Construction uses 32% of the world’s natural resources and generates 25% of total solid waste.

Overview

Hence, it is responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, of which more than a third come from embodied carbon in construction, especially from cement and steel.

Addressing this urgent need to reduce the sector’s strong environmental impact, the EU-funded project RECONSTRUCT aims to achieve increased circularity in the European construction sector. Its primary focus is to develop innovative and eco-friendly alternatives to concrete that minimize the use of virgin resources. These innovative materials will be used in the construction of the demo buildings, whose eventual disassembly is accounted for by design.

Objectives

The project aims to reach the following goals:

  • Automate the sourcing of secondary materials (i.e. construction and demolition waste, or CDW).
  • Develop recyclable concrete using construction and demolition waste, thus zeroing the use of virgin resources.
  • Design components that can be fully recycled or repurposed.
  • Support the design, construction, and deconstruction of fully circular buildings.
  • Use the technologies developed within the project to design and build two fully circular buildings in Barcelona and Brussels.
  • Calculate RECONSTRUCT’s current and future environmental, economic & social impacts.
  • Facilitate the replication of RECONSTRUCT´s approach and the uptake of its innovations. To that end, circular business models and policy roadmaps will be co-designed and co-created through participatory processes. Moreover, social biases and perceptions will be analyzed and considered.

Digital technologies

  1. 01Geolocalization

    Implementing geolocalization to identify potential waste material reserves, achieved through image processing of satellite data.

  2. 02Image processing

    Employing image processing through cameras and drone data to quantify sources of waste.

  3. 03Digital Product Tracking

    Establishing a Digital Product Tracker for construction, which records and disseminates essential data throughout the product’s lifecycle. This ensures the design remains in line with circular reuse principles.

  4. 04Digital Twinning

    Constructing a 6D-BIM Digital Twin for every building, which replicates all physical product features in a trackable and easily accessible format. This will steer the deconstruction procedure effectively.

Impacts

80%

Building embodied CO2 reduction

90%

Construction waste reduction

90%

Recycled content in buildings

5%

Non-renewable content in building

50%

30% → 50%
Closed-loop CDW recycling increase

Scale

137,12Mt CO2

GHG reduction per year in EU

765Million

Tonnes of CDW avoided per year in EU

+50%

Upcycling rate

300Mt

Of CDW recycled into construction

197Mt

Of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) concrete saved per year in EU

Partners

Collaborations

Discover More

Reconstruct is part of the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI), a collaboration and support scheme of the European Commission.

Launched by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation as part of the European Circular Economy Action Plan 2020, the CCRI aims to locally support and implement the  European Green Deal and the European Bioeconomy Strategy by boosting circularity at local and regional levels. It focuses on the implementation of Circular Systemic Solutions across Europe’s cities and regions.

More specifically, Reconstruct is part of the Technical Working Group on Circular Construction and Buildings, addressing some of the key challenges faced by cities and regions, focusing on topics such as managing construction and demolition waste, facilitating markets for secondary materials as well as upgrading existing buildings and spaces.

Fellow Projects