The UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) latest report – How Circular Economy Principles can impact carbon and value – which was published on 11 August 2022 aims to increase understanding within the built environment on how circularity can support reductions in Whole Life Carbon.
The report also seeks to strengthen the business case for implementing circularity for project decision-makers and key built environment stakeholders – including developers, owners, and investors in real estate, and design, construction and consultancy teams advising on new or existing developments.
The research shows that circularity benefits not just carbon, but delivers against a broader set of organisational, social, environmental and financial aims.
The research offers a library of case studies which evidence the positive impact circularity is delivering across new and existing projects within the UK. Consisting of five case studies, JLL’s Manchester office is one profile in the report used as an example of implementing circularity into decision making. JLL is a member of the taskforce that has contributed to the study.
Amanda Skeldon, Climate and Nature Director, JLL, said: “This report shares our learnings and those of others who have applied circular principals to a range of building projects; we hope that this will inspire and inform others in the sector to incorporate them in their own projects.”
A key aspect of the report found that many new and existing building projects have already used circular economy principles, so they are able to set out the carbon reduction results.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive officer, UKGBC, said: “The circular economy represents an enormous opportunity for the built environment industry. Today’s research demonstrates that through the smart application of circular practices, significant carbon savings can be made across the entire lifecycle of a building, as well as delivering cost-benefits and providing opportunities to enhance social value.”
The research also identified a gap in industry knowledge when it comes to measuring and reporting the impact created through applying circularity. This is because measuring is infrequent, inconsistent and difficult, due to the lack of a common set of metrics and methods to measure both the Whole Life Carbon and circularity of projects.
However, there are groups and individuals working to improve clarity and consistency – as there is an urgent need for greater consistency in measuring and reporting on Whole Life Carbon to support the industry’s transition to net zero.
Hirigoyen added: “Whilst UKGBC’s Roadmap confirmed a Net Zero Carbon built environment is achievable by 2050, it also reinforced that meeting this target will require a transformational shift in the way we approach and deliver construction projects, with circularity as a fundamental part of the solution.”
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