The Building Circularity tool allows tracking, quantifying, and optimizing the circularity of materials sourced and used during the building life-cycle, as well as the circularity at the end of life. It allows getting a holistic picture, as well as a detailed breakdown per material type. It also supports applying Design for Disassembly and Design for Adaptability principles. This tool can be used for HQE Economie Circulaire, London Plan Circularity Statement, Ellen McArthur Foundation Circularity Indicators as well as other circular design purposes.
You can view our webinar on Circular Economy and Building Circularity below.
The goal of the Building Circularity tool is to calculate the circularity percentage of your building/asset. It does not have a mandatory scope and can be used to access single materials or whole buildings.
In order to understand how our new Building Circularity, GLA tool works we will explain the important parts of the tool, including the building material query, the circularity score weighting factors, the calculation period, and the results page.
The building material query is the section of the tool in which you will have to enter data about your materials, the circularity score weighting factors lets you adjust your weighting factors, the calculation period is where you can enter the service life of the building and the results page will help you visualize and understand your circularity results.
Building material query explained
You will first have to enter some data. Either directly by adding materials in the building material query of the Building Circularity tool or by adding the tool to an existing design with data. Once you have added several rows of data, it will look like the screenshot below. For the users of other LCA tools, you might notice that there are a few new sections in the Building Circularity tool.
Recycled, Renewable or Reused contents
The first section that is important is the percentage of recycled, renewable or reused materials in the resource. If you know that a certain material actually consists of recycled, renewable or reused materials, you can edit these percentages accordingly.
The recycled, renewable, or reused percentage means the share of either recycled, renewable, or reused materials in the product by mass. This information does not influence the LCA results but is used to document material circularity. Some products have the recycled, renewable, or reused percentage defined with a default value, which can be based either on the product or the type of product.
Waste defines the construction site wastage for the material. Defaults are set based on typical wastage and will vary based on the construction process, building, and design.
Design for Disassembly and Design for Adaptability
With DfD you should check if the material installation considers Design for Disassembly practices, e.g. using dismountable fasteners instead of glue or if it allows otherwise non-destructive removal of the material.
With DfA you should check if the material is adaptable for future adaptions of the use of the building.
End of Life processes
By default, materials will have assigned an end-of-life process. These processes are based on the material type, and you will notice that there will be differences at the end-of-life processes depending on what material options you use.
If you click on the end-of-life process, you will see that you are able to select the different end-of-life processes. Select here what is appropriate for your project.
Circularity score weighting factors
In this section, you can adjust the weighting factors for your materials recovered and materials returned if desired. Default values are already set here, but you are able to change them if you would like by typing them into the corresponding text box and then clicking save in the top right corner.
In this section, you will add a calculation period for your building so the calculations can be reflected based on the service life of the building. Type the service life of your building in the text box and then click save in the top right corner.
How to interpret the results
The Building Circularity graph explained
The percentage of materials recovered (in this case, 8.7%) is formed as follows:
- Virgin material recovered - Score not included
- Renewable material recovered - Full score included
- Recycled material recovered - Full score included
- Reused material recovered - Full score included
The percentage of materials returned (in this case 40.7%) is formed as follows:
- Materials used as materials. Full score included
- Materials recycled - Full score included
- Materials down-cycled - 50% of the score included
- Materials used as energy - 50% of the score included
- Materials disposed of - Score not included
The Building Circularity score, (in this case 25%) which is shown in the middle, is the average from the materials recovered added up to the materials returned.
Building Circularity - Materials recovered
In this section of the results page you will be able to see your recovered materials, and how much of these materials are either virgin materials, or materials that are renewable, recycled, or reused materials. The amounts represented here come from the percentages that are given to each section in the building material query. If you press the 'details' section, you will be able to see e.g. exactly which construction materials contribute to the virgin, renewable, recycled, or reused tons of materials.
Building Circularity - Materials returned
On this section of the results page, you will be able to see your returned materials. In this example you will see that none of the materials could be reused as materials, some materials were recycled or used as energy but by far the largest amount of materials were either down-cycled or disposed of.
Building Circularity - Key Material Groups
In this section, you will be able to see the different material groups used in your projects. We have conveniently grouped similar material types and you will be able to see how each of these material groups contributes to the building circularity score. It will also show you the circularity score of each of the groups of materials. In this example you will see that of the different types of concretes, most were virgin materials, and some came from recovered sources. Concrete usually is down-cycled into aggregate, and as you see in the graph downcycling and use as energy is 100%. Since the downcycling score is only counted as 50% in the materials returned score, you see that the circularity score of concrete in this project is 30%.
Design for Disassembly and Design for Adaptability principles
Any material that you have marked for either Design for Disassembly or the Design for Adaptability principles will be listed if you maximize these categories. This will help you get an overview of the usage of these principles in your project, and possibly identify how these principles can be used more often in future projects.
If you have any questions about the Building Circularity tool, please contact support.