Construction’s circular economy is gaining momentum in Southwest Finland

News 2020-12-08 at 0:00
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Southwest Finland is one of the Circwaste regions that promotes circular economy. A study has been completed in the region examining the potential of circular economy construction. Potential refers to opportunities to increase choices in accordance with the circular economy in Southwest Finland.

The potential of circular economy construction was assessed by first looking at the regional structure and population, the existing building stock, and the amounts of construction and quantities construction waste. On the basis of this review, an understanding was formed on the current state of the built environment and also on the future needs of the built environment in the region.

The report gave suggestions on how the circular economy could be taken into account in different areas. Out-of-town vacant premises could be utilised for new uses and regional comfort could be increased by modifying properties and their surrounding areas to make them more attractive on the market. The town or city centres should, where possible, utilise old buildings and upgrade their energy solutions, as well as favour flexibility and recyclable materials. A life cycle perspective should be taken into account in all activities.

Tips and examples of the circular economy of construction

In addition to numerical baseline data and future estimates, the study compiled a comprehensive list of tips for all stages of the construction life cycle. It starts with zoning and spatial planning and ends with the demolition and reuse phase.

In the second phase, the study compiled an interesting list of case examples of construction in accordance with the circular economy from Finland and from around the world. The most important criterion in the selection of examples was that the proposed solution would be applicable in as many locations as possible in southwestern Finland. In addition to usability, efforts were made to assess the climate impact and cost effects of the example solutions.

“The package now prepared serves as a preliminary study and a basis for future development work. The report has also been received with praise from the construction industry, and with regard to municipalities and other customers, we hope that we have succeeded in providing something that operators of many sizes can identify with. With regard to the development of the sector and the cross-cutting nature of the theme, it is important that both growth centres and sparsely populated areas receive input on how to promote the circular economy in construction in their areas. I hope we have succeeded in creating a more comprehensive picture of what the construction industry needs to be all about in the future,” says Project Expert Anni Lahtela from Valonia.

Construction is one of the priorities of the national waste plan. The focus is on the themes within which there are specific challenges in promoting recycling.

Construction is also an important sector in terms of its material intensity and climate change mitigation. Construction produces about 35 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 50 per cent of the world’s raw material consumption.

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