Kicking off circular houses under the Iberian Sun

Press releases - 26 May 2018

Partners of the EU-funded HOUSEFUL initiative have met in Spain to launch the project’s activities. The goal is to contribute to the uptake of the circular housing sector

The members of the HOUSEFUL consortium have gathered in Terrassa (Spain) on the 24th and 25th of May 2018 for its official kick-off meeting. HOUSEFUL is a four-and-half year-long project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union. Its main goal is to boost circularity in the housing sector. This will be done by implementing 11 innovative solutions as services co-created by stakeholders in housing sector, aimed at the efficient management of materials, waste, water and energy along the entire housing value chain. These services will be demonstrated into 4 demo-sites in Vienna (Austria) and Barcelona (Spain). The first official meeting of HOUSEFUL partners has included a technical workshop for the first definition of technological solutions to be driven as services.

Circular buildings are rapidly becoming a fundamental component of modern and future urban contexts. Their importance is motivated by the high resource consumption and environmental impact experienced in the housing sector. Due to its current linear approach, at EU level this sector is responsible for 9% of the GDP while using half of the extracted materials, consuming 40% and 30% of final energy and water respectively, and producing one third of total EU waste.

“HOUSEFUL is a big opportunity for all stakeholders related to the housing sector to make a real step towards the circularity of the whole sector.” Says Dr. Sergio Martínez Lozano, Principal Researcher at Environmental & BIO Technologies Division and at Waste Valorisation & Recycling Technologies Unit of LEITAT Technological Center in Terrassa, and coordinator of HOUSEFUL. “The methodology to be followed during the coming years will be a reference for replication activities. The success of the HOUSEFUL project will have a direct impact on the European society as well as on the efficient use of resources in the daily life of the European citizens”.

Apart from ensuring the circularity of the 4 demo sites, the success of HOUSEFUL also depends highly on its uptake on society. This calls for an effective pro-active stakeholder engagement, a strong replication model and a smooth transition process for actions to take place at a commercial level.

Firstly, a broad range of stakeholders will be reached by this project. They include construction companies, architects, engineers, technological and product suppliers, housing agencies, policy makers, academia and citizens. To effectively reach out to these key players, during the meeting HOUSEFUL partners were asked to divide into groups – one for each demo site – and to think collectively and identify which type of stakeholders they eye on engaging with over the course of the project. Results from this activity will be used as a reference point for the stakeholders’ analysis foreseen by the project.

Secondly, 10 European follower buildings will be identified and sought out to enable a solid replication of the project’s solutions. Replication will proceed as HOUSEFUL will develop a dedicated SaaS (Software as a Service) tool that will eventually help quantify the circularity level of the residential buildings, and provide them with model-changing circular solutions and services.

Lastly, the HOUSEFUL consortium will be carrying out a series of studies to facilitate the commercialisation of the projects’ outcomes. Market analyses, business modelling, identification of barriersand policy recommendations will be done in duration of the project.