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Reincarnate: Reincarnation of construction products & materials by slowing down & extending cycle

It has been now one year since RECONMATIC and our sister project Reincarnate kicked off. Both projects are funded by the Horizon Europe Programme under the topic "Automated tools for the valorisation of construction waste" and work towards the ambitious and vital to achieve, Net Zero goal.

Today we have the spotlight on the mission of the Reincarnate project and the challenges their team has to overcome. Let's learn more about their approach to circularity and sustainability in the construction sector!

What is the Reincarnate project about, could you describe it briefly?

Reincarnate is an ambitious European project that aims to enable the European construction industry to significantly reduce construction and demolition waste (CDW) by providing social means and technical solutions. Throughout four years, our consortium of 16 organizations including SMEs, large industries, RTOs and higher education establishments and non-profits will join their expertise and knowledge to develop a circular potential assessment information model platform (CP-IM) and a set of innovations to make use of the CP-IM.

The CP-IM will provide a digital representation of building materials and products with life-cycle information and prediction methods for tracing and predicting the lifetime of products and materials. So we will also allow for assessing the potential for lifetime extension and reuse and possibilities to predict circular value flows.

What are your objectives?

As our name suggests, we aim to establish a reincarnation practice in the construction sector. Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the philosophical or religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. In Buddhist philosophy, the quality of this afterlife will be determined by the cumulative virtues of the being during its previous life.

Following this basic thought, we aim to maximize the cumulative virtues of a building, a building product, or a building material during its life; establish a transparent track record of these virtues; and last but not least use this track record – and the high degree of reliability and trust that comes with it - to ensure that a building, building product, or building material can be reused at a high quality in an afterlife.

All of the above is translated into the development of our CP-IM and ten specific innovations removing the bottlenecks in current linear practices within the construction industry.

What are the main challenges that you face?

We have identified possible barriers. For instance, the construction industry is known as a laggard in adopting digital technologies. It will be crucial that at Reincarnate we overcome this basic culture. One key strategy employed will therefore be the clear demonstration of our innovations in many varied demonstration cases. Another challenge we identified is that the existing standards and regulations across Europe impede construction companies to benefit from many of the advantages that can accrue with our technologies. Stringent, but very important requirements ensuring the safety of construction products and materials might play a detrimental role in this aspect. We intend to overcome these barriers by closely working together with legal and standardization bodies. Last but not least, the lack of data transparency and information sharing among stakeholders is another identified challenge that the Reincarnate project will address.

Tell us about the digital innovations you are developing!

Our digital innovations include 10 tools for material and/or component tracing and CDW management, automated solutions for de-construction and waste separation process, cross-sectorial holistic solutions from the construction product and material side and access value in terms of monetary value and CO2 reduction solutions. The innovations will draw upon emerging digital technologies, such as digital twin representation, artificial intelligence, and robotic automation.

In addition to the technical innovations, we will develop detailed social science insights about the social adoption behavior existing in the wider construction industry that will allow for understanding how a wide realization within the industry can be established that building products and materials can be reincarnated and re-used in high product quality.

Where are you going to demonstrate these innovations and how?

We are dedicated to demonstrating our innovations on real-world projects. To this end, eleven demonstration projects across Europe have been identified that will allow us to strongly demonstrate these 10 methods and technologies on: single construction (renovation) projects; within integrated circular business chains of contractors, real estate companies, and developers. We have use cases in Germany, Poland, France, Netherlands, Northern countries and even outside Europe, in China.

Currently, both for R&I as well as demonstration purposes, our use cases for the applications of the 10 methods and the application of the CP-IM are being defined within clear demonstration plans. These plans will set up the case, evaluate requirements, plan for data collection, and most importantly establish scientific monitoring to ensure the development of strong qualitative and quantitative demonstrating evidence.

Which outcomes do you expect to get at the end of the project?

At the end of the Reincarnate project, we expect to deliver a Circular Potential Assessment Information Model Platform (CP-IM) and ten innovations that will enable the European construction industry to significantly reduce waste, promote circularity, and drive sustainable practices, leading to a more efficient and environmentally friendly sector. We will demonstrate the impact through 11 pilot cases, showcasing the practical implementation of our solutions. Additionally, we will develop an online learning platform with training materials and propose standards to ensure widespread dissemination and exploitation of the Reincarnate results.

What do you think about projects such as Reincarnate and RECONMATIC and their importance for the construction industry?

They are vital to transform a challenging sector. We both understand that buildings are complex systems, and what we want to achieve, like life-cycle extension, the establishment of transparent performance track records, and reuse in high product quality within the construction sector, will be possible if we acknowledge it. This is a complex hierarchy of sub-systems of building products/components and building materials. This complex hierarchical system composition and the interaction at and between each of the system levels need to be understood first before suitable innovations for life-cycle extension and reuse can be developed. ​​We must be proud to

contribute to addressing global issues like climate change through our research, innovation, and demonstration of effective solutions for short- and long-term sustainability.

More about our synergies with the Reincarnate Project in our article Meeting sister project Reincarnate in Sustainable Places Conference 2023, Madrid

More about the project:



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