Circular Construction: Building Sustainable Environments



Circular construction involves recycling materials, whole components, or whole building parts to create new structures. Reuse takes priority over using new materials.

Energy consumption and recycling opportunities strongly influence which materials and methods are used in circular construction. This process plays a key role in building sustainable environments.

Learn more about how circular construction can help build sustainable environments.

Circular Construction Purpose

The goal of circular construction is to minimize the use of natural resources when building. This reduces the climate and environmental impacts on the world.

Construction and production of building materials account for a significant percentage of the world’s carbon emissions. Construction also consumes a substantial number of natural resources. Plus, increasing urbanization increases the need to build more.

These factors create pressure on the resources that are used to create the building stock. As a result, a shift to a more sustainable use of natural resources is essential.

Circular Construction Strategies

The shift to circular construction is facilitated by three strategies:

  • Reusing and recycling to create circular resource flows
  • Repairing, renovating, and remanufacturing to extend the materials’ use and recycling phases
  • Reducing the use of natural resources and maximizing the efficiency of the production processes

All stakeholders in the value chain must actively work toward transitioning to circular construction. Research, new ways of thinking, and innovation are required for a successful transition.

Circular Construction Challenges

Financial growth must be possible while using fewer natural resources. As a result, materials and components must be preserved with the greatest value for as long as possible. Reusing entire building parts helps retain the economic values and energy that were used to process the raw materials and manufacture the building parts.

A growing number of architects, engineers, and clients are incorporating waste in their buildings rather than sending it to landfills. However, this practice must significantly increase to make a long-term difference in building sustainable environments.

Circular Construction Obstacles

A clear and sustained demand for reused or recycled building materials and processes must be created to drive the circular construction market. At this time, the market is new, and the circular principles have not been included in rules on public procurement procedures, standards, certifications, and the Executive Order on Harmful Substances. As a result, the push to transition to circular construction must increase to build sustainable environments.

Circular Construction Recommendations

The scaling of circular construction is based on five pillars:

  • Renovation of existing buildings must be prioritized over creating new buildings.
  • The building materials must be reused and recycled at the highest level.
  • Permanent access to resources, reduction in waste, and reduction in carbon emissions are essential.
  • Test projects must include testing new framework conditions to create a technical basis for scaling circular construction.
  • Research and innovation must help meet international challenges in building sustainable environments.

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