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Synergy for assessing circularity & sustainability in construction

Under the prism of our joint actions with the Circular B COST Action project, RECONMATIC  has established several synergy activities in the common areas of interest. Beyond the common goal of bringing the application of circular economy principles to the construction sector, both projects share the specific objective of assessing the circularity of construction projects. This effort aims to assist various stakeholders in improving their practices and guiding decision-making. The focus of RECONMATIC, particularly in work package 6, extends beyond circularity, as it seeks to evaluate the sustainability of solutions or projects about their three main dimensions: social, environmental and economic. The idea behind this is to avoid shifting burdens from one area to another, for instance, if the incentive for recycling a specific product or material involves excessive energy costs. 

Some partners of the RECONMATIC project, including ICATALIST,  Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) and Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (AUTh), also participate in the COST Action project. Some of the strong links of both projects are related to key performance indicators. The research around this is happening in working group 3 of the CircularB, which strives to pinpoint and create circular Key Performance Indicators  (KPIs) that will gauge the circularity index of both new and existing residential structures. The application of these KPIs is intended to expand across COST countries and to be grounded in prevailing and optimal Circular Economy (CE) practices, CE Action Plans, governmental reports, and national/international conventions. The goal is to propose the development of an international rating framework, serving as a comprehensive and supplementary circular assessment for well-acknowledged sustainability schemes. This framework aims to assist in decision-making processes. 

In RECONMATIC, the objective is to find indicators that measure not only circularity but also the sustainability of construction projects or products. Both projects follow a similar methodology in identifying suitable indicators for evaluating circularity, involving a literature review of reference documents to identify and collect the indicators used, followed by screening and selection. Currently, both projects are sharing information on this process. 


The RECONMATIC partners have conducted a literature review of various sources related to national policies or strategies and European directives. The indicators gathered during this review have been compiled into a deliverable, which soon is going to be published. This work is happening concurrently with that of Reconmatic, where around 50 different sources have been reviewed, collecting up to 700 indicators that are currently undergoing screening. To categorize these indicators, a series of dimensions have been established: environmental, economic, social, technical, and management/governance. These dimensions are subdivided into various sub-dimensions that encompass the spectrum of fundamental aspects to be regarded when developing a sustainable and circular building project. 


In conclusion, the collaboration between the two projects has been highly interesting and productive. We are committed to continuing our joint efforts to achieve efficient synergies that significantly contribute to moving towards a more sustainable construction sector. In the same direction, we are seeking collaboration with the professionals involved in all stages of the construction life cycle and we invite the sector stakeholders to contribute to our research. This research needs to be founded on actual users' needs and effectively directed towards them.


You are invited to contact us if you are interested in participating in the international workshop for the tool validation in September 2024 and subscribe to the website, where we will continue to share the results of this project. Stay tuned for more updates on our activities! 


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