On December 18, the European Commission will host a conference on Level(s), its new sustainable building reporting framework which aims to provide the insights that will shape future building sector policy.
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When 68 Dutch architectural firms signed a manifesto for circular construction in 2018, it became apparent that this field is committed and eager to apply circular economy principles in designing and building for sustainable development. Nonetheless there are few available resources on commencing such a process, which is why the BNA (Dutch Association of Architects) commissioned a study on 'Designing Circularity Jointly: Circular Architecture and Construction' in 2018.
The transition to a circular economy is a quest where nobody has the correct and precise information on what inputs are required to reduce carbon emissions, ensure raw materials are processed in a circular loop and the built environment is repurposed at end of life. Designing truly circular buildings requires frameworks and insights. These are summarised in the report's eight key messages:
- circular economy is a shared quest full of complexity, obstacles and uncertainty, which is why openness, trust and courage are crucial;
- architects need more circular assignments to be able to benchmark and share experiences with each other;
- architects should play a greater role in designing buildings that can actually be built, maintained and recycled;
- collaboration across the entire value chain is necessary to map out resource flows and design in a truly circular fashion;
- regulation stimulates either renovation or newbuilds, becoming an obstacle when architects attempt to fuse old structures with new materials, linear raw materials with circular processes, and outdated standards with pioneering ones;
- despite a lot of information being available, architects find it difficult to access sustainable materials that have passed the necessary quality checks;
- the lack of clear guidelines about what is circular in the construction sector limits the adoption of corresponding principles;
- there are no easily accessible and understandable tools to guide practitioners in designing a circular structure.
Remanpath is a workshop that aims to support SMEs in the building industry towards setting up remanufacturing activities in their own business.
Deliver'19 will inspire its visitors with its Urban Mining Collective's showcase of circular methods and products.
The three-day event Buildings As Material Banks – a pathway for a circular future (BAMB-CIRCPATH), to be held in Brussels on 5-7 February 2019, will focus on circular economy in the building/construction sector.
Tarkett, a world-wide leader of innovative flooring and sports surface solutions, has introduced a take-back Restart® program in Europe and North America to collect flooring, which then is sorted and selected as a source of quality raw materials to be used in Tarkett's own production process.
The Luxembourg Wood Cluster was set up in 2016 as a platform for exchange between all players in the wood sector, spanning from wood production to the end consumers of wood products. Its structure is managed by Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research.
As a meeting point for innovative, public and private organisations in the region – companies as well as research centres – the Wood Cluster brings together know-how and facilitates the sharing of experience in Luxembourg and beyond. Optimising the market release and the use of wood resources in order to lengthen their life cycles, and creating and enhancing regional wood product chains are among its objectives.
Its underlying logic is that of improving the recovery of this sustainable material par excellence at local and regional level. To this end, the Cluster:
- promotes the wood sector as a whole,
- organises networking events for its members ("Meet a member"),
- organises conferences and thematic visits,
- manages technical working groups around the themes of wood production, processing and use,
- looks for innovative projects and new technologies at national and international level,
- identifies and manages strategic flagship projects, and
- supports sectoral SMEs and start-ups.
The Circular Supplier Community Workshops give suppliers and interested actors along the building supply chain the opportunity to gain information about best practices and the advantages of Materials Passports, Circular Buildings & Building Information Modelling.
The Buildings as Material Banks project and One Planet Network invite you to join them in learning from exemplary initiatives in construction and debating how innovative tools are supporting a systemic shift towards circularity in the built environment through digitalisation, assessment and procurement.
Taking advantage of the eternal recyclability of Gypsum, Saint-Gobain's gypsum subsidiary already launched a voluntary and ambitious policy in 2000 to encourage the recycling of pre- and post-consumer gypsum waste.
Glass wool is infinitely and completely recyclable. Regardless of the glass wool’s quality, age, density or other properties, the material is entirely recyclable and can be re-melted as many times as necessary, before entering into the composition of new insulating products, without having its final quality impacted.
