Designing and managing circular buildings

The circular economy is a paradigm in which a resource never becomes waste. At the end of its life, it is managed for recycling, upcycling or reuse.

Although they are often confused, circular economy and reuse are different concepts. Indeed, in the circular economy, it is not a matter of giving “a second life” to waste but of giving multiple lives to resources. As such, reuse is a component of the circular economy.

Applied to the construction sector, this implies that during the construction of a building, all components are selected and installed to generate no waste at the end of their life. They can be used on another site or be recovered by a processor for reuse or reconditioning.

But to do the circular economy effectively, there are two prerequisites when constructing a building:

  • it is necessary to know precisely the products and materials that compose it thanks to their “circular passports”,
  • it is necessary that the the dismantling of the building has been foreseen from the design stage (e.g. by means of easily removable clip-on modules) in order not to alter the condition of the reusable products and to remove them at lower cost.
This is the concept of the material bank building, or circular building.

5 steps to manage your real estate assets in the circular economy with myUpcyclea®.

Step 1:

Product selection

Your MOE and companies access an “open source” Upcyclea Library of healthy and circular product passports, updated by manufacturers around the world.

These thousands of Circular Passports® are rated by Upcyclea according to 5 environmental criteria (non-toxicity, circularity, carbon & energy, water, social) in order to guarantee the quality of products that manufacturers will want to recover at the end of their use, or that will be re-used or recycled.

Step 2:

Design

Your EMO designs your building ecologically by providing, from the construction stage, systems that can be dismantled at the end of the building’s life. It selects the circular products that will turn your building into a Digital Material Bank.

It will be able to measure the future Circular Signature® of the building: its carbon footprint, its degree of circularity, its rate of circularity and reuse, and its residual economic value. He will use this signature to meet your environmental requirements, and adjust the products if necessary.

Step Three:

Construction or Renovation

Companies import or enter the product pools characterized by their passports into your digital material bank as the project progresses.

The project manager verifies with the circular signature that, even in the presence of variants, the result complies with the environmental requirements of the project. At delivery, you will know precisely the carbon footprint of the building (production footprint, embodied carbon, RE2020/ICcomponent if it is a new building), as well as the economic surplus value induced by the resale of used components.

Step Four:

Operation (Resource Management)

Your building, modeled in our myUpcyclea® system, becomes a digital bank of materials that can be managed and valorized at the end of its life.

Indeed, when an item needs to be replaced, the Resource Manager creates an eco-system to propose the resource for reuse. They can also browse the list of available products to find the replacement resource they need.

Step Five:

Deconstruction

During deconstruction, if the building has been eco-designed, many resources can be dismantled and rehabilitated. They can then be put into eco-systems on the myUpcyclea® system to be bought by other companies that have expressed needs.

Thus, a building at the end of its life no longer generates waste but brings in revenue through the resale of materials.

In the case where the deconstruction concerns an old building, and for which a resource diagnosis/PEMD has been carried out, the inventory resulting from the diagnosis can be imported into myUpcyclea® so that the system can automatically propose matches with needs declared elsewhere in the platform.