Circular Economy is a term used frequently by professionals and policy stakeholders within the built environment. It refers to regenerative and replenishing approach and to continuity and circularity of resources instead of the linear mode of make (or take), use and dispose.
Applying circular economy principles in practice is challenging and requires systemic change. But it can be done, and the benefits for businesses, the environment, the economy and society are substantial – the circular economy is a $4.5 trillion opportunity!
A circular economy is a significant opportunity. Where to find information about this topic? We suggest you start from our course email on Circular Economy, an exciting learning journey on how we improve the sustainability of the built environment.
You can also find key reading materials and webinar resources in this section of our Learning Hub.
To date the discussion in Ireland on circularity in buildings has focused on downcycling of materials, waste audits already within existing buildings and finding uses for waste, such as reuse of aggregates and other recycled materials. A different approach is needed in order to design out the need for downcycling at the earliest stage of the project and to radically reduce overall resource consumption and embodied carbon.
As part of CIRCULARlife Project, IGBC intends to trial circularity tools with designers to help drive greater uptake and to identify the most useful approaches. The application of tools and indicators is a good way of identifying gaps and where the infrastructure is lacking in building a truly circular economy for construction as it immediately identifies what is difficult to apply in the Irish context and why.
As part of this project, funded by EPA Green Enterprise, IGBC will also create learning materials, deliver webinars, and carry out training workshops with members and others in the sector to assist designers and developers to incorporate circularity into their projects.Check the Carbon Designer now!
We are also piloting CMEx (Construction Materials Exchange), a scheme to demonstrate a feasible, transparent, fair, user-friendly system for the reuse of construction materials that would otherwise enter the waste stream. The project, funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme, will identify and track resources through the supply chain; identify the potential value of matching materials, and apply these insights to steer organisational processes towards supporting a circular economy.