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CircularB COST Action – Implementation of Circular Economy in the Built Environment

Aiming to highlight the mutual vision and interconnected goals of RECONMATIC with sustainability projects that have the potential to revolutionize the built environment, we are introducing today the CircularB Cost Action, which has been in close collaboration with our team for several months now. Today let's learn more about their mission and the challenges they face.



What is the CircularB Project?


CircularB (CA21103) is a COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action committed to developing an international circularity framework for the inclusive operation and assessment of new and existing buildings. This framework aims to facilitate the decision-making process for all stakeholders within the value chain and assesses the effectiveness of the European CE Action Plan (ECEAP). Furthermore, various countries and regions can benefit from it, which includes a circularity rating tool with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).


The CircularB project intends to fill the gap addressed by the lack of standardized tools and activities, maximizing the benefits of circularity in construction. Recognizing that several efforts have been made to implement a circular economy in the built environment, there is still a lack of standardized tools and frameworks that completely address the circular economy approach. In this regard, the framework proposed by CircularB will provide a comprehensive and consistent approach to CE assessment, identifying areas for improvement and prioritizing actions towards a transition to circular thinking.


Overall, the CircularB COST Action presents a comprehensive and ambitious approach to advancing circularity in building, with the potential to bring about significant scientific, technological, socio-economic, and environmental progress.


What are the Project Objectives?


CircularB seeks to deliver a holistic approach to circular buildings - including all aspects of technology, society, law, economics, and the environment.


CircularB COST Action main research coordination objectives focus on:

  1. Identify opportunities and barriers to implementing CE principles by coordinating and analyzing current policies in building design and use.

  2. Gathering data on innovative construction techniques, new technologies, and circular materials for new and existing projects; including rehabilitation, adaptive reuse methods, and resource recovery.

  3. Develop guidelines on implementing circularity in buildings and putting CE principles into practice.

  4. Developing a common circularity framework for materials, components, and buildings, integrating it with BIM workflows, aligning with existing assessment tools like Level(s), and customizing it to fit regional contexts, including local traditions, culture, materials, and methods.

  5. Exploring innovative business models to integrate CE into building construction workflows and looking at market applications.

  6. Developing adaptive resource strategies to predict good pathways for the current building stock, facilitating recovery targets.


Capacity-building objectives of the Action include:

  1. Building stakeholder capacity and knowledge exchange through new skillsets and approaches to CE across the value chain.

  2. Educating policymakers and communities about the negative effects of the linear economy and getting them involved with CE strategies.

  3. Developing tools, strategies, and methodologies for CE participatory implementation in the built environment through collaboration and alliances between different sectors - like material manufacturing, supply chain, projects, construction, demolition, waste industry, academia, and governments.

  4. Providing early-career researchers with opportunities to contribute to CE projects and challenge the linear model.

  5. Creating an online platform where the whole value chain can share knowledge and promote dissemination by sharing best practices, guidelines, and success stories. Organizing workshops, training schools, and events to share knowledge and encourage participatory activities, publishing joint papers, and facilitating knowledge transfer between science and industry by having collaborative discussions.

A complete list of specific objectives can be found in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the COST Action CA21103 CircularB, available at https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA21103/


What are the main challenges you face?

In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the concept of circularity as a means to achieve sustainability. However, it has become clear that a more comprehensive and inclusive approach is needed. In response to this need, the CircularB project aims to establish a network of interdisciplinary experts who can provide a broader perspective on circularity and engage in meaningful debates and discussions. The goal is to achieve sustainable development without neglecting economic, environmental, and social aspects.


To bridge the gaps in existing circularity rating tools and promote a dynamic and participatory approach, CircularB strives to go beyond the current state-of-the-art. Many current circularity practices tend to focus on specific and isolated aspects, such as circular materials development, without considering the holistic approach. This narrow focus often leads to conflicts and potential trade-offs when trying to integrate multiple aspects into practical applications.


CircularB recognizes the importance of bridging the gap between theory and practice to overcome these challenges. One of its primary objectives is to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that assess circularity in buildings, taking into account data requirements and compatibility within the broader perspective of sustainable construction design and assessment. CircularB aims to integrate circularity into established assessment tools, such as the Level(s) framework developed by the European Commission. This integration will promote a lifecycle thinking and end-of-life perspective, enabling the consideration of case-specific trade-offs.

