CIRCULAR BUILDINGS FOR CIRCULAR CITIES ⁣

Buildings might last for over a century; this means that urban choices today can impact cities for many years to come. By 2025 one billion houses will be needed worldwide – 75% will be residential, and 25% will be commercial. 

To meet this demand via our current linear construction and housing practices, we will need an investment of around USD 9–11 trillion overall and loads of resources, which means we will keep harming the planet and putting ourselves at risk. 

Construction materials and the building sector are responsible for more than one-third of global resource consumption. The saddest part is that only 20–30% of construction and demolition waste (CDW) is reused or recycled. And up to 40% of urban solid waste comes from construction and demolition surplus. Also, around 30% of global energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions are attributed to the use of buildings. 

Hazardous chemicals extensively used on construction sites – noxious vapours from oils, glues, thinners, paints, treated woods, plastics, cleaners, also contribute to air pollution and impact our health. In many cities, we can already experience the heat-island effect, which is heavily affected by buildings surfaces trapping solar radiations and increasing temperature in urban areas.

A CIRCULAR APPROACH TO ARCHITECTURE 

If we want to build thriving cities, we need to invest in affordable, sustainable and healthy building materials and practices. Safe materials can help us create healthier living and working environments. At the same time, we should consider materials that are locally available to support local economies that sources, uses, and reuse materials within their communities. 

If we want to build thriving cities, we need to invest in affordable, sustainable and healthy building materials and practices. Safe materials can help us create healthier living and working environments. At the same time, we should consider materials that are locally available to support local economies that sources, uses, and reuse materials within their communities. 

And whenever we do so, we get closer to a circular approach to architecture, which means keeping both buildings and their materials in use as long as possible and minimizing the construction and demolition waste and pollution.

HONEXT: SUSTAINABLE & HEALTHY

Honext boards are a sustainable and healthy alternative to traditional partitioning and cladding, which are made of cellulosic waste and present excellent properties:

  • Free from toxic additives (e.g., formaldehyde and VOCs)- Fire retardant
  • Sound and thermal insulation
  • Waterproof and moisture resistant
  • Greater resistance to bending
  • Lighter than traditional partitioning materials
  • Easy installation 
  • Recycled

After many years of use, Honext boards can be reintroduced to the industrial cycle and use again to generate new boards for a wide range of construction and design applications.

The first Honext fabric is located in Spain, surrounded by a protected forest area, and designed to have zero environmental impact: gas and electricity are generated through waste digestion, and process water is a closed-loop, being permanently recycled. The fabric goal is to partner with paper mills worldwide to produce boards where the sludge is generated, so there is no need transport materials across long distances. 

Honext can already be seen in important buildings such as the community centre in west London and even in museums temporary exhibitions such as Barcelona Botanical Garden, which highlights the essential role of insect pollinators. We hope other organisations and professionals embrace circular materials and practices to transform the construction and housing industries before it is too late. 

*sources: Urban Buildings System Summary by Ellen MacArthur Foundation
** Photo credits: Images 1, 2 and 3 Rory Gardiner / Images 4,5,6 and 7: Courtesy from Honext 

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