Reuse potential of building materials derived from existing dwellings

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Sustainable building
    • Architectural sciences and technology
    • Built heritage and renovation
    • Sustainable buildings and cities
    • Materials recycling and valorisation
Construction materials LCA, LCC Urban mining
Project description

In recent years, environmental efforts in the building sector were mainly concentrated on reducing the operational energy while a well-considered use of materials is at least as important to further reduce our ecological footprint. The concept ‘Urban mining’ considers buildings as material banks, which can dismantled into valuable components and deliver materials to reuse in other building projects. This PhD aims to gain more insight in the reuse potential of building materials derived from single family and small multi-family dwellings, with a focus on social housing. In the first place, the typical construction assemblies and building materials in 10 selected case studies of different construction periods will be mapped. For these materials, technical criteria that impact the reuse potential (e.g. ease of disassembly, exposure, etc.) will be researched. Both the financial costs and the environmental impact of reuse (i.e. reclamation processes, storage, etc.) will be investigated for at least 10 building materials using LCC and LCA. Based on the technical criteria, LCC and LCA, a comprehensive framework will be developed allowing architects, contractors etc. to gain insight in the reuse potential of existing building materials. Material manufacturers and demolition companies will gain more knowledge on building materials that will come available for reuse in the coming years. This PhD will also allow to further shape the policy on sustainable use of building materials.