Trendsetting circular buildings

By Teodor GeorgievLex Kleren

While building sustainably has been a priority for Luxembourg, the construction sector is looking at a new set of blueprints for a circular economic model. Effective regulations and inventory on material quantities composing a building are key to its success.

In Luxembourg housing is not an issue that only pops up periodically when elections are on the horizon. Its ever-present nature is largely explained by the exceptional population growth in recent decades with a 25.7% boost between 2011 and 2021. Although this makes it hard to have enough new real estate it also complicates building quality, long-lasting and sustainable buildings. But doing so is a necessity to meet Luxembourg’s goals for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the framework of the EU’s Green Deal and the Paris Agreement.

Circularity can do what sustainability can’t

A building can last anywhere between 20 and 120 years, making its impact on a country’s sustainability strategy very big, especially if its longevity is shorter. But achieving better quality is not just the construction itself. For Romain Poulles, CEO of consulting and engineering company Progroup and president of the CSDD (National Council for Sustainable Development), there is a need to view the problem through the lens of the circular economic model which focuses on positive outputs while the sustainability model looks to limit negative ones. "I am a little bit disappointed by the sustainability philosophy because it's not ambitious enough, " he says. He cites as an example the trend among companies to replace plastic cups with paper ones or with glasses. Although this action has an effect, there’s only so much one can do by reducing the negative inputs generated by people. This is not to say that paper cups are bad, but this approach has a lower ceiling compared to the circular economic model.

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