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CIRCULOOS has just started a new collaboration with the Reincarnate project

What is the Reincarnate project about, could you describe it briefly?

Reincarnate is an ambitious European project that aims to enable the European construction industry to significantly reduce construction and demolition waste (CDW) by providing social means and technical solutions. Throughout four years, our consortium of 16 organizations including SMEs, large industries, RTOs and higher education establishments and non-profits will join their expertise and knowledge to develop a Circular Potential assessment Information Model platform (CP-IM) and a set of innovations to make use of the CP-IM.

The CP-IM will provide a digital representation of building materials and products with life-cycle information and prediction methods for tracing and predicting the lifetime of products  and materials. So we will also allow for assessing the potential for lifetime extension and reuse and possibilities to predict circular value flows.

What are your objectives? 

As our name suggests, we aim to establish a reincarnation practice in the construction sector. Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the philosophical or religious concept that the non- physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. In Buddhist philosophy the quality of this afterlife will be determined by the cumulative virtues of the being during its previous life.  

Following this basic thought, we aim to maximize the cumulative virtues of a building, a building product, or a building material during its life; establish a transparent track record of these virtues; and last but not least use this track record – and the high degree of reliability and trust that comes with it – to ensure that a building, building product, or building material can be reused at a high quality in an afterlife. 

All of the above is translated into the development of our CP-IM and ten specific innovations removing the bottlenecks in current linear practices within the construction industry.

Which are the main challenges that you face?

We have identified possible barriers. For instance, the construction industry is known as a laggard in adopting digital technologies. It will be crucial that at Reincarnate we overcome this basic culture. One key strategy employed will therefore be the clear demonstration of our innovations on many varied demonstration cases. Another challenge we identified is that the existing standards and regulations across Europe impede construction companies to benefit from many of the advantages that can accrue with our technologies. Stringent, but very important requirements ensuring the safety for construction products and materials might play a detrimental role in this aspect. We intend to overcome these barriers by closely working together with legal and standardization bodies. Last but not least, the lack of data transparency and information sharing among stakeholders is another identified challenge that the Reincarnate project will address.

Tell us about the digital innovations you are developing!

Our digital innovations include 10 tools for material and/or component tracing and CDW management, automated solutions for de-construction and waste separation process, cross-sectorial holistic solutions from the construction product and material side and access value in terms of monetary value and CO2 reduction solutions. The innovations will draw upon emerging digital technologies, such as digital twin representation, artificial intelligence, and robotic automation.  

In addition to the technical innovations, we will develop detailed social science insights about the social adoption behavior existing in the wider construction industry that will allow for understanding how a wide realization within the industry can be established that building products and materials can be reincarnated and re-used in high product quality.

Where are you going to demonstrate these innovations and how? 

We are  dedicated to demonstrating our innovations on real-world projects. To this end, eleven demonstration projects across Europe have been identified that will allow us to strongly demonstrate these 10 methods and technologies on: single construction (renovation) projects; within integrated circular business chains of contractors, real estate companies, and developers. We have use cases in Germany,  Poland, France, Netherlands, Northern countries and even outside Europe, in China.   

Currently, both for R&I as well as demonstration purposes, our use cases for the applications of the 10 methods and the application of the CP-IM are being defined within clear demonstration plans. These plans will set up the case, evaluate requirements, plan for data collection, and most importantly establish scientific monitoring to ensure the development of strong qualitative and quantitative demonstrating evidence.

Which outcomes do you expect to get at the end of the project? 

At the end of the Reincarnate project, we expect to deliver a Circular Potential Assessment Information Model Platform (CP-IM) and ten innovations that will enable the European construction industry to significantly reduce waste, promote circularity, and drive sustainable practices, leading to a more efficient and environmentally friendly sector. We will demonstrate the impact through 11 pilot cases, showcasing the practical implementation of our solutions. Additionally, we will develop an online learning platform with training materials and propose standards to ensure widespread dissemination and exploitation of the Reincarnate results. 

What do you think about projects such as Reincarnate and CIRCULOOS and their importance for the circular economy?

Circuloos and Reincarnate share a common goal: empowering the community through knowledge sharing, inspiration and meaningful collaborations. Achieving circularity in any industry requires integrating these essential elements. Circuloos is facilitating the transition of MSMEs towards a circular economy. By providing tools for orchestrating and optimizing the end-to-end supply chain through open calls, Circuloos actively promotes innovation and collaboration. On our side, Reincarnate is dedicated to developing science-based tools, including the CP-IM platform designed to encourage the reuse of construction materials, buildings and components. 

Both projects envision a circularity that embraces collaboration and technology in tandem. To realize this vision, interdisciplinary teams must work together, setting an exemplary standard for their industries.