The circular economy concept focuses on the importance of the economy needing to be effective at all scales and phases, trying to reduce the negative impact of the linear economy, and, at the same time, building long-term resilience, providing environmental and societal benefits and transforming how we make and use products and materials, with the limits of our planet firmly in mind.
How can the circular economy be applied to construction?
José María G. Romojaro, Architect and Technical Director of AEDAS Homes shared the company’s view about how this new concept of the circular economy is starting to take hold across all sectors, and one which the construction industry cannot disregard.
In the first session of REBUILD, Romojaro explained in the roundtable discussion entitled “Introducing the Circular Economy into housing design and construction”, that the circular economy, in general, has a long road ahead in our country: “The Government is now fostering the possibility of evolving and producing a transition towards this more sustainable economy that not only offers a response to the new demands of society but also a giant leap in solving economic and environmental problems in current building activities. Government agencies must drive the circular economy.”
“Construction is one of the sectors that is fundamental to our economy, but it has also always been characterised by its inefficient management of natural resources and huge production of waste materials”, Romojaro highlighted, whilst affirming that “in the sector, we are immersed in the task of finding a more sustainable model, one that takes advantage of resources in a better, more sustainable way, one which is committed to high energy performance, to underpinning the whole system.”
What are the benefits?
With that future in mind, the AEDAS Homes Technical Director summarized “the basic principles of the circular economy applied to architectural design, which goes far beyond sustainable design because it contemplates actions aimed at a more environmentally-friendly product or service across all stages in their lifecycle, from their creation in the conceptual stage through to their processing as waste.”
“Where priority is given to flexible design, enabling wider usability through modular construction that can be dismantled at the end of its service life, fostering a higher rate of reusing and recycling of its components, and includes the use of resilient, biodegradable, recyclable materials as well as the previously mentioned efficient management of waste and that scarce resource, water; and the commitment to high energy performance”, he stated.
AEDAS Homes’ “Green Handbook”
These principles are set out in the Green Handbook published by AEDAS Homes as a tool for managing change by applying aspects of the circular economy. The aim is to construct “restorative and regenerative” buildings that contribute to improving the environment above and beyond merely mitigating their environmental impact. Romojaro pointed out that “in addition to the Green Handbook, at AEDAS Homes we have developed our Offsite business line in which the entire process of housing design and construction is industrialised. The circular economy is here to stay. The application of this concept involves us facing important challenges and requires a lot of goodwill. There is no other way than to combine future economic growth with sustainability. There is much at stake – nothing less than the future of our planet”, Romojaro concluded.
The circular economy is a new way to design, make, and use things within planetary boundaries. Only committed business leaders with a long-term outlook will be capable of adopting new business models that are less dependent, more competitive and resilient to economic and environmental crises.
This will give the company a market advantage due largely to pressure from consumers who are increasingly more aware of environmental issues. At AEDAS Homes, we believe that the future of the sector lies in sustainability, and to this, we are wholly committed.