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Collaboration between Energy4Living and UHasselt

The collaboration between Energy4Living (E4L) and the LCA and LCC for Circular Buildings PhD project aims to improve the design of circular buildings by assessing the impact of circular design on life cycle assessment (LCA). Energy4Living is a company that focuses on the design of circular
and energy efficient buildings, while we have expertize in LCA for buildings.
The collaboration is a perfect match that can bring significant benefits to both parties.

The concept of circular design aims to create buildings that are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, and economically feasible.
Circular design encourages the use of renewable materials, minimal waste generation, and recyclability. However, the impact of
circular design on the overall LCA of a building is not yet well understood. During the PhD project we will assess the impact of circular design on the environmental performance of buildings.

The collaboration will be a two-way learning experience. Energy4Living will benefit from the LCA PhD student’s expertise in analyzing the environmental performance of buildings. While we will learn about circular design principles and how they can be applied to buildings. The collaboration will help
both parties gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between circular design and LCA and provide valuable insights into designing more sustainable buildings.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) for buildings is becoming increasingly important, particularly in the European Union where several countries have introduced legislation that mandates a carbon budget for buildings. Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and France are among the countries that have taken steps to limit the environmental impact of buildings. In addition, the European Union has been pushing for the inclusion of LCA as a mandatory criterion in public procurement for buildings. These developments highlight the importance of LCA in the design and construction of sustainable buildings.

The collaboration will involve several stages.
First, we worked with Energy4Living to identify the key circular design principles used in the design of buildings.
Second, we performed a detailed analysis of the impact of circular design on the environmental performance of buildings using the LCA methodology. The analysis will consider a range of environmental indicators, such as carbon footprint, water use, and waste generation.
Third, we will work with Energy4Living to identify opportunities for further improving the environmental performance of the building through circular design.
Finally, the results of the analysis will be disseminated to the broader research community through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. The first paper resulting from this collaboration is in its final rounds of revisions and will present a novel method for accounting for design-for-disassembly metrics in building-level LCA.

Figure 1: Case study BIM model