Topic: Circular economy and reuse in the construction sector

Project Day with in-house presentation

Needless to say, we were a bit disappointed to not be able to meet in person yet again. Last fall we had high hopes to all meet for Project Day on site in Stuttgart after 2 years, but now hosting virtually was the only option. Nevertheless, the program was great. In project presentations, our engineers showed the sides that we rather not like to highlight – things that we were not so successful with. With that input, we went into small-grouped exchange rounds: because, "you learn best from mistakes."

We also discussed new possibilities and planning approaches. The impulse lecture by Kerstin Müller, Dipl. Ing. Architektin I Fachpartnerin ecobau, was particularly exciting. She studied architecture at Stuttgart University as well as at the École d’Architecture de Lyon. In 2020 she was elected co-president of the association Cirkla in Switzerland. She is responsible for the content strategy of the company Zirkular and represents their reuse projects in public. The ReUse planners of Zirkular support, for example, architects in the planning and implementation of durable buildings, whether in new construction or renovation. As 'component hunters', they search for and find reusable components and materials and then detail solutions according to the principle of 'design for disassembly'. This means that the projects implemented today must be reusable by future generations. Zirkular matches the individual components of the building systems accordingly and designs the building projects in such a way that they can also be easily disassembled and reused in the future.

Kerstin Müller inspired us with her presentation, especially with the project examples and the unexpected possibilities of reusing building materials. The visionary recyclers even found a glass builder who reassembles old glazing into high-quality laminated glass. We were very impressed, and our Renovation Working Group is taking the presentation as inspiration to expand our approach.

Photo: Empa – NEST-Unit Sprint, Dübendorf 2021 @zirkular gmbh