Advances in the Implementation of Circular Economy in Buildings

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 8480

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Steel Structures and Structural Mechanics, Politehnica University of Timisoara, 300224 Timisoara, Romania
Interests: cold-formed steel structures; structural stability and analysis; modular constructions; sustainable constructions; circular economy; life cycle analysis

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: sustainable energy systems; building-integrated sustainable energy systems; circular economy; building circularity; circular value chain; sustainable development goals; LCA; sustainable engineering
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Society and governments require a more efficient and sustainable built environment. An emergent trend is the circular economy, which aims at decoupling economic growth from resource consumption. Construction has been identified as a field of action by the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan. The application of circular economy principles in real estate and building design and use (adaptability, durability, waste reduction and high-quality management according to the European Commission) is mainly focused on new buildings where circularity can be embedded and facilitated since the early design stage and consequently throughout the whole life cycle of a building and its components and materials. Conversely, circularity in the context of existing buildings is not as well defined. Moreover, the lack of a common understanding and open tools to classify buildings’ circularity, at any stage in their lifecycle, is a barrier in the application of circular thinking. Thus, defining methodologies to develop an international circularity framework for new and existing buildings to support decision making and assess the implementation level will be based on the international best practices. This Special Issue presents contributions towards more sustainable buildings and solutions for the future.

Prof. Dr. Viorel Ungureanu
Prof. Dr. Luís Bragança
Prof. Dr. Charalampos Baniotopoulos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • built environment
  • integrated design
  • design for adaptability
  • design for disassembly
  • reversible buildings
  • recovery and reuse
  • business models
  • circularity index
  • design strategies and tools

Published Papers (4 papers)

