Each year, 17 million tonnes of construction waste are generated in Switzerland. The construction industry as a whole does not get good grades for its climate compatibility, with a full 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions attributable to its activities. It is clear that anyone who wants to build in a truly sustainable and climate-friendly manner today must rely on the concept of circular economy and understand construction as a cyclical process. Demolition projects play a key role here, as many of these buildings are veritable treasure troves of reusable components, such as windows, load-bearing structures and facadecladding.
Old buildings given a new lease on life
With the help of the Migros Pioneer Fund, Zirkular wants to transform the reuse of building components into standard practice in the Swiss construction industry. The aim of the specialised planning office is to raise awareness of circular construction among stakeholders in the sector, lower barriers to taking action and ensure the transfer of knowledge.
Consultancy and practical resources such as software-supported matchmaking between components of demolished buildings and new properties make it easier for architects to design with the concept of reuse. A specially developed tool gives real estate developers more planning and cost certainty while demonstrating the added value of sustainable construction projects thanks to CO2 footprint calculations. Ultimately, the public sector should also increasingly demand reused components when putting new construction projects out for tender.
Reusing components instead of throwing them away
Zirkular makes a crucial contribution to bringing about a sustainable construction industry and thus also to the realisation of a climate-neutral society. If components are consistently reused and thus also put to new purposes, the release of large amounts of CO2 can be avoided and resources can be conserved.
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