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Circular Twin
A Digital Ecosystem for the Generation and Evaluation of Circular Digital Twins

By 2030, more than the equivalent of two Earths will be needed to meet the demand for natural resources, therefore a transition to circular systems is essential, especially in the construction industry. The digital "Circular Twin" ecosystem enables the early implementation of circular economy goals as well as end-to-end digitalization in construction utilizing Digital Twins, Generative Design Algorithms and Virtual Reality.

ResearchLifecycle assessments and lifecycle costsCircular economy

Starting point / motivation

By 2030, more than the equivalent of two Earths will be needed to meet human demand for natural resources, with the construction industry responsible for 60 % of the world's raw material extraction and 25 % of the world's total waste generation. As waste management and waste reduction are not considered in the early design stages, the phase with the greatest impact throughout the life cycle, 50 % construction and demolition waste is generated at the end of the building life cycle.

In order to reduce raw material extraction and the amount of waste generated, it is of utmost importance to increase recycling rates by reusing materials and building elements, thus enabling a circular economy. A transition to a circular system is essential, especially in the construction industry, as it is responsible for about 38 % of all CO2 emissions and has a major impact on resource depletion.

The European Green Deal developed the classification system of the "EU Taxonomy" based on six environmental objectives, according to which sustainability of investments is evaluated, and EU Taxonomy compliance is assessed.

Contents and goals

By creating a digital ecosystem based on the components of circular digital twins, generative design algorithms and virtual reality (VR), this research project aims to support the decisions that enable the circularity of building structures and integrate end-of-life concepts into the design at early design stages.

Building on the research project "Housing 4.0 - Digital Platform for Affordable Housing", the project "CircularTwin" aims to use the knowledge base generated in "Wohnen 4.0", the Building Information Modeling (BIM) object libraries and associated material building passports and enrich them with the criteria of the circular economy.


The framework for BIM-supported material building passports was already elaborated in the predecessor research project "BIMMaterial". With regard to building information modeling and life cycle changes (adaptability and flexibility), "CircularTwin" envisages the application of BIM-based digital twins, which are generated and evaluated by means of Generative Design in the context of a large number of variants in the early design phase and the re-use phase.

In addition to the Generative Design methods, which enable an automated and variant generation of Digital Twins coupled to a BIM object database, algorithms are also designed that enable an evaluation of the circularity, Material Building Passports (MGP) and EU taxonomy compliance.

Expected results

By visualizing the end-of-life (EoL) scenarios of the generated digital twins in a VR platform, including user interaction and variant generation, the decision-making process of the stakeholders involved in design and construction will be supported. The digital "Circular Twin" ecosystem thus enables the early implementation of the goals of the circular economy and sustainability as well as end-to-end digitization in the construction industry.

Project team

University of Technology Vienna - Institute for Structural and Industrial Engineering, Research Area Integral Planning and Industrial Construction (Lead)

ATP sustain GmbH

Eisler ZT-GmbH


TU Wien, Institut für Visual Computing & Human-Centered Technology, Interactive Media Systems Group (IMS)

Research period

December 2022 – May 2025

Funding Institutions

"Stadt der Zukunft" is a research and technology programme of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. It is carried out on behalf of the BMK by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) together with the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH (AWS) and the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT).

Stadt der Zukunft
© TU Wien, Forschungsbereich Integrale Planung und Industriebau
© Projekt Circular Twin