Piecing Together the Circular System for Housing – developing regional market and supply chains for the reuse of materials and elements in housing

Project Title
Piecing Together the Circular System for Housing – developing regional market and supply chains for the reuse of materials and elements in housing
Priority 2 Eco-innovation: Stimulating the green economy
Lead Beneficiary
Erhvervsakademi Sjælland / Zealand Institute of Business and Technology
Contact Person First Name
Lars Bruun
Contact Person Last Name
Femøvej 5
P.O. Box
Postal Code
+ 45 50 76 26 40
Central Aim

Investigate how to create a market and supply chainfor recycling of materials and components collected by urban mining, as animportant part in the construction of new houses for living. The project will identify,which materials and parts of housing constructions, that are most suitable for repair,remanufacturing or recycling when building new houses and how to stimulate newand innovative dismantling processes, so that materials and parts get a highervalue as parts in a circular economy.

Project Description

While the principle of mining resources through the demolition of existing buildings is clear, and indeed much demolition material is recycled, the means to achieve the higher level of re-use required for a proper circular economy are not yet clear. This is particularly true for owner-occupied houses. Municipalities will have to take a lead role in collection and sorting of building and demolition waste from this source. With the intent to investigate the possibilities to create a regional market and supply chain for recycling of materials and components, this project will bring together stakeholders (owners, contractors (or trade associations), suppliers, municipalities, and waste handling businesses) to compare- and (further) develop best practices in recycling, and examine the possibilities for upcycling recovered resources.

The systems, elements, and materials, which provide the best opportunities for re-use and upcycling will be identified, and the required supply chains will be mapped out. Systems to be examined can e.g. include primary structural systems, heating and plumbing systems, electrical systems, window and doorframes, and flooring systems.

The project will test the viability of the realization of the principles of circular economy in the housing system on three levels:

- Mapping resources and estimating the volume and type of elements and materials, which can be recovered from demolition of owner-occupied housing will be a necessary prerequisite to establishing adequate material flows to justify the development of supply chains and economic incentives for the recovery of building elements in conditions suitable for re-use.

- Detailed studies of the variety of building designs and construction methods, will be performed to identify reusable elements and materials, and the, demolition techniques required to preserve the greatest feasible value from the structures to be demolished.

- Design supply chains, which can deliver the re-manufactured elements and materials back into the housing construction process.

To maximize the take-up of recovered materials and elements, markets need to be established at national and regional levels. This will require normalization of methods for mapping resources, resource recovery, and reconditioning.

By examining all aspects of the cycle, with all stakeholders, the project will attempt to test the economic viability of circular building.

Envisaged Output

Research output

Market and supply chains for a circular economy within construction by means of urban mining. 

Optimization of business processes to stakeholders and construction processes in order to stimulate a sustainable circular economy.

Developing output
Bring together stakeholders within circular economy and urban mining in order to develop best practice within this area.

What is the need for this project?

In connection to the demolition of buildings which lifetime has ended, the traditional linear economy currently presents a big waste of materials and building parts.

By using the mindset of the circular economy where materials and buildings parts that haven’t been damaged can be recycled and yet again be built into new houses, constructioners will be able to utilise a more sustainable use of resources. Sustainable demolition is naturally not free, however we propose that with the right supply chain, costs for demolition can be turned into an income by reusing materials and building parts, which still has a long residual lifetime.

In the construction industry we already see the first signs of resource scarcity on a global level, which means that the constructioners of tomorrow, instead of producing the parts all over again,  need to become better at mapping and collecting these resources from existing buildings via urban mining.

As we are educating the constructioners of tomorrow, we as institutes of higher education feel an obligation to take our part in this process, and with this project we wish to address the need to develop building solutions that can be included in the circular economy so recycling and upcycling can secure sustainable solutions to prevent further climate changes.

Thematic Keywords
Awareness raising
Carbon reduction
Industrial design
Locally sourced materials
Promoting green economic activity
Sustainable resource use
Other Keywords
circular economy, urban mining, upcycling, resource reduction
Partners Found Already

DELFT University of Technology

Dr. John L. Heintz | Section Head Design & Construction Management | Department of Management in the Built Environment | Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment | Delft University of Technology | Postbus 5043 - 2600 GA Delft | T. 015 - 278 7949 | M. 06-48338187 | E. j.l.heintz@tudelft.nl

City of Amsterdam - http://www.ams-institute.org/home/

Erhvervsakademi Sjælland / Zealand Institute of Business and Technology 

Næstved Municipality - http://ressourcecity.dk/ 

Partners Searched

Partners from other countries- or additional partners in current countries could also be very relevant, but has not yet been searched. 

Estimated Budget

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