Home » Digital tools are key to curbing construction waste, says Sweco

Digital tools are key to curbing construction waste, says Sweco

by Sion Geschwindt
Digital tools are key to curbing construction waste, says Sweco

A new report from Sweden-based engineering consultant, Sweco, lays out the firm’s tools for managing circular assets in the construction industry, which could help reduce the 400 million tonnes of construction waste produced in Europe every year.

According to the report, “Building the future through circular data”, only an estimated 8.6% of the global economy is considered circular.

This lack of circularity is evident across the construction sector, which accounts for more than one-third of all waste produced in Europe aside from mineral waste – only 20-30% of of which is reduced or recycled.

In addition, new calculations indicate that every square metre of building floor demolished comes with direct and indirect costs of up to €750 (£638), according to the Sweco report.

Digital tools

To highlight the value of a circular approach, Sweco outline their offering of digital and data-based tools in the report.

The carbon cost compass helps assess the impact of carbon emissions and design choices at the first stage of life-cycle analysis.

The Reclaim tool is designed for recovery and long-term asset inventory management. This prototype tool aims to predict which buildings will be demolished in the future using machine learning from historical data that includes: year of construction, asset value, address or the history of permits for demolition, refurbishment, owner relations and function.

Reclaim’s algorithm recognises patterns in the data for demolished buildings, identifying buildings that are likely to follow the same pattern. 

A second prototype tool — Matchmaking for demolition — is designed to bridge “the time gap between planning and demolition”, and better match supply and demand across the reuse of design and construction materials.

Sweco wants these tools to help usher in world where buildings are built using ultra-low carbon materials and using “the circular principles of future flexibility, adaptability, and deconstructability”.

The report ultimately envisages a world where buildings would last for almost 200 years, being continually adapted over time.

Image credit: DedMityay/Shutterstock

Read next: IES, SSE deploy digital twins to curb emissions 

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