Frank Peeters is a commercial engineer by training and has been affiliated with the HZ University of Applied Sciences since 2003. He teaches Information Literacy to international business students and supervises minor students in various research assignments. He also participates as a researcher in the Interreg project on Circular Bio-based Construction Industries. Frank has a great affinity with digital technologies, a sharp eye for detail and a drive to get things done.
The construction industry is a large consumer of resources with 30-50% of total materials used in Europe going to construction. Between 2003 and 2011 approximately 1200-1800 Megaton of construction materials were used yearly in the EU, emitting annually 33% of total CO2 emissions. However, the components and materials used are often not adaptable during their use- and lifecycle, because most building projects are still designed in a linear way, making reuse hard and hence resource efficiency low. Despite the EU’s wish to move from linear to circular systems, applicable circular approaches are scarce. Especially those coupling the technical and biological cycle with an integral approach of sectoral aspects: technique, economy & finance and framework & regulation. Enabling change towards integral circular bio-based approach in the building sector requires new roles of stakeholders in the building sector (manufacturers, constructors, policy makers, investors, contractors & end users).
The overall objective of CBCI is to set up the bases for the circular bio-based construction sector to become an integral part of the construction market in the 2 Seas area. In this project we will enable the building sector not only to adopt an integral (process) approach for circular construction but also to use bio-based materials in a circular context for buildings (coupling technical and biological cycle) for use and life-cycle (design, production, use, maintenance and reuse). CBCI also seeks to induce change in the funding & financing of circular projects, foster circular-friendly procurement, adapt the regulatory framework, and prepare the (future) professionals to work circularly.
This integral approach will develop and strengthen a new branch of the construction sector and will reduce the use of nonsustainable resources (materials, energy), reduce the amount of waste and CO2 emissions and increase the use and reuse of resources in the construction sector.
Thanks to the integral approach of CBCI, diverse outputs will be produced to have an broad effect on the sector. Three white papers will be published to influence the stakeholders in charge of funding & financing, of the regulatory framework (policy makers) and of procurement, with the objective to facilitate the shift towards more circularity for professionals by an enabling environment. Professionals will also benefit from a practical guide and a feasibility study, as tools to accompany them in circular construction projects, at each stage of the process. The project will harvest experience and knowledge through living-labs, that will remain as proof of concept of circular bio-based construction (CBC), and serve as cross-border educational models. In addition to these physical embodiments, CBCI will develop learning materials for professionals and students that will provide the necessary knowledge for (future) professionals to replace the linear construction approach for a circular one.
Firstly, a cross-border approach is needed as circular biobased construction is only just beginning. None of the regions already has full knowledge, experience and facilities on this matter. In order to accelerate the uptake of CBC, sharing is required. Knowledge of technical aspects of biobased materials and process management is particularly available in the University of Bath in the UK, while pilots in the UK, NL and BE need this. Likewise, knowledge on bio-based building materials, process management and business models is available in BE and NL, while all areas can learn from that. Also, the whole region can benefit from the strong network of SMEs in FR experienced in waste elimination, via observer Cd2e. Also, cross-border cooperation is needed to reach a critical mass of renewable, bio-based, materials available to take on the development of bio-based elements. Finally, comparison of cross-border cases broadens the learning. General patterns may be identified, which would otherwise remain unnoticed.