Applying circular economy principles in the construction sector will be essential to meeting global climate targets. This will encompass many different activities, such as minimizing the extraction of materials, designing buildings as efficiently as possible, optimizing nature-based solutions, and repurposing and reusing buildings, their materials and technological assets.
A comprehensive guide to circularity
The Circular Built Environment Playbook provides a comprehensive guide to achieving circularity in the built environment. It presents more than 20 strategies, addressing all stages of the building lifecycle from design to maintenance to reuse, and emphasizing the importance of collaboration among industry stakeholders.
Here are some of our key takeaways:
- Design for adaptability and disassembly: design buildings and infrastructure to be flexible and adaptable to changing needs, and easily disassembled at the end of their first life.
- Material transparency and optimization: use materials that have a low environmental impact, and ensure that their origin and composition are transparent.
- Resource efficiency and circularity: prioritize the efficient use of resources and create closed-loop systems where waste is eliminated and materials continuously reused across a full asset lifecycle. Localize supply and skills in the value chain.
- Challenge short-term thinking: as an industry we must take a long-term view, considering the past, present and future uses of buildings, their spaces, materials and technologies.
- Regenerate nature: draw inspiration from natural systems in which nothing is wasted, implement nature-based solutions and protect water resources. Use materials that can eventually return nutrients to the biosphere.
- Upskill, educate and collaborate: address knowledge gaps and foster collaboration among building industry stakeholders, including architects, engineers, developers and policymakers.
It's time to think and act differently
The circular economy is a concept that requires all stakeholders to think and act differently, and so it is essential that we share knowledge and collaborate as an industry.
We’re working to embed circular principles into our work, and the Playbook features four of our projects which highlight different aspects:
Download the Circular Built Environment Playbook here.