Read our paper for more insights into a new, circular design process based on reuse

07 December, 2023

From recycling to circularity – how a circular design approach can make our buildings better for the environment and its inhabitants.

Paper by Maria Hirnsperger, Angie Müller-Puch and Erik Hegre

Finite resources, climate change and high carbon emissions are the main challenges facing the contemporary building industry. As a result, the industry tends to design energy efficient buildings through the implementation of technical systems and highly insulated building envelopes.
Efficient in operation, but intense in grey emissions and material consumption - a look at the 55,4% of construction and demolition waste in Germany 2020 shows that this cannot be the only strategy to make the building sector carbon neutral.
A holistic approach that considers the entire lifespan of our buildings is needed to reduce carbon emissions as well as resource consumption. This starts with precise programming, flexible floorplans, a focus on pre-use and post-use of materials, and the possibility to adapt entire buildings to future needs and climate change.
This research, based on a real building project, provides an overview on how reuse and recycling can become part of a fluid design process through parametric modelling. It illustrates how to create buildings that are easy to repair and adapt and how this enhances user acceptance. It shows how secondary materials can be used and reused with low energy input to transform the so called “Urban mine” into a circular environment.

The complete publication can be downloaded here (Our contribution starts on page 195)