Building & Construction

Visit the most sustainable building in the world and the first cradle-to-cradle business park. Learn about state of the art circular innovations in Building, construction & infrastructure like the elimination and recycling of waste and building materials. We end with a visit to an impressive construction & demolition waste-recycling site. 

Currently the building sector is one of the most resource consuming sectors in Europe – it accounts for approximately half of all extracted materials, half of all energy consumption, one third of all water consumption and one third of all waste generation. Buildings therefore have a key role to play in tackling global issues such as resource scarcity and sustainable development.

Cities are responsible for the consumption of no less than 75 percent of the worlds’ natural resources and 60 – 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, 75% of the population will reside in cities. The need for a transition to circular cities is therefore becoming increasingly urgent. It’s also a great opportunity: by applying circular principles in urban development, cities can be turned into eternal resource hubs.
Possible topics:

  • Re-use of building materials (buildings as material banks)
  • Bio based materials
  • Modular building
  • Designing a circular city

Examples of best practices:

The Edge
The Edge is a 40,000m² office building in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. The Edge creates a radically new working environment that is enabled by sustainable technologies. With the worlds’ highest BREEAM rating awarded to an office building, it integrates numerous smart technologies to create adaptable and intelligent workspaces. Features include façades making the most use of light and heat, a solar panel roof, reuse of rainwater, energy storage and reuse, light as a service etc.

Circl is a new pavilion in Amsterdam’s Zuidas district. A place created by ABN AMRO where knowledge gained about circularity can be shared with its clients effectively. A building designed and constructed according to sustainable and circular principles. Circl has been created to be energy efficient and easy to disassemble, to make as little impact as possible on the planet. Many of the things used to build Circl have already had a previous life. Other raw materials – from the wood used in its construction to the aluminum on its outer walls – can be put to new uses in the future. What’s more, Circl is a living lab – a place where anyone with good ideas about sustainability and circularity can find the space they need.

The Mobile Factory
No building lasts forever. Demolition, war and natural disasters will eventually turn every manmade structure into rubble. In case you didn’t know, rubble is a real killer. It’s the world’s largest polluter in volume, it destroys the environment and it’s a health hazard for the people who are forced to live among it. The Mobile Factory has come up with a sustainable solution to give new function to all this rubble. The Mobile Factory fits into two shipping containers and can be sent anywhere in the world. Rubble goes in at one end, is processed into liquid concrete, and eventually comes out the other side as brand new building blocks. These are designed so that you simply stack them, just like Lego. The new blocks allow victims of war or natural disasters to construct their own earthquake proof homes. Further, an obsolete structure is de-stacked, after which the stones can be used for another building.

Buiksloterham: polluted industrial site turned into circular & biobased showcase
Within this context the city of Amsterdam assigned the Buiksloterham district as a Living Lab for circular area development. In 2015, 20 parties signed the Circular Buiksloterham manifesto for the development of an action plan to transform the district into a neighbourhood in which products and raw materials are reused as much as possible.

The radical transition from the linear city to the circular city involves a wide range of issues and obstructions: regulatory questions, the availability of technology and new revenue models.  Over the next few years, four major research institutes (TNO, Wageningen UR, Deltares and ECN) will be working together in the Living Lab, along with the business community and local residents, in order to develop innovative solutions in these areas.