Circular construction to relieve the environment

During the Circular Minifest of the Pioneering Foundation on the 26th of November, Bart Breedijk of Heijmans held a pitch about circular construction in the context of GROW Green. Heijmans is committed to having a built environment with a sustainable design. To relieve the environment, existing buildings must be used and reused for as long as possible. In addition, we must find a new, future-proof way of constructing new buildings. Curious about the solutions Bart proposes? Read on below.

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In short

  • Heijmans is committed to building fully circular by 2023. 
  • Bart Breedijk, service manager at Heijmans, held a pitch about his circular ideas in the context of GROW Green
  • Relieving the environment by reusing and continuing to use, and by building modularly. 
Heijmans’ philosophy

“Heijmans’ philosophy is having a built environment with a sustainable design”, says Bart Breedijk, service manager at Heijmans. “We want to relieve the environment and nature as much as possible.” To comply with this, Heijmans has set a goal for itself: building fully circular by 2023. “That is three years from now, so we must get to work to achieve that.”

Circular economy

Bart has some ideas about how he can help the Netherlands and Twente become more sustainable by focusing on circularity. Heijmans’ ultimate goal as a construction company is relieving the environment, “but first, let’s spare the environment as much as possible”, Bart says. To protect the environment, Bart proposes to use the current impact on the environment, i.e. the existing buildings, for as long as possible. It is important to find a way for these buildings to be useful for as long as possible, even if the buildings are not built in a circular way. The constructing has already been done, so the price has been paid, says Bart.

Adaptive capacity

To achieve this, Heijmans is looking at the adaptive capacity of buildings. Regarding the existing buildings, Bart says: “How can you transform what you have so that it can be used in another way, and so the building does not lose its function”. For new construction, on the other hand, it is important to think ahead. “How can make sure that a building can have a new function maybe 20 years in the future, without knowing what that is beforehand?” Bart thinks that resources such as data from Google can help predict what the future will bring. With the help of this data, you build adaptive buildings.

Modular construction

Another solution is modular construction, according to Bart. Modular construction focuses on producing reusable units. After being used in one way for several years, they can be used again for the same or for another function in a new place. “We want to use as many modular items as possible so that the value in the building can be moved”. This means that if there is ever a demand for houses or buildings with a different function, the modules that make up a building can be reused. “How cool is it for asset managers to sell half their buildings to a place where the housing market is rising, if the housing market collapses somewhere?” It is a win-win situation: good for the environment and interesting for entrepreneurs.

Request for help

One of the things Bart is having trouble with is finding a better way to predict the future. For what functions should a building be built initially, what is the weather’s influence, and how quickly should the materials be replaced. It is also difficult to determine the load-bearing capacity of components in an existing building. In other words, to what extent are these components reusable, and how long can they last. Can you help Bart with this? Or do you have a circular idea that you could use some help with? Send an email to growgreen@twente.com.

Date: 24 February 2020
Source of tekst: Twente.com
Author: Twente.com
Audio / video: Heijmans