Emergis Living Lab
This living lab was built in Kloetinge (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen) at Emergis, a mental health institution, where the guest rooms were extended with a new circularly built wing. The units can be easily moved, and the rooms quickly rearranged. This allows Emergis to meet the ever-changing demand for housing. However, there will no longer be a need to build or disassemble, but simply make some easy adjustments, without wasting a lot of energy or material. The use of bio-based materials further reduces the ecological impact and ensures circularity at the end of life. Look at the video or visit the lab virtually!
- Change-oriented design
- Design for reuse and recycling
- Validating the existing situation
- Integrating recycled and reclaimed elements
- Preparing the material bank of the future
- Waste during the construction phase
- Eco-conscious material choices
- Looking for synergies
- Sharing and managing information
- Innovative businessmodels and construction processes
Design for reuse and recycling
By working with CLT, the supporting structure can also serve as the interior finish. For example, no flooring, suspended ceilings or plastering are applied, but the CLT is left exposed wherever possible. This ensures enormous material savings and a drastic reduction in material impact.
To keep the residual value of the CLT panels as high as possible, the pipes for lighting and electricity are assembled and the sanitary appliances are grouped in 1 unit. Thanks to this functional separation, technical installations can be adapted without damaging other parts of the building. In the central corridor, too, the main cabling is laid in a cable tray that is accessible and allows for easy extension or adjustments.
The structure of the facade can be completely disassembled with the option of recovering the wooden planks and insulation undamaged. The flat roof has a roof covering that has been loosely placed and ballasted, so that the insulation and the roof covering can be easily separated during disassembly later on. The units themselves rest on steel poles mounted on Stelcon slabs on stabilised ground. The foundations are therefore also very modular and can be disassembled with a high reuse potential. The walls that connect the modules to the central corridor can be regarded as the inner walls. These were provided in a timber-frame construction, with wooden panels as finish and a detachable threshold at the height of the doorway.
The lifting points of the modules have remained, but have been concealed in the roof finish. This makes it easy to disassemble the modules in their entirety later on. The CLT units themselves were assembled from CLT plates that were not glued but screwed together. This means that, if required, the units can also be taken apart with minimal damage to the panels.
The end-of-life calculator for Emergis' Living Lab can be downloaded here. The lifespan of the units has been estimated at 60 years and that the materials will eventually yield around €150,000. The investment to make the building remountable has been divided by two as the investement also has a benefit in flexibility. This has been calculated in the flexibility calculator.
Valorising the existing situation
In order to connect the new part of the building to the existing one, part of the existing building had to be demolished. At first, the architect’s design did not allow for the existing foundations and floor to be kept. With a view to maximum valorisation of the existing situation, the design was adapted to the perimeter of the existing floor and foundations so that they could be preserved. The other parts of the building, which were demolished, were not suitable for reuse and were disposed of using standard practices.
Preparing the material bank of the future
To facilitate later reuse, an as-built BIM model was delivered containing the materials and quantities. The contractor also prepared disassembly instructions relating to the assembly and disassembly of the CLT units.
Sharing and managing information
For information management, the Emergis Living Lab uses an as-built version of the BIM model containing all information about quantities and materials used. The contractor also provided an informative document about the disassembly and assembly instructions for the prefab modules.
Innovative businessmodels and construction processes
In terms of innovative approach, Living Lab Emergis mainly focuses on standardisation, modularity and prefabrication in order to achieve high material efficiency. The construction of a mock-up (first test module) made it possible to not only make adjustments and prevent difficulties on the construction site, but also extra material savings. For example, the construction of the test module showed that 2 light fixtures were sufficient to meet the required light quality. The 3 fixtures that were originally allocated were therefore replaced by just 2 fixtures per module. The rest of the tender was conducted in a traditional way without any focus on circular business models.