Why sustainable building works is pretty clear today. The way to get there, however, is more difficult. A conversation with Paul Schosseler, Director of Sustainable Construction and Circular Economy at the Ministry of Energy about building standards, material depots and – of course – construction waste.
The vision of a construction industry that functions according to the principles of circular economy looks roughly like this: Houses are built from sustainable, regional materials and its components disassembled again in 100 years to be used elsewhere or recycled.
Initiatives in research, politics and industry to achieve this goal, which is still far out today, are piling up. The motives are obvious: the construction industry not only devours mountains of natural resources and causes considerable amounts of emissions through material production, transport and construction activities, but also produces a great deal of waste. According to the European Environment Agency, most waste in the EU is generated by construction and demolition work. Not counting excavated soil, a mountain of 374 million tonnes was produced in 2016. In Luxembourg, the situation is no different: Excavated earth from large and small construction sites weighed in at around 7.5 million tonnes in 2018. On top of that, there are around 750,000 tonnes of waste per year from demolitions, building conversions or that arise from new construction. In comparison, the 25,000 tonnes of construction waste that citizens deliver to recycling centres every year as a result of renovation and conversion work seem like peanuts.
Paul Schosseler is one of those working intensively on this issue in Luxembourg. He co-wrote the national strategy paper for the circular economy and coordinates its implementation. The reasons just mentioned and the fact that construction activity in the Grand Duchy will not decline in the future explain why this sector in particular is receiving a lot of attention in the circular economy. Approaches already exist today. "But the circular economy is not easy to implement."
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