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2 January 2022 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Other, Real Estate, Technology

France: boosting the circularity of construction materials

The issue of reusing materials in the construction industry is a hot topic. Currently, only 1% of the 42 million tonnes of waste produced in France each year is reused. All the more reason to highlight the first Circular Buildings Trophies, organised by a coalition of project owners who have set themselves the objective of targetting the carbon economy through reuse.

It can be new or old buildings, housing or office space… All have in common that they have been designed with the reuse of part of the materials in mind, in technical fields as varied as flooring, partitioning, plumbing, facades or electricity. 

© Tarik YAICI

Some of the winning projects have also highlighted the possibility of changing the destination of materials: joinery becomes facade elements, washing machine windows become transparent partitions. This is the mission of the Envie le Labo project in Paris, a resource place where people can come and have their appliances repaired but also discover how the circular economy can improve their daily lives. By promoting reuse in the design of this building, 20 tonnes of new elements have been avoided. 

Eco-responsible and solidarity projects

© Normandie Aménagement

At the Grande halle de Colombelles in Caen, an old factory has been transformed into a cultural centre, workshops and café-restaurants. For this achievement, the contractor went to collect radiators, earthenware, wood, windows etc. in all the deconstruction sites of the region. They even made the decision to forego suppliers for all these materials: recovery was mandatory! 

Also in Caen, another social housing project in the city centre was made possible thanks to the reuse of crushed concrete, paving stones, gates, interior doors, old sinks… This has also made it possible to lower the price of construction and make housing accessible to low-income households, promoting social diversity and limiting urban sprawl. 

© Michel Ogier

As we can see, the reuse of construction materials allows the triggering of an astonishing virtuous circle. 

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