Bringing the circular economy to life in the built environment

Currently accounting for around 40% of global CO2 emissions and almost 50% of the consumption of raw materials, the built environment sector is a major consumer of natural resources.

To date, the building industry has been largely focusing on energy efficiency, but the energy transition is only part of the challenge it faces.

Since almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions come from embodied carbon emitted through the production and operational processes, we need a circular economy that is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. This means that the industry must move away from the current ‘take, make, dispose’ linear consumption model to transition towards net zero.

Developed jointly by Arup and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Circular Buildings Toolkit brings together strategies, case studies and tools to help real estate professionals implement the principles of the circular economy when designing or managing their assets.

From the start of the design process, the toolkit guides designers and construction clients to reduce carbon, eliminate waste, retain materials at their highest value and regenerate natural systems.

Aligned with industry standard planning methods such as the RIBA Plan of Work, it can also help owners, investors and developers ready their portfolios for the influx of sustainability regulation, limiting the risk of potential write-downs.

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