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The reading of the call for tenders is enough to be convinced: the circular economy is more and more present there, while waiting for the moment when this presence will no longer even be noticed as it will be systematic. “The Kirchberg Fund, a public institution under the supervision of the Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, advocates a new approach based on the principles of the circular economy with the objective of “creating diversified neighbourhoods where life is good”, according to the document of the Kirchberg Fund, for example.

“The project is based on the recovery of existing buildings, with as few demolitions as possible, in order to recover as much of the structure as possible and to limit pollution through a circular reuse process” is also indicated by the Housing Fund for its 16 housing project in Dudelange (Um Bierenger Haff).

Strong growth in demand….

This also applies to private projects: “The Wilmotte & Associés concept also reflects ArcelorMittal’s desire to have a sustainable building that enhances the role of steel in the circular economy”, says the call for tenders for the new headquarters of the steel group under construction in Kirchberg.

“The industrialist intends to develop a concept of a circular economy that is in line with the ZANO philosophy, which Nordstad officials wish to position as a sustainable industrial zone” is mentioned on that of tobacco manufacturer Heintz van Landewyck for its new production site at Fridhaff, expected in 2022.

Even in the context of the 2022 cultural year in Esch-sur-Alzette, it is specifically requested that all the infrastructures to be built on this occasion should also be “circular”.

“Demand for circular construction in Luxembourg is growing rapidly,” confirms Charles-Albert Florentin, manager of the Luxembourg CleanTech Cluster. A vast consultation was carried out with all public stakeholders in the construction sector (the Public Building Administration, Agora, the Belval Fund, the Housing Fund, the Kirchberg Fund and the SNHBM), but also the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, the urban planning and construction facilitation unit of the Ministry of Digitalisation (the CIPU), l’Institut de formation sectoriel du bâtiment (IFSB), Neobuild and the OAI, the Chamber of Trades or the Federation of Craftsmen.

Coupled with research work by Luxinnovation’s “Market Intelligence” department, this preliminary analysis made it possible to identify around 50 projects meeting this requirement of circularity, representing an area of at least half a million square metres.

At the end of November, all the results of this consultation were presented during a morning of workshops organised at Luxinnovation.

“On the basis of these exchanges, we have begun to identify the priority needs and the main circularity criteria that may appear in public calls for tenders,” says Mr. Florentin.

The discussions deliberately focused on the “circular construction” aspect, around the question of materials, flexibility and deconstructability of buildings and the “Product-as-a-service” approach. A list of needs was established on the basis of the “product” value chain, which then served as a basis for a transition to a more circular approach.

… and an offer to be widely developed

Some guidelines emerged at the end of this workshop: in addition to the need to focus on a specific aspect of the theme, in order not to risk spreading, there was discussion of setting up processes for co-creating, developing and simplifying legislation and encouraging citizen participation.

“There was a real desire to ensure that the existing offer was widely expanded,” notes Florentin.

One of the main points highlighted is the need to associate, from the moment of extraction in their initial environment, a “passport” of the materials. “This is perfectly in line with the BIM (Building Information Modeling) methodology, which is becoming essential in this respect,” notes Mr. Florentin.

The priority needs having been identified, the next step will consist, in the coming months, in company visits to compare the list of these needs with their daily reality and to evaluate the content of their ongoing projects.

As a result, in the second half of 2020, the gap between supply and demand will be quantified in concrete terms and concrete actions will be implemented with the support of public authorities.

“The organisation of this workshop allowed all public actors to exchange directly. It is through this collaborative approach that we will achieve solutions that will avoid too great a distortion between supply and demand, at the risk of generating negative consequences on the market.”

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