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Reusability potential in the Building Circularity An assessment tool to assess the reusability potential of individual building products in an early design stage in order to support circular decision-making in the Built Environment



Last Updated: 11-2021


Since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of the world economy has resulted in the emergence of a linear economy that follows the ”take-make-dispose” principle. This principle leads to global warming, depletion of the earth and waste generation. Therefore, it is essential to make a transition to a circular economy where the ”reduce-reuse-recycle” principle is followed. This assumes no waste generation and no use of virgin resources. Reusability is a key aspect to achieve the transition to a circular economy and the circular ambitions of the Dutch Government.

A literature review is conducted to identify the most important factors that influence reusability. Subsequently, expert interviews are carried out to validate the factors and identify additional factors. This resulted in a long list of 23 influencing factors. However, not all factors could be implemented due to complexity. Therefore, a converging process of three consecutive steps is performed. This resulted in a short-list of 9 final influencing factors. These 9 factors have been determined, and for each factor, assessment criteria have been established and a distinction is made between 3 pre-conditional and 6 non-pre-conditional influencing factors. A first conceptual model was developed for the determination of the reusability potential based on these findings.

Subsequently, expert panels are conducted to validate the first conceptual model and to determine the relative importance (weights) of the influencing factors and the assessment criteria. The result of the validation was a minor adjustment in the assessment criteria and the deletion of two non-pre-conditional factors. These results are used to develop the second conceptual model. Based on the second conceptual model, an assessment tool was developed for determining the reusability potential of building products in an early stage of a building process. The tool consists of a list of products, an input of assessment criteria and a weighted average for calculating the potential. Finally, the assessment tool is tested and validated using a case study. A traditional product is compared to a circular product and scenario and sensitivity analyses are performed. This research contributes to measuring circularity as an important challenge for the move towards a circular economy.

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