March 23, 2021
Webinar closing event C-bouwers

Bond Beter Leefmilieu, VIBE, VUB Architectural Engineering, BAS Bouwen and Dialoog have been working on a database and online platform to showcase circular building materials and a selection of exemplary projects. All for and by professionals in the building sector. Architectural designer and research leader Gwen Verlinden was invited to explain which circular building materials and design principles were used in the case study house of the CBBW project. (presentation in Dutch)

February 25, 2021
Ready for evaluation

Construction work on the case study house is almost completed. The house is now inhabited by the residents.

During the following fase we will be assessing the degree of circularity as well as the financial cost of the case study house.

January 14, 2021
Making a mini documentary

Due to the corona pandemic we can't invite visitors to the construction site as plannend. That is why we are making a mini documentary to actively share our learning lessons with you in a coronaproof way. The video will include several interviews explaining how the house is built, which circular principles are used and the impact this has on the cost.

December 14, 2020
Circular brickwork

Most Flemish facades today are still characterised by traditional brickwork. Often the existing context does not allow for an integration of more contemporary facade finishes, or urban planning restrictions simply won't allow it. To meet both the circular ambitions and the urban planning regulations, we employ a dry stack wall system in the case study house. The bricks are stacked on top of each other without mortar, making them reusable and composing a completely homogeneous wall: no other materials are mixed, so that the material flow can be more easily reused or, if the former is not possible, recycled.

December 12, 2020
Cork: insulation and cladding in one

Using cork as thermal insulation as well as exterior cladding for the facade, the outer shell of the building is homogeneous, reducing building complexity which reduces costs and simplifies the future deconstruction process. To insure technical performance the facade could not be mechanically mounted completely but had to be partially glued. The team came up with a twofold solution: the adhesive would be based in lime instead of cement and the cork would be mounted in different layers, safeguarding the inner cork layers from the adhesive hence preserving the possibility of 1 on 1 reuse for 45% of the facade and 100% potential for recyclage.

December 5, 2020
Urban mining: reuse of materials

Although not the primary focus of the project, we had the opportunity to reuse some of the building materials from a demolition site five kilometers south of the construction site where a part of the campus of the University of Antwerp had to be rebuilt. Some interior elements, such as doors, sinks, mirrors, faucets and electrical outlets and switches, were salvaged. Exterior elements proved to be more challenging, but the team succeeded in deconstructing the wall base plinth of one of the campus buildings and reusing it in the case study house.

November 25, 2020
Windows and doors

Conceiving a circular and affordable solution for the windows and doors proved to be challenging. Using a system with two independent frames could provide the possibility of replacement and hence adaptability, but this would drive up the cost by 15 to 20%. Eventually powder-coated aluminum joinery with triple glazing was chosen. This system met the future residents's wishes (little to no maintenance) while scoring highest in the Life Cycle Analysis of the NIBE (Netherland Institute for Building Biology and Ecology).

17 - 20 November 2020
Waterproofing and insulating the roof

The goal was to waterproof and insulate the roof in such a way that the used materials could be easily disassembled in case of demolotion. The main concern was that the waterproofing would demand chemical adhesives in order to guarantee technical performance. The adhesives that could inhibit a circular construction proved only necessary on the outer edges of the roof, meaning most of the roof could be quite easily be designed for disassembly. The construction consists of a solid wooden support structure, a vapour barrier, wood fiber insulation, EPDM waterproofing and gravel (ballast). Because the construction is already widely used and does not require expensive adhesives or sealants it is generally considered as the most cost-efficient solution.

November 13, 2020
Virtual tour for university students

Due to the corona epidemic, the students of the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences could not visit the construction site of the circular case study as initially planned. This is why we decided to organise a virtual tour. We thank professor Davy Stoobants and his students for the interesting questions and inspiring curiosity!

November 11, 2020
Timber construction: day 7

Today the support structure for the case study house was completed. The construction took seven days to complete and was assembled with a team of two professionals and four unexperienced helpers, among them one of the future residents. Because the system is so easy to assemble it allows for partial DIY. Being able to save on the cost of labour, the total cost of the timber structure could be reduced with 10 to 15%.

November 09, 2020
Mockup testing

Preconstruction mockup testing of the external wall was a way for the team to learn how the different building parts, such as thermal insulation, load-bearing structure and facade cladding, would come together. But also to test the waste-removal efficiency and potential for reuse after disassembly. Experimenting with different compositions and formations, we learned a lot about the material and how it behaves, not only in theory but in the actual field. This hands-on approach helped us gain confidence in the materials and construction methodes and abetted in making better circular design and construction choices.

November 05, 2020
Timber construction: day 3

After a couple of days, the building is already taking form. Because only dry-jointing techniques are used, there is no drying time that can slow down construction. External walls, floors and roof are all constructed in the same way, using the same equipement and techniques. The assembly is quick and easy.

November 03, 2020
Timber construction: day 1

The assembly of the pre-fabricated construction kit is going very fast. Due to the simple connection details and easy-to-handle construction parts the construction allows for expensive labour to be partially outsourced to non-professional workers. In this case, one of the future residents and three friends of theirs helped put together the construction under supervision of two experienced contractors.