1.4 million euros for research on circular renovation

November 22, 2022

TU/e leads the research on sustainable renovations in construction

Photo: iStockphoto.com

A consortium led by principal investigator Lisanne Havinga, assistant professor at the research group Building Performance, and co-principal investigator Torsten Schröder, assistant professor at the research group Architectural Design en Engineering  will research how to renovate buildings in a circular and emission-free way. The building program of the Dutch National Science Agenda (NWA) allocates 1.4 million euros for this purpose, with a duration of five years.

"We are very happy, of course. Me and my colleague Torsten Schröder had a lot of confidence beforehand, and we were very satisfied with the proposal, but of course you never know until the redeeming email. I haven't worked with the other knowledge institutions involved before, but we were on the same page," Havinga clarifies, referring to partners the University of Utrecht, University of Twente and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

Renovation in construction

In order to make the transition to circular practices with lower emissions in the field of building renovation, Havinga and her team will look at the entire chain, from the design phase of a building to its demolition, and back again to the design phase. "Getting the chain to work better together, with an eye for different perspectives, that's our goal. Now cost and energy savings often come first, but we also need to look at other values, such as the environmental impact of materials and the impact on occupants."

Havinga: "We want to create the right conditions when it comes to new measurement methods, renovation concepts, business models, forms of cooperation and legal frameworks. They are in fact different pieces of the puzzle that we need to connect better." Digitalization will play a key role. Havinga: "Think about mapping and linking material flows and optimizing sustainable renovation concepts using simulation models."

Lisanne Havinga

CO2 Neutral

This research is very relevant. The Netherlands wants the built environment to be CO2 neutral and circular by 2050. Havinga: "In fact, if we want to stick to the carbon budget of 1.5 degrees from the IPCC climate report, housing construction should actually be completely CO2 neutral in ten years already."

Fortunately, there is now a lot of focus on energy reduction due to the energy crisis. But that also brings challenges, because if tomorrow everyone wants to make their homes more sustainable, there simply won't be enough skilled workers. Havinga: "By including the entire chain, you might find different solutions in terms of worker capacity. That is what we are going to work on."

Torsten Schröder

NWA program

This NWA program is a collaboration between the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, research financier NWO and governing body SIA, and focuses on research on how buildings can be made circular and emission-free. This way, NWA aims to create breakthroughs that accelerate sustainable changes in the building sector.

In addition to the consortium led by Havinga, a second consortium - with TU Delft as the driving force - has also been awarded the same amount of money. This group will investigate what preconditions are necessary for better cooperation, so that, for example, system blockades disappear.

The consortium led by Havinga consists of:
Knowledge Institutions: Eindhoven University of Technology; Utrecht University; University of Twente; Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.
Consortium partners: Eigen Haard; Cityförster; Alba Concepts; BCI Gebouw; Madaster: Dusseldorp; Lagemaat BV; Sustainer; Cirkelstad; Dutch Green Building Council; NEN.

Media contact

Frans Raaijmakers
(Science Information Officer)

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