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digital construction circular economy
September 21, 2022

4 promising digital technologies for circular construction

To ensure there will be enough housing available for a growing population by 2060, recent studies suggest that we need to construct the equivalent of the building space of New York City every month for the next 40 years. Not only is the size of this project a tremendous challenge, but so is the ecological footprint of the building sector. Currently, it accounts for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Linear economy principles, for one, generate huge amounts of waste all along the life cycle of building materials. We extract resources from the earth, produce construction materials, apply them in building projects, and dispose of them at the end of their useful life. However, this has not always been the case. Up until a hundred years ago, the reuse of building materials was standard practice. For example, when a major earthquake struck Rome’s Colosseum in 1348, the rubble was reused to build palaces, churches and hospitals.

Recently, I was confronted with the question: “How can we foster circular construction and make it profitable in the complex world of today?” The engineering office, Elioth, set the bar when they gave disused bent glass from the former façade of the Centre Pompidou in Paris a second life. While the glass was still in good condition, it had to be replaced due to new standards and security guidelines. I found an opportunity for the team to deliver the glass panels to Maximum Architecture. The architectural firm used the Pompidou glass to construct stunning, organically shaped office partitioning walls.

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