The Upper Autrian Cleantech-Cluster networks all actors from the resource supplier, to the manufacturer, industrial researcher, to mechanical engineers, recyclers, and disposers in order to find joint solutions and develop new technologies. We cooperate with our 10 cluster initiatives in the Upper Austrian business support agency and 2000 partner companies, whose activities range from plastics, to automotive, furniture and wood construction, food, medical technology, mechatronics, IT, logistics, and HR, In order to support projects for SMEs in particular, the cluster also supports EU funding applications, thus offering its partners an internationally mature circular economy toolbox.
THEMES and EXPERTISE in the network:
- Material efficiency in production
- Circular design
- Business Models
- Initial and continuing education
- Cross-sector networking with researchers, companies, associations (regional, national, international)
- Project development
- Project Management
- Process support through conception, moderation of workshops, work meetings, events
- Funding advice
For the past 2 years, the CIRCULAR IMPACTS project has been collecting evindence on the impacts of moving towards a Circular Economy in Europe. On September 5th the project team will present its final report at an afternoon conference in Brussels with live feedback from the European Commission, whom these assessments aim to help in discussions with member states and civil society on progress in this field.
Utrecht, one of the four biggest cities in the Netherlands, aims to be climate neutral in 2030 and to reach a fully circular economy by 2050. In a shorter term, Utrecht is committed to increasing its share of circular procurement from 4% of the annual spend in 2016 to 10% by 2020. Utrecht’s sustainable vision is also reflected in its aspiration to become the most bike-friendly city in the world.
This is the fourth EEA report in a series of annual reviews of waste prevention programmes in Europe as stipulated in the European Union (EU) Waste Framework Directive.
This review focuses on reuse and covers 33 national and regional waste prevention programmes that had been adopted by the end of 2017.
Article 11 of the Waste Framework Directive states that Member States should take appropriate measures to promote reuse and preparing for reuse such as encouraging the establishment and support of reuse and repair networks. The report describes how reuse is addressed in the waste prevention programmes and provides data on the status of and trends in reuse systems in Europe. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of waste prevention in a circular economy and describes the policy background. It explains the review's approach and defines key terms used. Chapter 2 investigates the existing waste prevention programmes, looking at their scope and reuse objectives, measures and indicators, as well as the sectors and stakeholders addressed. Chapter 3 examines the status of and potential for reuse for key product groups (i.e. textiles, electrical and electronic equipment, furniture, vehicles, and buildings and building components). Chapter 4 concludes with key findings and prospects for reuse in the context of the circular economy agenda.
Cities can be key players in rolling out circular models, reducing the use of resources and raw materials.
In 2015, Amsterdam commissioned an in-depth study on the potential of a circular economy. The project was the first large-scale research study in the world that uses the ‘city circle scan’ methodology. The scan identifies the areas in which the most significant, tangible progress in realising a circular economy can be achieved.
This report investigates how a more circular economy can contribute to cutting CO2 emissions. It explores a broad range of opportunities for the four largest materials in terms of emissions (steel, plastics, aluminium, and cement) and two large use segments for these materials (passenger cars and buildings). The key conclusion is that a more circular economy can make deep cuts to emissions from heavy industry: in an ambitious scenario, as much as 296 million tons CO2 per year in the EU by 2050, out of 530 Mt in total – and some 3.6 billion tonnes per year globally. Making better use of the materials that already exist in the economy thus can take EU industry halfway towards net-zero emissions. Moreover, doing so often is economically attractive. Initiatives for a more circular economy therefore deserve a central place in EU climate and industrial policy.
The Holland Circular Economy week brings together a delegation of approximately 150 foreign knowledge institutions, business and government representatives with a special interest in CE.
WASCON is the reference international conference on the use of alternative materials in construction.
Level(s) has been developed together with building professionals, with the mainstream market in mind.
To support the transition to the circular economy, governance, regulations and business models will play a crucial role. More importantly, circular business models (CBMs) would allow the retention of an asset at its highest value over time and support enhancement of natural capital. Different CBMs will be required at different stages of a lifecycle of an asset and may work independently or collaboratively. Successful implementation of these business models will require action from designers, suppliers, service providers, contractors and end-of-life companies by sharing materials, systems, energy, as well as information and services.