Taxonomy of design for deconstruction options to enable circular economy in buildings

Giulia Pristerà, Davide Tonini, Marco Lamperti Tornaghi, Dario Caro, Serenella Sala

The construction sector, due to its significant environmental impacts, is a focus area for the promotion of a shift towards the circular economy within the EU. A spotlight has been cast on the necessity to reduce construction and demolition waste and prioritise reuse and high-quality recycling. This work centres on selective demolition and design for deconstruction (DfD) as means of achieving these goals. A literature review is carried out, with the two-fold aim of assessing the state of the art in life cycle assessment studies on this topic and developing a taxonomy of applicable selective demolition and DfD solutions, framing it within the context of policy development in the EU.

Available measures are identified for different building structural typologies (concrete, timber, masonry, steel), at the material and element level, providing a comprehensive overview of current and developing technologies. A taxonomy is proposed to support users in the identification of available measures and to link the effects thereof in terms of circularity. A literature-based quantitative assessment of current and potential reuse material rates is provided, together with the greenhouse gases (GHG) emission savings associated with reuse, in order to describe the present situation and highlight the potential for improvement. Reuse potential is found to vary between 0%–80%, depending on material and source; current European reuse rates are estimated <15%. In terms of C-footprint, reuse appears beneficial in most cases. The additional GHG savings from reuse relative to alternative end-of-life options span from 1.30 (gypsum) to 5464 (expanded polystyrene) kg CO2-eq. per tonne of material managed.

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