HCRN Seminar: Creating a Circular Economy in Housing

Room 710 Muirhead Tower
Research, Social Sciences
Monday 22nd May 2017 (16:15-17:45)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Please get in touch with Helen Harris – h.m.a.harris@bham.ac.uk – if you would like to attend.

Exploring opportunities for housing associations and their supply chains

Speaker: Prof Vincent Gruis, Professor of Housing Management, Delft University of Technology

Creating a circular economy (CE) within the built environment is one of today’s big societal challenges. Creating housing that is not only energy efficient, but resource efficient is the next step in creating a sustainable housing provision. One of the ways to create a circular economy is to recycle building materials in new housing development and refurbishment. Another way is to make optimal use of the existing stock through maintenance and repurposing housing to new target groups.

One of the key assumptions in the concept of CE is that reuse of products and materials will increase if the ownership of products remain as much as possible in the hands of the supply chain. This stimulates the suppliers to increase performance of products in use and to maximise the end value of the product after their cycle(s) of (re)use. Thus, economic and environmental interests coincide. Buildings consist of many components such as installations, kitchens, bathrooms, window-stills etc. If these were to be leased through the supply chain, this would create several opportunities for bottom-up implementation of circularity in the built environment, for new as well as existing buildings:

  • the supply chain will be triggered to think about what to do when the installation, kitchen or maybe even entire façade will be returned to them after the current cycle of use;
  • if the end value rises, the lease costs of the components can become cheaper;
  • owners get opportunities to invest off-balance in a part of their buildings;
  • the supply chain can offer full service, Total Cost of Ownership based contracts to building owners, who then benefit from reduced management costs and risks.

This seminar will explore opportunities for housing associations and their suppliers to create a circular economy in the built environment, building on a current research in the Netherlands and explore potential to extend the project in England.