TU.1.A || Circular Economy Buildings – from Research to Practice

Delem, Laetitia; Douguet, Étienne; Wastiels, Lisa

In Europe, the construction sector consumes more than 30% of natural resources and produces about 40% of the waste. Therefore, the construction industry is considered as one of the priority sectors in the European circular economy action plan. Also, many stakeholders try to implement circular economy (CE) principles with the aim of saving resources, minimizing waste and ultimately to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. One of the objectives of the European CBCI project is to elaborate a circular biobased wall element. As part of the design process a first prototype, with a demountable wooden structure, and several bio-based finishing materials was analyzed with Life cycle assessment (LCA) and compared with a more traditional wood-skeleton panel. The results indicate that the circular panel has a higher initial impact than the standard panel. The structure has to be reused at least once to compensate for the extra impact induced by the metal connectors enabling the reusability of the structure. Moreover, the chosen bio-based fishing panels tend to have a higher impact than the more traditional ones. Additionally, results show that the impact of the structure is very small compared to the impact of the finishing materials. Therefore, the second iteration should focus on improving the reusability of the wall panel, rather than solely on the demountability of the structure. In conclusion, the case study illustrates how LCA can complement the CE principles as it enables to evaluate the environmental pertinence of the CE solutions and if needed to identify optimization strategies.