A Practical Approach to Circular Buildings

October 9, 2018

A new strategic framework has been developed through a collaboration with the Dutch Green Building Society (DGBC), Metabolic, SGS Search and Circle Economy that defines circular buildings. It describes indicators that could be included in the sustainable certificate BREEAM-NL to better evaluate circular buildings. The frameworks are detailed in the report ‘A Framework for Circular Buildings: Indicators for possible inclusion in BREEAM’.

“Scaling is what we need right now to make the built environment circular. This report presents an overview of practical strategies to construct and design circular buildings around the world. Incorporating just one of these strategies in a leading sustainable building standard like BREEAM represents a massive opportunity to future-proof our built environment."

Ben Kubbinga, Lead Built Environment Program Circle Economy

Presentation during Expo RealThe first copy of the new report was presented to Shamir Ghumra, director of BREEAM on 9 October 2018 during the real-estate trade fair Expo Real in Munich. The report includes a framework for defining circular buildings and concepts for developing measurable indicators. The essential indicators that define a building’s circularity were developed by an expert group with six indicators developed in more detail. The indicators will be field-tested in follow-on studies.

Presentation during Expo Real

Steven Traast (SGS Search), Edwin van Noort (DGBC), Clemens Brenninkmeijer (Redevco), Annemarie van Doorn (DGBC) presenting the report to Shamir Ghumra (BREEAM) during Expo RealCooperationThe author organisations, supported by the Redevco Foundation, investigated how circularity can be incorporated in the urban environment using BREEAM-NL, which is a sustainability certificate for buildings that has been widely adopted by the market since its introduction in The Netherlands in 2010. Over nine million square meters of real-estate have been certified to BREEAM-NL standards. The certificate has a holistic approach to sustainability and includes many concepts which can be used for circular buildings.Exceptional developmentShamir Ghumra, director of BREEAM: “Material resource efficiency and circularity lie at the heart of much of the research carried out by BRE over the years, work that continues today with leading roles in projects such as the BAMB (Building as Material Banks) project. It is great to see the DGBC, as our BREEAM National Scheme Operator in the Netherlands, proactively researching issues such as this and thereby contributing to the ongoing evolution of BREEAM with this report.”Edwin van Noort, development manager at DGBC, calls the framework an exceptional advancement: “Over the years, many definitions have been proposed for sustainable buildings, but practical definitions hardly ever materialised. That has now changed.”Clemens Brenninkmeijer, board member at Redevco Foundation says, “Redevco Foundation supports initiatives that aim to increase the understanding of and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, low carbon-emission and circular built environment. We are very happy with the outcome of this research project and the proposed incorporation of these measures within the existing BREEAM-NL framework – and hopefully the BREEAM International framework too. It will encourage even more parties to think about tangible measures to make our real-estate sector more resource-efficient, less wasteful and more competitive.”[cta link=""]Download the full report[/cta]



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