Definition of re-use in the project

“the process when structural element is used again for the same structural purpose or another purpose in the built environment”

Design for re-use

The research will provide knowledge to support the decision making of real estate owners and in national and municipal building and waste policy*. It will also create instructions for architects and structural engineers for more sustainable building design. Concerning the material efficiency, the project aims towards waste prevention and reuse of materials in structural components. It provides solutions associated with the life cycle of the built environment and decreases embedded energy in building products which also supports the energy efficiency of buildings.

Deconstruction of existing buildings

Suburban block of flats areas from 1960 to 1980, built in the era of concrete prefabrication technology, can have a great potential for re-use - or alternatively for becoming an immense amount of waste. These areas form a significant part of housing stock in Finland as well as Northern and Eastern European countries, but the number of their inhabitants is declining. There are almost 600 different concrete elements that can be recovered when a prefabricated concrete building is dismantled.

Building with re-used elements

The lack of applications for the removed elements was seen as a disincentive for non-destructive demolition. This underlines the importance of experimental design with the removed elements as well as real-life demonstration projects. Several successful case studies in Germany and other countries are encouraging. They show clearly that the gap in re-used elements market can be closed in the future.

* The project area is in accordance with new European standards for Environmental Product Declaration, EU waste directives and Finnish regulations (Waste Act and Waste Decree). The topic is one of the key focus areas in European Commission’s framework programmes concerning resource efficiency, and the continuation of work in the international level is foreseen. Reusing of building components promotes the environmental efficiency of buildings by increasing the environmental assessment criteria (LEED, BREEAM).