Project budget6 969 596 €
ERDF amount4 181 758 €
The construction industry is a large consumer of resources with 30-50% of total materials used in Europe going to construction. Between 2003 and 2011 approximately 1200-1800 Megaton of construction materials were used yearly in the EU, emitting annually 33% of total CO2 emissions. However, often the components and materials used are not adaptable during their use- and life-cycle, because most building projects are still designed in a linear way, making reuse hard and hence resource efficiency low.
Despite the EU’s wish to move from linear to circular systems, applicable circular approaches are scarce. Especially those coupling the technical and biological cycle with an integral approach of sectoral aspects: technique, economy & finance and framework & regulation. Enabling change towards integral circular bio-based approach in the building sector requires new roles of stakeholders in the building sector (manufacturers, constructors, policy makers, investors, contractors & endusers).
The overall objective of CBCI is to set up the bases for the circular bio-based construction sector to become an integral part of the construction market in the 2Seas area. In this project we will enable the building sector not only to adopt an integral (process) approach for circular construction but also to use bio-based materials in a circular context for buildings (coupling technical and biological cycle) for use and life-cycle (design, production, use, maintenance and reuse). CBCI also seeks to induce change in the funding & financing of circular projects, foster circular-friendly procurement, adapt the regulatory framework, and prepare the (future) professionals to work circularly.
This integral approach will develop and strengthen a new branch of the construction sector and will reduce the use of nonsustainable resources (materials, energy), reduce the amount of waste and CO2 emissions and increase the use and reuse of resources in the construction sector.
Thanks to the integral approach of CBCI, diverse outputs will be produced to have an broad effect on the sector. 3 White papers will be published to influence the stakeholders in charge of funding & financing, of the regulatory framework (policy makers) and of procurement, with the objective to facilitate the shift towards more circularity for professionals by an enabling environment. Professionals will also benefit from a practical guide and a feasibility study, as tools to accompany them in circular construction projects, at each stage of the process. The project will harvest experience and knowledge through living-labs, that will remain as proof of concept of circular bio-based construction (CBC), and serve as cross-border educational models. In addition to these physical embodiments, CBCI will develop learning materials for professionals and students that will provide the necessary knowledge for (future) professionals to replace the linear construction approach for a circular one.
Cross border approach
Firstly, a cross-border approach is needed as circular biobased construction is only just beginning. None of the regions already has full knowledge, experience and facilities on this matter. In order to accelerate the uptake of CBC, sharing is required. Knowledge of technical aspects of biobased materials and process management is particularly available in the UBath in the UK, while pilots in the UK, NL and BE need this. Likewise, knowledge on bio-based building materials, process management and business models is in BE and NL, while all areas can learn from that. Also, the whole region can benefit from the strong network of SMEs in FR experienced in waste elimination, via observer Cd2e. Also, cross-border cooperation is needed to reach a critical mass of renewable, bio-based, materials available to take on the development of bio-based elements. Finally, comparison of cross-border cases broadens the learning. General patterns may be identified, which would otherwise remain unnoticed.
The future of the construction industry is circular and bio-based. And the CBCI project is working towards that.
The project officialy started in March 2019. A gradually expanded group of professionals of the ten partners, currently counting almost 60 persons, started with desk research to find key factors that are necessary to speed up the uptake of circular and bio-based construction. This desk research focussed on funding mechanisms, stakeholder needs, new cooperation models, procurement, and rules and regulations, as well as technical specifications of several circular and bio-based materials, and construction systems, resulting in reports of which the content was shared with the whole team.
The findings form input for the living labs of the project and for the testing and prototyping rounds that will take place in the coming years. In several rounds, the project will develop circular bio-based solutions, particularly suitable for utility construction. The project pays specific attention to upscaling to industrial level.
Furthermore, the project started with the preparation of the teaching programmes aimed at professionals as well as students, by preparing the assessments of competences necessary in several disciplines to make circular and bio-based construction possible at large scale.
While the desk research progressed well, circumstances changed at the investing partners in Gent (BE) as well as in Kloetinge (NLD). Both original plans for real-life applications to demonstrate circular and bio-based construction appeared no longer feasible. So, a major modification of the project was necessary. The objective and specific results remain the same; the project still aims to solve current problems in circular bio-based construction industry and develop practical solutions to speed up the uptake. The nature of the outputs, though, slightly changed. The emphasis of the investments in the project no longer entirely lies on renovation, but more on developing new, flexible circular bio-based concepts, that will be suitable for different contexts. At the end of the year, the first sketch designs of the builds were finished.
With regards to communication, in the first project year, focus was on smooth communication internally. A start has been made with the visual identity of the project. In accordance with the developed communication strategy, in the coming years the project will reach out more to the target groups to actively involve them in the project.