Designing circular buildings during lockdown

Project's updates - 18 Jun 2020

The HOUSEFUL consortium met online to take stock of their most recent results and plan the next steps towards the realisation of circular buildings

The outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic has triggered the beginning of very challenging times. Research actions such as HOUSEFUL have also been impacted by the necessary safety measures introduced by governments, with many activities being slowed down or suspended. Nevertheless, HOUSEFUL still managed to make impressive progresses, which were discussed during the online project meeting held on the 21st and 22nd of May.

HOUSEFUL has been progressing towards a detailed description of the Building Circularity Methodology and its implementation in the collaborative Software as a Service platform. In particular, an analysis on reference methodologies and KPIs in circular economy was delivered, with the results being presented at the webinar “Indicators for Circular Economy and some of the methodologies evaluating circularity” on the 23rd of April, chaired by HOUSEFUL partner Housing Europe. The webinar saw the participation of many HOUSEFUL partners and of the project Community of Housing Experts, which will help HOUSEFUL take a holistic approach to overcome the technical, financial, political and social barriers hindering the implementation of circular solutions in the housing sector.

Over the course of the past months, HOUSEFUL also launched its series of co-creation workshops. The goals of the workshops are: 1) to identify the future of the housing sector and in particular of social housing in the framework of circular economy, and 2) to validate and develop ideas for the design of circular housing together with key actors in the sector. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, only the first of the four planned workshops could take place. But engagement knows no technological boundaries and the three cancelled workshops will be held online at the end of June and at the beginning of July.

The first co-creation workshop, focussing on circular economy in the residential sector in Catalonia, took place on the 9th of March at the Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat de la Generalitat de Catalunya. The event was very successful and saw the participation of the main targeted societal groups, such as regional governments and municipalities, public administrations, public agencies responsible for the management of housing and public grounds, regional councils, energy institutes and architects, private companies and housing cooperatives. The key outcomes of the event were the desire to achieve a public circular housing sector fulfilling the requirements of the inhabitants and to reduce or completely suppress greenhouse gas emissions.

Another activity affected by the COVID19 pandemic was the work at the HOUSEFUL demosites. However, in the meantime project partners kept advancing on the Building Information Modeling (BIM) activities and on the material passports of the Sant Quirze and Cambium Demobuildings.

Partners made also progress on the definition of the HOUSEFUL assessment plan. The assessment will be based on environmental, economic and social methodologies, which will be applied to the demobuildings to estimate the impacts of the HOUSEFUL solutions. To this aim, sensors will be integrated in the buildings during the refurbishment stage. Finally, energy demand models are being developed as a reference for the energy measurement and verification plan.

Cover Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay