Circular (de) construction in the Superlocal project.

Ritzen, M., van Oorschot, J., Cammans, M., Segers, M., Wieland, T., Scheer, P., & Abujidi, N. (2019)
IOP Publishing

Worldwide, the concept of the circular economy is gaining momentum. Different
strategies are investigated for the construction industry to become circular as it is a major player
concerning resource consumption, both energy and material related. One of these strategies
focusses on qualitative re-use of building components and building materials. To assess the
circularity of different re-use scenarios of building components and materials, we developed and
applied a circularity assessment concept in the European Urban Innovation Actions (UIA)
project ‘Super Circular Estate’ (Superlocal). In this project, a 10-floor high 100-appartment
building block is deconstructed and its components are re-used in new building objects; 1
pavilion, 4 detached dwellings with different floor areas and 12 terraced dwellings. In the model
the environmental impact of different circularity scenarios is expressed in embodied energy,
embodied CO2, and carbon pricing. Besides the material and energy aspects, other qualities and
former social structures are re-used within the project area, boosting the local economy and
creating a high-quality and desirable urban environment, resulting in Europe’s first super circular
housing estate. In the baseline, the existing apartment block consists of 2.3E03 GJ embodied
energy and 2.9E03 tons of embodied CO2. The investigated pilot dwelling consists of 3.35E02
GJ embodied energy, of which 65% is embodied in re-used materials, and 4.62E01 tons of
embodied CO2, of which 90% is embodied in re-used materials. This investigation indicates that
re-using building components and materials significantly contribute to decreasing building
related embodied energy and embodied CO2, and should be considered a key step in closing
materials loops to make the built environment circular.