Submitted by Vladimir Gumilar on 21 July 2016

ECCA is a COSME funded project, which its main objective is to establish a European Circular Construction Alliance; an EU wide meta-cluster as a long term European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP). One of the general goals is to analyze what are the thematic areas and the sectors involved in circular economy in construction. Hence, the report “Map of initial strategic partners across Europe in circular construction” identifies and describes the strategic partners addressing defined thematic areas of circular construction and enable them to define thematic fields or technologies where they have high interest for collaboration and internationalization.

The methodology for selection of thematic areas is preliminary based on three pillars. First, the circular economy principles, which can be translated into six business processes: regenerate, share, optimize, loop, virtualize and exchange. Second, the preliminary review of circular construction developed in ECCA deliverable D.2.1, where circular economy principles can be implemented. Thirdly, the strategic partners’ contributions. The primary thematic areas are the following.

  • Raw materials extraction, production and supply of products, components, remanufacturing. Since construction is strongly dependent on natural resources and transportation, and it has deep negative effects in terms of high-energy value, global warming.
  • Building design and urban planning. Eco, sustainable design is a key principle thanks to its high impact on overall resource efficiency and other building performances.  During the use phase, the main issue is energy efficiency and the impacts on living conditions.
  • Smart building and Smart cities. Building sustainability to large extent depends on district settings and on the potential services of ICT.
  • Construction. Due to its intrinsic complexity, high efficiency, smart on and off site processes and the use of ICT are needed, such as 3D printing and CO2 transport reduction.
  • Use, operation, maintenance, retrofitting.  The use phase is the longest because of the primary energy use. Hence, maintenance and retrofitting service are key issues. Sharing and loop principal apply very well on this area.
  • Demolition and CDW management. Between 25% and 30% of the waste generated in the EU has high potential for recycling and re-use. However, the sector is encouraged to implement a lifecycle approach, and it only could be attained by using pre-fabricated components in order to replacing demolition with dismantling and selective deconstruction or re-use on site.
  • Horizontal areas. Traditional or emerging industries and technologies, new business models and supporting activities offer opportunities for systemic cross-cluster and cross-sectoral collaboration leading to new value chains. IOT (Internet of Things) and BIM (Building Information modeling) are promising technologies.

These thematic areas were validated by Clusters and other interested organizations (Clusters/bussiness networks, large entreprises, SMEs, research organiztions and other knowledge providers and experts) by means of an online survey where they could enlarge this list and eventually provide their statement of interest for ECCA project.

Thanks to an ad hoc database, more than 300 clusters and 400 other organizations where contacted via e-mail, supported by a covering letter and a link to this study differenciating among clusters as supporting organizations.

Despite it is a early stage of the project, the preliminary results are already posstive since it has been covered almost all thematic areas, but there is still room for enlarge the alliance with much more members.

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