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Construction, bâtiment et infrastructures

Scaling the Circular Built Environment: pathways for business and government

scaling the circular built environment cover page

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Author: 
WBCSD, Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
12/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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Contact: 
Brendon Edgerton
Harald Friedl

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

cirkelstad logo

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

Ultra thin White Topping: durable and resource-efficient solution for asphalt roads

schagen infra ultra thin white topping

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Country: 
Netherlands

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Ultra Thin White Topping is a road hardening innovation, applied to pilot projects in Frysland and Overijssel by Schagen Infra BV. To replace damaged asphalt sustainably, the company renovated the degenerated road surface using a thin layer of cement with polyseter fibers mixed in, thus reducing resource consumption and enabling full material recovery at end-of-life stage.

Modular straw-based eco-modules meet economic, insulation, safety and recyclability requirements

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Country: 
Italy

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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

Material District

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.

SK-Tex, a Slovakian recycling company, transforms old clothes into insulation products

SK-Tex product EkosenHMC

SK-Tex takes old clothing and turns it into products that can be used in cars, furniture and buildings. The company has been in operation since 1998, beginning as a textile raw materials trading company before developing into a recycling company.

Building Carbon Neutrality in Europe

Cemberau

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Author: 
CEMBUREAU - the European Cement Association
Publication Date: 
10/2018
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Nikos Nikolakakos

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

Building Value: A pathway to circular construction finance

Building value image

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Author: 
Aglaia Fischer (Circle Economy / Sustainable Finance Lab)
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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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:

  1. Circular construction depends on the development of a market for used elements, products and materials.
  2. Unlocking the potential of circular construction requires new valuation methods, distinguishing between land and buildings.
  3. 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.
  4. Social housing corporations are ideally suited to implement circular economy business models since both favour long-term inclusive value above mere financial profits. 
  5. 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

polish circular hotspot logo

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.

Circular cement: processing waste to create cement in a circular economy

Cement production plant (illustration)

Every year, 2.5 billion tonnes of waste is produced in Europe. Thanks to its production process, the cement industry is able to use waste both as a fuel source and for secondary mineral materials.

18 Dec 2018
Level(s) building sustainability performance logo

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City: 
Brussels
Country: 
Belgium

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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

Samen circulair ontwerpen: circulaire architectuur en bouw

bna report logo

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Author: 
One Future Play
Publication Date: 
09/2018
Country: 
Netherlands

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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.
05 Feb 2019 to 07 Feb 2019
circular economy event

Event type:

City: 
Brussels
Country: 
Belgium

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.

Beyond simple recycling with Tarkett ReStart program

Circular economy at Tarkett's

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Country: 
EU, Luxembourg, Other (World)

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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.

Luxembourg Wood Cluster

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.

16 Oct 2018
BAMB reversible construction diagram

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.

20 Sep 2018

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.

The Saint-Gobain Gypsum Activity at the head of Circular Economy

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.

Saint-Gobain's ISOVER is a pioneer in recycling glass wool

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.

Cleanteach-Cluster Upper Austria

Logo Cleantech-Cluster

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
  • Recycling
  • Recovery
  • Disposal
  • Circular design
  • Business Models
  • Initial and continuing education
  • Research

SERVICES:

  • 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
05 Sep 2018
Circular Impacts Final Conference

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.

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