16 September 2019 | 5 minutes.

Buildings as material banks: Towards a low-carbon capital region

Hélène Dekker
Communication Advisor, Brussels Environment
Molly Steinlage
Project Manager, Brussels Environment
Julien Berry
Climate and Energy Policy Advisor, Brussels Environment

Hélène Dekker, Communication Advisor, Brussels Environment

Molly Steinlage, Project Manager, Brussels Environment

Julien Berry, Climate and Energy Policy Advisor, Brussels Environment

The Brussels Region is not a territorial entity that can exploit massive larger sources of renewable energy such as wind or solar power. The optimal solution towards sustainability is to follow an ambitious policy aimed at improving the energy performance and environmental impact of buildings. In this context, Brussels Environment, the regional administration of the environment and energy, is at the helm of an EU-funded innovation project, called ‘Buildings as Material Banks’ (BAMB), and is preparing a “Low-Carbon Strategy” that will be advanced at a forum to be held in Brussels on 22 June 2018.

A Circular Economy Vision

To consider buildings as “Material Banks” is to see them as repositories for or stockpiles of valuable, high quality materials that can easily be taken apart and recovered. By harvesting materials and individual components during the deconstruction and renovation of buildings, these materials can be reused in the construction, operation or refurbishment of other buildings, thus reducing waste and primary resource use.

The term ‘Buildings as Material Banks’ refers to a materialized investment; it implies much more than investing money in property funds: the building itself is considered as a materialized savings account for material resources, through which building materials, products and components are temporarily ‘deposited’ into a functional element or part of the building. When socio-economic conditions are favourable, (a part of) the materials, products and components may be retrieved for other investments, such as another building or another high-quality application.

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