A 600.000 EUR funding programme to support innovators in Ireland to develop and demonstrate consumer and business solutions that will stimulate the circular economy is now open for applications.
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Scaling the Circular Built Environment: pathways for business and government
The built environment, consuming almost half of the world's resources extracted every year and responsible for a massive environmental footprint, is a fundamental sector in the circular transition.The circular economy has great potential to help meet global sustainability targets and the Paris Agreement's goals in particular.
Moving towards a circular built environment involves a shift in roles and business models for stakeholders active in this sector. However, barriers related to culture, regulations, market, technology and education are slowing down the transition.
The private and public sector need to create a level playing field in order for circular materials, products and services to become the new normal in the built environment. This requires bold leadership from both companies and policy-makers who have to transform the market (e.g. by introducing new valuation methods) and implement long-term policies that encourage the scaling of circular solutions (e.g. through circular procurement). Standardization, new forms of collaboration and co-creation processes are essential elements in the transition. Digital innovation, education and information sharing can further drive the change in mindset and culture that is needed to turn the circular built environment into reality.
Cirkelstad is a national platform connecting private entrepreneurs and policy-makers who are delivering the transition to a circular economy in pioneering Dutch cities. By facilitating their networking, the platform enables greater impact by spreading best practice.
In addition to a comprehensive database of good practice, research and policy guidelines to inspire practicioners, the Cirkelstad Academie also provides occassional trainings and provides advisory services to aspiring circular projects in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
To learn more about this hands-on network and connect with the 'spinners' coordinating activities in each city, visit the platform here.
Prespaglia offers a product line of modular blocks of pressed straw for the construction sector. The modular eco-blocks are made of straw, clay and pozzolan lime, making them entirely recyclable and biodegradable.
MaterialDistrict: a unique match-making platform for innovative materials
MaterialDistrict is a unique platform for innovative materials which empowers global innovation by match-making material needs with material solutions in the name of circularity. R&D and design professionals of all industrial sectors use this platform to discover new material solutions daily via MaterialDistrict's independent collection of materials, annually at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam and periodically throughout the year with travelling MaterialDistrict Expo, MaterialDistrict Talks and MaterialDistrict Pop-Up events.
Building Carbon Neutrality in Europe
Europe has an ambitious vision of a carbon-neutral future, a vision that integrates energy-intensive industries as well as the construction sector and its entire value chain.
Cement, which binds concrete together, is at the heart of solutions to turn this vision into reality. These solutions span over the entire cement and concrete value chain: from raw materials to production, use, re-use, and recycling.
CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, as part of its effort to move towards a carbon-neutral construction sector, has taken stock of progress done since the publication of its 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap in 2013 and mapped routes to a resource-efficient and carbon-neutral built environment.
Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance
The transition to a Circular Economy requires innovative business models that stimulate optimised use of repairable products, reusable components and recycling of materials. A Community of Practice (CoP) has been established in which experts from different fields have collaborated to improve the financeability of circular construction. CoP members have engaged in a case of social housing corporation Eigen Haard. This report retraces the 'learning-by-doing' trajectory of this Community of Practice. It provides tools to unlock the potential of circular construction business models.
Five main lessons have been drawn from this exercise:
- Circular construction depends on the development of a market for used elements, products and materials.
- Unlocking the potential of circular construction requires new valuation methods, distinguishing between land and buildings.
- Circular construction can successfully be financed when risks and future potential are balanced. This can be supported by detailed financial modelling and leveraging key strengths of circular buildings as securities.
- Social housing corporations are ideally suited to implement circular economy business models since both favour long-term inclusive value above mere financial profits.
- Collaboration and transparency support the creation of synergies between different fields of expertise (business, technical, legal, financial) to tackle the challenges of circular construction business models.
Polish Circular Hotspot
The Polish Circular Hotspot is a public-private platform bringing together national and local government bodies with businesses, entrepreneurs, the scientific community and civil society to jointly develop and apply the concept of a circular economy in Poland.
The hotspot has begun the following activities to develop and implement circular innovations:
organising events (sectoral, regional, national) to analyse specific problems and legislative issues such as workshops on circular procurement for public agencies
assisting with drafting strategies and roadmaps while supporting the establishment of sectoral partnerships for practical circular solutions
networking businesses to exchange knowledge, showcase innovations and connecting Polish entrepreneurs with partners abroad, e.g. through study visits and B2B monitoring sessions with the support of the Dutch, Swedish, German, French and Danish Embassies.
educating those interested in the circular economy concept, for example by organising the national educational campaign ‘Polish Circular Week’
Becoming a member of the Polish Circular Hotspot enables you to work with Polish and foreign partners in building innovative solutions and exchanging best practice across sectors. The hotspot also provides its members with opportunities to shape the debate on emerging circular economy legislation and collaborate in funding projects through partnerships.
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.
Samen circulair ontwerpen: circulaire architectuur en bouw
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.
Luxembourg Wood Cluster
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.
In October 2015 the Luxembourg government named the municipality of Wiltz a Circular Economy Hotspot. In February 2018 Wiltz renewed its political commitment with a Circular Economy Charter signed by its municipal council, by which it committed itself to mainstreaming circular economy in its future project and activities in order to improve its global footprint on the Ardennes region and to take on its responsibilities towards future generations of citizens.
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. That’s the magic of glass, now brought to life in France by St Gobain ISOVER's new offer of recycled glass wool for construction.