Aspects of circular building

4 thema's van circulair bouwen



Circular construction is a very broad and complex subject. So it is not always easy to define concrete ambitions for a project. Do you want to focus on the reuse of construction materials? Or perhaps on portable construction so that the building has a lot of circular potential in the future? And how do you integrate that into your project?

This guide and the accompanying tool help you make your circular ambitions concrete by providing an overview of the key elements and actions that you can include in a project

4 topics

We define the 4 topics that we use to group together the key aspects of circularity. The context of a project with its specific preconditions as well as the proposed future scenarios of that project will influence the feasibility of circular ambitions for each of the topics. This also makes it impossible to take into account all circularity aspects for all four topics. However, the goal for every project is to consider each of these topics and to consciously come up with achievable ambitions. We explain the 4 topics in more detail below.

For each topic, we explain what it includes and why it is important, how it was converted into concrete actions in the ‘Circular Built’ tool, how it can be measured and how it was put into practice in the example projects (two Living Labs). Finally, we also list the existing and freely accessible tools that can provide practical support. We hope this offers you the support and guidance you need, and makes it easier to get started with circular construction in your project!

If we want to achieve a circular economy in the construction sector, then buildings need to be designed according to circular design guidelines. In concrete terms, this means that construction materials and products, building components and even entire buildings must always be able to retain their maximum value (through change-oriented design), or that we must be able to continually bring them back into circulation (by focusing on future reuse and recycling opportunities).

In circular construction, (existing and future) buildings are viewed as a supply of materials. The residual value of buildings today is considered negative because we have to pay for their demolition. In the case of a transition to circular construction, however, the existing construction elements can be regarded as valuable, depending on their potential for disassembly, remanufacturing, reuse or recycling.

Circularity is not a goal to aim for in itself. Instead, it is a way to make the construction sector more sustainable by focusing on buildings with a higher energy efficiency, while also considering the impact of material use on the environment and the depletion of raw materials. To avoid high circularity having an equally large impact on the environment, we also need to consider the environmental impact of materials and buildings in circular construction.

In order to achieve a construction sector that is truly organised according to the principles of a circular economy, some fundamental system changes are needed. However, the transition is still in its infancy. To achieve a construction sector that is truly organised according to the principles of a circular economy, some fundamental system changes are needed. Therefore, it is not yet clear which aspects will be part of a circular construction sector in the future. Circular construction requires innovative, smart and intensive ways of collaborating, sharing information and creating value.