The project paves the path to turn buildings into materials and components banks and will allow producers of structural elements to come to a different business model that would consist in loaning materials or components to customers and take them back after use in a particular building, in order to resell them directly, recondition or recycle them. To facilitate this, the project will investigate the feasibility of labelling structural elements during production with electronically readable items that contain information about material properties as well as design, repair and disassembly requirements. Thereby, the project aims to pave the way for a future CE material or component passport comparable to the already existing energy passport.
To sum up, the concepts to be developed by the project will be based on the investigation of a wide spectrum of factors, taking into account different (often competing) technical, ecological and economic constraints imposed by planning, design, pre-fabrication, on-site operations, in-use consumption and emissions, as well as requirements for refurbishment and demolition/recycling at the end of a building’s life-cycle. Understanding sustainable construction as an important component towards the reduction of the total resources-related footprint of a building, it is evident that only an integrated and inter-disciplinary approach to such a multi-objective constrained optimisation problem can be successful. The project will bring together researchers from different civil engineering fields and architecture at UL as well as from universities abroad such as e.g. EMPA Zurich, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, in cooperation with industrial and consulting partners such as, e.g., Schroeder & Associés, Progroup, CDCL, Lindab.
Academic partners, with whom the UL team has sound lasting collaborations, will also play an important role as co-supervisors and potential secondment hosts. The project will thus strengthen the national construction sector and contribute significantly to promote the circular economy principles in Luxembourg. Doctoral candidates, especially those inclined to leave academia after their degree, will profit from the senior researchers’ industrial backgrounds and networks and will be encouraged to consider options such as creating start-ups or spin-offs from any patents arising from their work.