Assessing the circular re-design of prefabricated building envelope elements for carbon neutral renovation

Buildings and the construction industry at large are significant contributors to the catastrophic climate breakdown. The built environment is responsible for 37% of the total global carbon emission, of which about a third arises from the energy used to produce building and construction materials, usually referred to as embodied carbon. One of the key strategies to reduce the environmental impact of buildings is to significantly improve their energy efficiency, which is referred to as deep renovation. Prefabricated building envelope elements intended to prevent heat loss through the building envelope are considered a key deep-renovation technology. Connecting prefabricated elements to a building reflects a potential stream of waste if applied linearly with severe negative environmental impact in terms of natural resource depletion and exposure to pollutants. This article reports on a quantitative Design for Disassembly (Dfd) indicator to assess future recovery potential and, subsequently, its impact on embodied carbon emission of the circular redesign of three different prefabricated building envelope elements. Although none of the redesigned elements are yet considered 100% circular, the development of these three prefabricated building envelope elements showcases that the environmental impact can be substantially reduced following a well-structured and dedicated innovation process. The reduction of the environmental impact is indicated by lower quantities of embodied carbon up to 50% and an improved design for disassembly, reflecting a higher reuse potential of building materials and components. Several limitations and directions for further research were identified to advance the development of circular, prefabricated deep-renovation building envelope elements.

Are energy decisions about energy? A study of homeowners’ decision-making processes in the transition to low-carbon housing in the Netherlands.

The transition to a low-carbon housing stock must increase more rapidly to meet the European climate goals: 55% reduction of greenhouse gasses in 2030 and becoming climate neutral in 2050. This transition can be realised by implementing residential low-carbon measures such as insulation, high-efficiency glazing, efficient heating and ventilation systems, and residential renewable energy production […]

Placemaking and the Urban Living Lab for students’ social learning and innovation in education: The case of Heerlen.

The neighbourhood GMS in Heerlen-Noord, the Netherlands, is currently struggling to overcome its socio-urban challenges due to the historical context. Placemaking and Urban Living Labs as concepts both offer potentials to address the current socio-urban challenges, by explicitly involving students. In fact, this paper shows that while drawing on both including an inclusive co-creation process […]

The future is WOOW

Deze krant werd gepubliceerd ter afronding van het WOOW project in 2023. WooW_FINAL_online

Crossing multiple solar energy gaps: A Dutch case study on intermediation for building-integrated photovoltaics

Het artikel geeft inzicht in welke knelpunten er nog zijn in het besluitvormingsproces van huiseigenaren over BIPV, en hoe bemiddeling (intermediation) door formele en informele partijen, zoals de overheid, BIPVNL, architecten, consultants, energy coaches, maar ook vrienden en familie in het sociaal netwerk van huiseigenaren, kunnen bijdragen in de versnelling van de opschaling van BIPV […]