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100 percent re-use and recycling for buildings with short usage cycles

The BuildReUse project will develop concepts of the circular economy with regard to buildings with short usage cycles in order to promote the necessary change in the construction industry.

ResearchCircular economy

100 percent re-use and recycling for buildings with short usage cycles

Globally limited primary resources make re-use in the construction industry necessary and sensible. Re-use of building components protects ecosystems by reducing the use of primary resources, increases the resilience of the economy by reducing dependency on raw materials, and enables sustainable business while saving landfill volumes. 

Currently, re-use of building components such as beams, windows or suspended ceilings - although technically possible - still takes place very rarely. In some building types, such as supermarkets or office buildings, the effective service life of the entire building or of specific building components is relatively short, ranging from 3 to 15 years, because frequent adaptations to the respective use and high functionality are required. Here, re-use has a particularly strong impact on the resource balance due to the short utilization cycles. 

Goal of the "BuildReUse" project 

The overall objective of the "BuildReUse" project is to develop basic principles for the construction and deconstruction of three types of buildings with utilization cycles of about 10-15 years, specifically for supermarkets, office buildings and interim sanitary buildings. These buildings should include re-use components in the construction phase, and be fully demountable and recyclable with little energy input. 

To this end, potentials and barriers for the application of re-use components and recyclable products and construction methods in buildings with short usage cycles are being investigated and solution concepts are being developed. 

Tools for the construction industry and testing in use cases

In addition to solution concepts for specific challenges such as the re-use of individual building components, building development processes, cooperation models and business models will be designed for the construction industry that explicitly consider and actively support re-use.

Likewise, an evaluation system will be developed that allows for the consideration of re-use in building accounting tools. Together with requirements for re-use products and components, this evaluation system forms the basis for broad implementation. 

To ensure that re-use is not only theoretically possible but can also be implemented in practice, optimized processes and technical options for the three use cases are discussed with the stakeholders concerned: The approaches developed will be reviewed in terms of user-friendliness, effectiveness and functionality, and practical solutions will be identified.

Project team

Lead AEE intec (Projektleitung)
FH Salzburg GmbH
IBO – Österreichisches Institut für Baubiologie und -ökologie
Österreichisches Ökologie Institut
Spar GmbH
Steiermärkische Krankenanstaltengesellschaft m. b. H.
ATP sustain GmbH

Research period

February 2022 – July 2024

Funding Institutions

The RTI initiative Circular Economy is a research, technology and innovation initiative of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK). It is organised by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) on behalf of the BMK.

© Bilder von Baukarussell erstellt von AEEintec
© Barbara Bauer