Thanks to the circular economy, it is now possible to produce sustainable goods while limiting waste production and making more sparing, less wasteful use of resources. This model advocates maximum reuse of materials before they are ultimately destroyed. It introduces new design, production and consumption methods. The aim being to extend the service life of products by reusing and recycling components. Many sectors have embraced the circular economy, and construction is no exception. Amid population growth for example, there is room for some cities to grow, but not all. What’s more, in light of the current environmental challenges, we need to pay close attention to the way we consume and produce. Find out how to factor in the circular economy when renovating buildings.
Conduct a digital assessment to identify which materials can be reused
For many years, the construction sector has followed a fairly linear economic model. Extracted raw materials were used in the construction of buildings, which were used and then destroyed once they were no longer considered to serve any purpose.
Now, this industry is very energy-intensive, piling pressure on resources and a heavy polluter to boot (link to Construction generates 75% of waste: it’s time to act). It is therefore time to transition to a greener, fairer economy. Progressing towards a circular economic model in a bid to waste fewer resources and reduce the sector’s carbon footprint makes sense on all counts.
One way to do that is to identify which materials can be reused during a building renovation project. High-quality flooring, solid tiling and premium doors and frames can stand the test of time. So when renovating a building, it is thus quite feasible to dismantle and reuse certain components rather than simply demolish everything. This is called selective deconstruction in the trade carried out in particular by batiRIM.
Specific software can be used to conduct a digital assessment for drawing up a list of all the components that can be reused or recycled. By using digital tools like this, it is possible to:
- identify which materials can be recycled or reused in a building and include them in new blueprints or the BIM model;
- classify the materials according to their intended purpose;
- assess the quantity of materials earmarked for recovery, reuse or recycling.
Organise material flows to reduce their environmental impact
Better organising transport flows on-site is another way of supporting the circular economy. In this instance, specific computer tools can be used to:
- optimise journeys;
- reduce the number of empty kilometres travelled;
- optimise vehicle load capacity, etc.
Further steps can be taken by accurately forecasting the transport and human resources needed to carry the materials to their destination. Another solution would be to use this software to plan and manage transport journeys between the building site and the destination so as to reduce waiting time on-site and surplus CO2 emissions. Last but not least, more generally, flows can be tracked to fine-tune needs and manage each new project more effectively.
Optimise building reconstruction through digital technology
Using appropriate digital tools is the best way to optimise a building’s reconstruction in a circular economy mindset. Apart from the fact that you can conduct assessments with them to identify reusable materials or optimise transport flows, such tools can also help you to comply with the most recent applicable environmental regulations and standards indicated by the Government.
Furthermore, working on existing updated plans of material extraction is a good starting point for design offices and architecture firms. This also means there are no surprises for project management teams or the contractors tasked with performing the work. Since the building’s renovation is fully digitised, the updated plans are available in real time for all parties involved.
As you can see, it is now possible to factor the circular economy into the renovation of buildings. Tapping into digital tools is an excellent solution to drive forward the ecological transition of buildings and to build eco-friendly buildings.
Factor in the circular economy when renovating buildings: everything you need to know
Why is it worth conducting a digital assessment for a renovation project ?
By conducting a digital assessment for a renovation project, you can:
- identify which materials can be reused;
- group them according to their purpose;
- estimate the quantity of material intended for reuse, etc.
What are the impacts of traffic flows on building sites ?
On building sites, traffic flows can have wide-ranging impacts, including:
- CO2 emissions ;
- noise pollution ;
- damaged road surfaces ;
- land take ;
- traffic congestion, etc.
How can the circular economy be factored into building renovation projects?
Digital tools can be used to factor in the circular economy when renovating buildings.