To ensure a closed loop of supply and demand throughout the building lifecycle, CircularB emphasizes the involvement of representative stakeholders with diverse expertise. This collaborative approach will facilitate the identification of specific circular business models and associated benefits in building activities, ultimately creating economic value.


Efficient information transfer among project partners is crucial, and CircularB will explore workflow management and matching tools that are specifically designed for circularity-oriented projects. These tools will not only monitor the exchange of information but also empower stakeholders to gain new insights and make better-informed design choices.


The engagement of stakeholders is vital in promoting efficient information flows and participatory conversations, which will contribute to the development of viable business models. This includes focusing on value proposition, customer involvement, and supply chain management.


What are the expected outcomes of the project?


The CircularB COST Action interdisciplinary network presents a unique opportunity for significant progress in various fields, including science, technology, socio-economics, and the environment.


In the short term, the impact will be most noticeable in the scientific community, as the network aims to establish a strong community with enhanced knowledge of circularity in the built environment

This knowledge will be made accessible to researchers and academic communities through scientific papers, workshops, training schools, conferences, and other channels of dissemination. Additionally, key performance indicators (KPIs) will be identified and developed to measure the implementation of circular economy aspects and support decision-making for local authorities. The network will also collect and share data from the COST region to further enhance the understanding of circularity in the built environment. This will lead to the development of novel design strategies, the identification of new research ideas, and a clearer vision of the transition towards circularity.


From a technological perspective, the CircularB COST Action will contribute to the development of innovative and more circular strategies for Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW). This will involve reducing CDW, identifying new materials and construction techniques to enhance flexibility, and extending the lifespan of buildings. The KPIs developed by the network will facilitate automatic quantification through Building Information Modeling (BIM) and regional material cadastres. In the long term, there is potential to consolidate these KPIs into a single international rating tool.


What is the socio-economic impact you are aiming for?

The socio-economic impacts of the Action will be significant both in the short and long term. In the short term, the promotion of new materials and techniques will prolong the lifespan of buildings and materials, retaining their value for a longer period. This will create new job opportunities across the supply chain and foster the adoption of new business models. The knowledge and expertise gained through the CircularB COST Action will enhance the competitiveness of industries related to building circularity, positioning COST countries as leaders in the field. Furthermore, the KPIs developed can be utilized to establish an international rating tool, opening up opportunities for collaboration with software companies.


In terms of society, the CircularB COST Action aims to promote and increase the acceptance of building circularity among the general public and governments in COST countries. This will pave the way for a successful transition towards circularity in building practices

The outcomes of the Action will also promote sustainable practices, improve resource efficiency, reduce the environmental footprint of buildings, including carbon emissions, and address issues related to noisy construction and demolition methods. Additionally, the objectives of the CircularB COST Action align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly focusing on topics 6 (clean water and sanitation), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), and 13 (climate action).


How Circular B Action and RECONMATIC would be beneficial for the construction sector?


Circular B Action focuses on promoting circular economy principles in the construction sector. The circular economy aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency by reusing, recycling, and repurposing materials and products. RECONMATIC on the other hand is a project that aims to improve the construction sector, the mission of RECONMATIC is to integrate C&D waste management into the construction life-cycle stages. By leveraging digital technologies and automation, the project focuses on enhancing the efficiency and productivity of construction processes.


While Circular B Action and RECONMATIC focus on different aspects of the construction sector, there are several synergies between these projects:

  • Resource optimization: Both projects aim to optimize resource use in the construction sector. Circular B Action focuses on reducing waste and promoting the reuse of materials, while RECONMATIC aims to enhance efficiency and productivity. By combining circular practices with digital technologies, construction projects can achieve greater resource optimization.

  • Innovation and collaboration: Circular B Action and RECONMATIC both emphasize collaboration and innovation in the construction industry. By bringing together stakeholders from different sectors and leveraging digital technologies, new and innovative solutions can be developed to address sustainability and efficiency challenges.

  • Sustainable construction practices: Circular B Action and RECONMATIC contribute to the adoption of sustainable construction practices. Circular economy principles and digital technologies can work together to create more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction processes.

Circular B Action and RECONMATIC offer complementary approaches to improving the construction sector.


By combining circular economy principles with digital technologies and automation, and rethinking C&D waste management, construction projects can achieve greater sustainability, efficiency, and innovation


Stay up to date with the progress of our collaboration by following RECONMATΙC on LinkedIn and Twitter. To receive our updates directly in your inbox, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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