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19 pages, 1011 KiB  
Article
Mega-Projects in Construction: Barriers in the Implementation of Circular Economy Concepts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
by Saud Alotaibi, Pedro Martinez-Vazquez and Charalampos Baniotopoulos
Buildings 2024, 14(5), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14051298 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 501
Abstract
The construction sector has been subjected to scrutiny due to its propensity for waste generation and the extensive utilisation of finite natural resources. In response to these concerns, a transition towards a novel conceptual framework known as circular economy (CE) has been advocated. [...] Read more.
The construction sector has been subjected to scrutiny due to its propensity for waste generation and the extensive utilisation of finite natural resources. In response to these concerns, a transition towards a novel conceptual framework known as circular economy (CE) has been advocated. Nevertheless, the integration of CE principles within the construction domain encounters numerous impediments to its advancement. Despite scholarly recognition of these challenges, scant research has been devoted to elucidating the intricacies associated with the planning and execution of large-scale projects, particularly within developing nations such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This paper intends to fill this gap through the identification and ranking of those barriers encountered when trying to implement CE during construction in KSA. To this end, a comprehensive literature review was completed, alongside a survey conducted amongst 239 participants involved in three mega-projects. A statistical analysis of the data collected was carried out based on the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Following this, a relative importance index (RII) was established to rank 24 barriers categorised as major within the sample. The findings revealed the lack of regulation within the construction sector, the lack of education and training, little awareness and guidance on the subject, and the absence of an incentives policy as primary barriers to adopting CE in KSA. The present study endeavours to enhance the comprehension regarding the principles of circular economy (CE) and the attendant challenges encountered during its implementation. The overarching objective is to provide insights that can inform decision-making processes, thereby facilitating the development of robust mitigation strategies and the adoption of best practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Implementation of Circular Economy in Buildings)
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29 pages, 4618 KiB  
Article
Application of Circular Economy Principles to Architectural Design: A Case Study of Serbia
by Branislava Stoiljković, Nataša Petković, Hristina Krstić and Vladana Petrović
Buildings 2023, 13(8), 1990; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13081990 - 4 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2174
Abstract
The circular economy (CE), as an antidote to the ubiquitous and dominant global economic concept characterized by the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources and the flow of materials from producers to users to landfills, has become inevitable. The application of circular business models [...] Read more.
The circular economy (CE), as an antidote to the ubiquitous and dominant global economic concept characterized by the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources and the flow of materials from producers to users to landfills, has become inevitable. The application of circular business models is especially needed in the building sector, as one of the main consumers of natural resources and energy, considerable polluters, and substantial producers of waste. Since architects are important participants in the process of designing and building structures, it is clear that circular principles should be incorporated into architectural design (AD) as well. This paper deals with the analysis of the degree of application of circular principles in AD in Serbia and the challenges and difficulties that architects face in this endeavor. The methods used in the research included an unstructured interview on the basic principles of CE, a case study of selected housing renovation projects in Niš, Serbia (as an illustration of the principles that deal with extending the life of buildings in the domestic environment), and a survey on the degree and importance of the application of the CE principles in AD among architects in Serbia. The case study results and survey results led to the outline of guidelines for future AD in accordance with CE principles and recommendations for creating a working environment for the architects that is more circular oriented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Implementation of Circular Economy in Buildings)
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18 pages, 2849 KiB  
Article
Comparing Circular Kitchens: A Study of the Dutch Housing Sector
by Bas Wouterszoon Jansen, Jin-Ah Duijghuisen, Gerard van Bortel and Vincent Gruis
Buildings 2023, 13(7), 1698; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13071698 - 3 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1268
Abstract
The built environment can become more sustainable by gradually replacing building components with circular ones. Kitchens are a logical component to be made circular, given their relatively short lifespan, product-based nature, and affordable prototypes. Since various designs for circular kitchens can be developed, [...] Read more.
The built environment can become more sustainable by gradually replacing building components with circular ones. Kitchens are a logical component to be made circular, given their relatively short lifespan, product-based nature, and affordable prototypes. Since various designs for circular kitchens can be developed, understanding the feasibility of these designs is crucial for their successful implementation. This knowledge, however, remains limited. Therefore, this article aimed to determine which types of circular kitchens are feasible. Circular kitchens available or announced in the Dutch housing sector within the past five years were compared using an adapted version of the CBC generator, a comprehensive design framework for circular building components. The comparison included the Circular Kitchen (CIK), developed as part of an international research project. Data were sourced from manufacturers’ websites and online publications supplemented by interviews with two outliers to verify the results. The analysis encompassed seven circular kitchens, with two developed by established manufacturers and five by start-ups. The manufacturers mostly communicated about their kitchen’s physical design. The established manufacturers’ circular kitchens were found to be more similar to their non-circular kitchens, while start-ups applied more radical innovations. Furthermore, the kitchens that had a frame structure using technical materials or a panel-based structure using biological materials were more likely to be feasible. These findings can facilitate future circular kitchen development by improving these kitchens’ feasibility, thus aiding the transition to a more circular built environment. Furthermore, this research contributes scientifically by adapting a comprehensive design framework (the CBC generator) to compare circular designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Implementation of Circular Economy in Buildings)
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21 pages, 1364 KiB  
Systematic Review
Barriers and Enablers to the Adoption of Circular Economy Concept in the Building Sector: A Systematic Literature Review
by Abdulaziz AlJaber, Pedro Martinez-Vazquez and Charalampos Baniotopoulos
Buildings 2023, 13(11), 2778; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13112778 - 4 Nov 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3031
Abstract
The building sector is a major contributor to global resource consumption and waste generation. The circular economy (CE) concept offers a promising alternative to the traditional linear economy by promoting the reuse, remanufacture, repair, and recycling of materials and products. However, the adoption [...] Read more.
The building sector is a major contributor to global resource consumption and waste generation. The circular economy (CE) concept offers a promising alternative to the traditional linear economy by promoting the reuse, remanufacture, repair, and recycling of materials and products. However, the adoption of CE in the building sector faces several barriers. This paper presents a systematic literature review utilising the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) approach, focusing on the barriers and enablers influencing the adoption of the CE concept in the building sector. Drawing from an analysis of numerous papers published between 2008 and 2023, we identified a high number of barriers and enablers that delay the integration of CE. The barriers were categorised into six categories: awareness, technical, economic and market, implementation, support/promotion, and social. The paper also discusses the interdependence of the identified barriers, using a co-occurrence matrix. The study findings indicate lack of CE regulations, fragment supply chain, and high upfront investment cost as major barriers to the implementation of CE in the building sector. Based on the study results, stringent governance and legislation, financial incentives, and the development of technology and innovation for circular building tools are critical factors for the successful implementation of CE principles. The results of this study provide a comprehensive overview of the feasibility to CE adoption in the building sector, which could also help to develop strategies to accelerate the transition to an integrated CE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Implementation of Circular Economy in Buildings)
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