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UKGBC study reveals essential role of circularity in delivering net zero buildings

CIRCuIT London partner the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published new insight into the positive impact circular thinking can have in delivering whole life carbon reductions and value creation across construction projects.

The report How Circular Economy Principles can impact carbon and value’ seeks to increase understanding within the built environment industry of how circularity can support reductions in whole life carbon. It also aims to enable project decision-makers and key built environment stakeholders to strengthen the business case for implementing circularity.

The report shows that:

  • Through the smart application of circular economy practices, significant carbon reductions can be made across built environment projects.

  • Projects across London and the UK are successfully re-using building materials such as steel and other building structures to save embodied carbon, whilst also reducing project costs.

  • Greater consistency is urgently needed in the measurement and reporting of whole life carbon and circularity practices, to support the industry’s transition to net zero.

  • The benefits of circularity can extend beyond carbon, with a range of organisational, social, environmental, and financial value uplifts.

The global shortage and fluctuating costs of raw materials are increasingly driving the construction industry to explore opportunities to adopt circular thinking, including the re-use of materials and re-purposing of existing building structures. Published in 2021, UKGBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap confirmed that a net zero carbon built environment is achievable by 2050 - and highlighted the essential role the greater use of circular economy principles will play in reducing carbon.

The findings of this research are primarily intended to be used by project decision-makers and key built environment stakeholders seeking to strengthen the business case for implementing circularity across their projects. This includes developers, owners, and investors in real estate, as well as design, construction, and consultancy teams advising real estate clients on their new and existing developments. Although the focus of the report is on non-domestic and domestic buildings, findings will also likely be relevant to infrastructure projects.

Download the report here.

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