Taylor & Francis Group
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Building design and construction strategies for a circular economy

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-24, 10:15 authored by Leonora Charlotte Malabi Eberhardt, Morten Birkved, Harpa Birgisdottir

The considerable environmental impacts, resource consumption and waste generation emanating from buildings are a cause of great concern and political attention. Interest in the circular economy (CE) concept of slowing, narrowing and closing material loops through CE strategies (reuse, repair, refurbish, recycle and recover) has grown in recent years to facilitate minimising these unresolved issues emanating from the building industry. Although CE initiatives are proliferating within the industry, wide-scale adoption of CE is still lacking, and the current development and implementation of CE building design and construction strategies is fragmented. Through a systematic literature review (SLR), this study assesses which design and construction strategies are being linked to the concept of CE for new buildings, and their level of application and readiness in a building context. On this basis, the study offers insight into how this field of research is developing and provides directions for future research. From the SLR, a taxonomy is presented that groups the strategies together into 16 overarching building design and construction strategies. An important gap preventing a greater CE uptake within the industry was found to include the lack of knowledge about the environmental performance and related benefits of the various building design and construction strategies. Thus, it is suggested that conveying more comprehensive and uniform adoption of CE in the building industry requires the development of a new design typology to facilitate CE-oriented decision-making in a building context and that prioritises the strategies according to their potential in terms of minimising building-related environmental impacts.