact on the design of our world.
The Brighton Waste House is Europe’s first permanent public building made with 90% discarded material. Built in partnership with the construction company Mears by over 360 design and construction students, the Waste House is also ‘carbon negative’, creating about 25% more energy than it consumes.
The project repurposes material generally sent to landfill. For example, 19,800 toothbrushes, 4,000 VHS videocassettes and two tonnes of denim form its low-grade wall insulation.
The Waste House’s environmental performance continues to be monitored and is used regularly as an ‘open studio’ facilitating the university’s work with local communities.
The university is also researching people’s emotional attachments to objects to shift the values and practices of global businesses, to help cut waste and to enhance their product and brand value. They are exploring the development of new narratives from ‘waste’ materials to stimulate consumer interest in more sustainable products. For example, creating booties from breast milk to promote the NHS Milk Bank and World Breast Milk Donation Day.