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Circular Economy and Property

16/09/2020

Studio Victoria

3 minutes

Following on from our previous blog posts that discussed [What is Circular Economy](/blog/what-is circular-economy/ "What is Circular Economy"),Technology and Circular Economy, and Circular Economy and Renewable Energy, in this new blog we are going to be covering Circular Economy and Property Development. We are going to answer the following question: how can Circular Economy benefit the Property Development Industry? Keep reading to find out how Circular Economy and Property Development can offer to help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!

HOW CAN CIRCULAR ECONOMY BENEFIT THE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRY?

The UK government is required to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gasses by 100% by 2050. Implementing a Circular Economy into industries including Property Development can help achieve the goal of reducing harmful emissions. Below we discuss the benefits of a Circular Economy for the Property Development Industry as we aim for Net Zero by 2050:

  • Sharing buildings and business models: 49% of homes in the UK are not occupied and have at least two bedrooms spare according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. The Circular Economy promotes service-based business models like sharing to help improve the use of under-occupied buildings and spaces. In London shared housing, office sharing, repurposed buildings and multi-purposed buildings can increase the use of the city’s buildings by 20% by 2036 and increase the value of new buildings
  • Extending building lifetime: a lifespan of a building is of around 50–100 years however after around 20–30 years it is no longer economically valuable which results in the building being demolished. Circular Economy aims to extend a building’s lifespan and for it to remain economically valuable by modular and durable designs. A modular design reuses around 80% of the components in a building’s exterior helping the building to last up to 100 years or more. The designs would allow for buildings being able to adapt to changing needs, and easy renovations and building maintenance
  • Renewable energy: along with buildings having an extended lifespan, large amounts of energy sources such as heat, electricity and heating will be consumed. There are an increasing number of ways of producing renewable energy such as heat batteries, solar panels, microgrids, photovoltaic panels, small scale wind turbines, biomass digesters, and small hydro power generators. This gives real estate investors options of producing their own green electricity or investing in renewable electricity production
  • Reducing CO2 emissions: introducing a Circular Economy can contribute to lower CO2 emissions from building materials because the need for aluminium, steel, plastics, and cement would be reduced. Integrating a modular design where buildings and multi-purpose buildings can be constructed with reused and non-toxic materials will significantly reduce emissions. The buildings would also be highly utilised by the combined shared spaces like office spaces and homes
  • Reducing material needs: with construction projects regularly using more material than is needed, designing buildings with improved design, less over-specification, and using higher-strength materials can help reduce the amount of materials used and result into a decrease in waste generation
  • Reusing building materials: with only around 20-30% of construction and demolition waste being recycled or reused, designing materials for reuse can ensure that they can be restored again at their highest value and therefore constructing buildings with reusable materials can reduce the need for primary materials
  • Opportunities for urban planning: having a Circular Economy approach to urban developments can improve the design of the city and its infrastructure allowing the collection, reuse, and recycling of things like water, building elements and industrial by-products for a few examples. Designing mixed-use and dense developments will help to decrease urban sprawl and reduce emissions
  • Reduce pollution levels: applying Circular Economy measures to urban planning can help reduce pollution levels and improve city living, and save money through the making efficient use of already existing buildings and preventing new construction helping the decrease of carbon emissions
  • Reducing waste in construction: construction processes such as 3D printing, offsite construction, and manufactured building elements can help reduce waste generation. An example, modular construction can be done offsite allowing manufacturers to attain high quality standards, high productivity, less costs, lower emissions while reducing the amount of waste generated compared to on-site construction

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