The building sector has a significant impact on the European economy and the environment. It represents about 9% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides 18 million direct jobs. Moreover, it creates new jobs, drives economic growth, and provides solutions for social, climate, and energy challenges.
However, at the same time, this sector is one of the main consumers of resources: it accounts for about 50% of all extracted materials, while also being responsible for over 35% of the EU’s total waste generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from material extraction, manufacturing of construction products, and the construction and renovation of buildings account for approximately 5-12% of total national GHG emissions.
Moreover, according to Global ABC, buildings represent 41% of the total final energy use. Out of those buildings, households account for about 25% of the total European energy consumption, and a large share of it (79%) is dedicated to heating and hot water.
The data presented clearly shows the need to introduce circular economic principles. On these can be built a new strategic vision to drive the construction sector towards the 2030 carbon neutrality goals.
Over the last five years, the Houseful project, through the different areas of expertise of its Consortium partners, has contributed to the application of circular principles in the housing sector by developing 11 circular solutions in the 4 Demonstration Buildings: Saint Quirze and Sabadell (Spain), as well as Cambium and Fehring (Austria).
Drawing on this experience, this handbook offers both best practices for applying circular principles and a set of policy recommendations for local, national, and EU levels.
We hope these best practices will inspire you to adopt some of the solutions developed in Houseful.