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February 9, 2017

New York, NY, February 9, 2017 – The Center for Architecture is delighted to announce a new initiative, made possible with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, to develop >Design Guidelines for Zero Waste in collaboration with the AIA New York Committee on the Environment; Kiss + Cathcart, Architects; ClosedLoops; and the Foodprint Group. The guidelines will help New York City achieve its OneNYC plan, released in April 2015, which outlined a bold goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030.

Waste in the City
New Yorkers generate 18,500 tons of waste every day. Bags of waste line our streets, and are collected by thousands of trucks and taken to waste transfer stations. Most of the city’s waste is trucked to landfills many states away, where it lies decomposing, emitting methane for years. At the moment, only around 15% of the city’s waste stream is diverted through recycling, composting, or energy conversion.

Rather than sending it to a landfill, the city’s waste could be viewed as a valuable resource, used to create compost; energy; and recycled paper, plastics, and metals. In order to do this, we need to be able to conveniently and hygienically separate our waste. Logistical issues at the building scale are one critical factor that must be addressed. Architects seldom consider waste management when designing new buildings and there are no city review processes in place. Improving waste management within existing and new buildings could have a significant effect on diversion rates and reduce recycling contamination.

Design Guidelines for Zero Waste
The Design Guidelines for Zero Waste will be drafted for the use of architects and building industry professionals operating in New York City and will be adaptable for use in other regions. The guidelines will function as a manual of design strategies and case studies that will address synergies with other city initiatives, ranging from reducing emissions to increasing traffic safety and quality of life. Like the Active Design Guidelines, developed by city agencies in collaboration with AIA New York, the principles of the Design Guidelines for Zero Waste, with the appropriate dissemination, could become commonplace for developers and architects and could be required in city agency RFPs.

The guidelines team will look at lessons learned in other cities, review in-depth case studies for multiple building types in NYC, and convene multidisciplinary workshops with a wide array of stakeholders during the first half of 2017, including architects, developers, consultants, city agencies, housing agencies, building managers, commercial carters, and equipment manufacturers.

In fall 2017, the Center for Architecture will release a comprehensive document to outline a path for NYC’s buildings to help reach the city’s ambitious zero waste goals.

Related Programming
The guidelines will be released in Fall 2017 and will be followed by programming for professionals and the general public. During Archtober 2018, the Center for Architecture will host an exhibition on the guidelines, to be accompanied by a full-day symposium, evening panels, and k-12 educational programming for local students.

Design Guidelines for Zero Waste, an initiative of the Center for Architecture, is made possible with support from The Rockefeller Foundation.

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience.

About The Rockefeller Foundation and YieldWise
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Support for Further with Food is part of the Foundation’s $130 million commitment to halve food waste through its YieldWise initiative. To learn more, visit

About the AIANY Committee on the Environment
The AIA New York Committee on the Environment aims to lead, inspire, and educate its members towards the dual objectives of design and sustainability. COTE organizes engaging activities and events focusing on leading architects, outstanding green buildings, current technologies and product research, and sustainable design practices. The committee’s efforts are based on the belief that sustainability should be an essential part of the design process and fully integrated with all aspects of a building, including form, function, site, structure, systems, and construction. AIANY COTE works in partnership with the National AIA COTE and supports the AIA 2030 Commitment by providing educational opportunities to further the role of architects in creating a sustainable future.

AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with over 5,500 architects, allied professionals, students, and public members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach and professional development, and towards these aims, AIANY runs the Center for Architecture, a storefront exhibition space in Greenwich Village, sponsors public programs, publishes a magazine, and works with its charitable affiliate, the Center for Architecture Foundation, to provide scholarship and educational opportunities. For more information on AIANY, please visit

About ClosedLoops
ClosedLoops is a consulting and development firm devoted to advancing innovative solutions to problems in urban logistics, with a focus on the management of solid wastes and the movement of freight. Among its current projects is an initiative to develop pneumatic-tube collection of waste, recycling, and organics along the High Line corridor, with direct transfer to rail and with on-site anaerobic digestion of restaurant waste to produce energy for local use.

About Foodprint Group
Foodprint Group is a food systems planning consultancy with expertise in organic waste reduction and management at the building and neighborhood scale. Foodprint Group’s organic waste practice serves a diverse set of national and global commercial and non-profit clients. Projects include organic waste assessments, program development and training, site planning, onsite processing equipment evaluations as well as city and state policy research and recommendations.

About Kiss + Cathcart, Architects
Kiss + Cathcart Architects is a versatile and progressive architectural practice that has designed a wide range of projects while maintaining high standards of design, economy, and ecological soundness. The firm’s work focuses on ‘productive’ architecture that creates positive benefits on every level – human, environmental, and economic. Since the founding of the office in 1983, the firm has completed project types from high-tech manufacturing facilities and public institutions, to affordable housing and research funded by NYSERDA and the National Science Foundation. The practice has been consistently honored by international awards, invited lectures and competitions, and extensive publication in venues such as Architectural Record, The New York Times, Wired, Dwell, and Metropolis. Clare Miflin, Associate Principal at K+C and member of AIANY COTE, formulated the idea for the Design Guidelines and is Principal Investigator for the project.


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