Circularity in the Built Environment

The construction industry is conservative. Most of them are not eager to change and to innovate (in general). However we cannot keep using virgin materials to build new buildings. We have to go from the linear take-make-dispose to the circular model. For instance if we look at a building and we focus on one cubic meter of concrete, we may ask ourselves: How much does this cubic meter of concrete worth in terms of raw materials? One cubic meter of concrete worth about 90 euro. However when the building reaches its end of life and it is demolished, we are going to have 1 cubic meter of concrete mixed with glass, bricks, plastics, gypsum, etc. which worth 12-15 euro and mainly used as road base aggregates. This process is not circular because it is not possible to continuously extract new materials from the Earth into buildings and reuse them in roads constructions because there are not so many roads to be made. Moreover it is important to notice that something high of value goes in and something of low value goes out. This process cannot continues forever. It is very important to solve the shortage of materials problem and the one related to value simultaneously. Else it won’t work. In the group of R&R we do make technology that allow the one cubic meter go back into the building and its value is 90 euro. We have developed such innovative technologies within some European funded projects such as C2CA, HISER and VEEP. However technology alone is not enough. Quality control, business models, organization models, and logistics do play a crucial and essential role. One of my main interest is to develop methodology which allows to check whether or not we are on the right track to reach circularity and sustainability. The most important and interesting aspect is that it is an interactive activity which requires the combination of engineering and economics expertise as well as the possibility to make impact by actually measuring to what extent we are circular. Else it would be only descriptive


  • Advanced Technologies for the Production of Cement and Clean Aggregates from Construction and Demolition Waste (W2Plastics).
  • Holistic Innovative Solutions for an Efficient Recycling and Recovery of Valuable Raw Materials from Complex Construction and Demolition Waste (HISER).
  • Cost-Effective Recycling Of C&DW In High Added Value Energy Efficient Prefabricated Concrete Components For Massive Retrofitting Of Our Built Environment (VEEP).