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Re-using local building waste (e.g. local waste material bank) 

Currently, the construction sector is mostly following linear economy principles – consuming non-renewable virgin materials, producing landfill waste, and producing an overall negative environmental impact. The construction industry is the biggest global consumer of resources and raw materials, consuming e.g., roughly 50% of the total steel production. In addition, 3 billion tonnes of raw materials are used yearly to manufacture building products worldwide [8][9]. In Europe, the construction and demolition waste is the biggest waste stream (measured in weight), accounting for 32% of the total waste generated [12]. In addition, the construction sector is energy intensive and thus generates CO2 emissions. To mitigate these problems, a transition to a circular economy model is needed.  

Building phases in circular construction (BAMB project) [15] 


The re-use of local building and demolition waste focuses on short-distance supply routes for materials. In order to match the local building waste to the local need, different technologies can be applied, such as building information modeling (BIM) software and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. Spare parts warehouses and material banks for second-hand use play a vital role in local reuse of building and demolition waste. In order to make the material banks and information flow as efficient as possible, local public-private partnerships are important. For instance, circular transition projects in Leuven clearly proved the importance of data governance driven by enhanced stakeholder interactions, and showed how it should be implemented in the circular transition process [10]. 


Building information modeling (BIM) software is a tool that is used to load, store, edit, and manage virtual building data over its entire life cycle. Usually, new buildings are designed with BIM models, whereas existing buildings typically do not have them. Currently, there are tools available to scan the material or structure properties and integrate it into the BIM models, e.g., via RFID tags. Other tools allow to estimate the recyclability and reusability of recovered materials. Until now, they have been mostly focusing on steel, timber and concrete structures [5][6].  ,

Re-using local waste (ReCreate), A pilot building located in Sweden built of 99% of reused material [18] 



Examples of solutions already commercialised or close to commercialisation

  • Madaster has a cloud-system for categorisation of materials in buildings. The platform creates material passports. The data is owned by the owners or managers of the buildings and they can share the information with stakeholders. 

  • The BC materials is a commercial player who transforms pure earth of construction sites to local building materials such as clay plasters, compressed earth blocks and rammed earth for walls and floors [20].  


Examples of pilot cases:  

  • FISSAC demonstrated manufacturing processes (e.g. transforming waster into raw materials, manufacturing at industrial scale), product validation (e.g. eco-design of eco-innovative construction products in pre-industrial processes and at real scale), and industrial symbiosis (software platform).  

  • Houseful set out to demonstrate and validate a methodology to quantify the degree of circularity of buildings at lab scale and, in four selected European buildings, at large scale.  

  • BAMB implemented several pilots, such as: 

  • The Circular Retrofit Lab (Vrije Universiteit Brussel campus) tested and implemented different scenarios for the reuse and refurbishment of the VUB Campus’ prefabricated student housing. Strategies have been explored for internal transformations, external transformations, and the module multiple functional reconfigurations. Eight student rooms were renovated using demountable, adaptable and reusable building solutions, creating as little demolition waste as possible [21].  

  • In Heerlen, Netherlands, a Green Transformable Building Lab was developed around a multifunctional and reversible steel frame filled with interchangeable, independent and reversible floor, façade and roof elements [22] 

  • The New Office Building pilot project in Essen was built close to Zeche Zollverein, a former coalmine industrial complex. Focusing on cradle-to-cradle design approaches, the new office building will host over 200 high-quality office spaces and a rooftop garden [23]. 

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Circular economyClimate resilienceWasteBuildingIndustryMaterials
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