Waste Information Modeling (WIM) for Construction of the Built Environment

EPA Grant Number: SU834341
Title: Waste Information Modeling (WIM) for Construction of the Built Environment
Investigators: Beorkrem, Christopher , Gardner, Ronna , Mattison, James
Current Investigators: Beorkrem, Christopher , Gardner, Ronna , Mattison, James , Polyakov, Igor , Scott, Jeff
Institution: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


According to the EPA, in 2007 over 164 million tons of construction and demolition waste was deposited in landfills. The construction methods, which create a large portion of this waste are a product of the software used to design them. Currently, architects use Building Information Modeling (BIM) to quickly design complex buildings. The construction techniques built into this software proliferate the use of these inefficient and wasteful methods. This proposal seeks to investigate and deploy methods for investigating construction methods using non-toxic industrial waste products to be integrated into BIM digital models. The intent of the project is to use digital manufacturing tools to demonstrate practical application for the re-use of the by-products of local industry.


The primary scope of the investigation will involve the geometric analysis and modeling of recycled industrial waste and the prototyping of assembly methods using digitally manufactured supports and connections. There is an existing infrastructure for the sale and gifting of this material through websites such as, NC Waste Trader (http://www.ncwastetrader.com exit EPA). The School of Architecture has an existing physical and practical digital manufacturing infrastructure, for the creation of unique architectural components. By recycling industrial by-products, which pose no health hazards, we will demonstrate that sustainable design practices can effectively mitigate waste and demonstrate new methods by which design and construction may contribute to our local communities.

Expected Results:

The outcomes will include the construction of full-scale building prototypes. As full-scale pieces are constructed they will be installed throughout the community, and could potentially be used as installations within the local community to demonstrate the use of recycled products in inventive designs. This project seeks to capitalize on the plethora of recent advances in technology to pioneer a built environment that seamlessly weaves recycled waste with digital manufacturing to create a teaching tool for applied sustainability.

Supplemental Keywords:

green building, alternative construction material, recycled materials, architectural design, environmentally benign substitute, resource recovery, green manufacturing, closed loop recycling, reuse, decision making, design for the environment, holistic design, industrial ecology;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report