The CHARM partner meeting took place at the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in Delft, the Netherlands. As the last year of the project is almost there – the end date of the project is December 2023 – we are getting more and more in the phase of ‘harvesting’. Some of the demonstration exemplars are finalized and some are going to be finalized in 2023. With this finalization we also get the wanted information on circular strategies and the amount of material and waste reduction.
Transnational Training Sessions: sharing knowledge
The training session are themed around circular housing strategies, and have a strong focus on the themes and lessons learned of the national executed demonstration exemplars. In June 2022, the UK training session was being held by the University of Birmingham and GreenSquareAccord and co-organised by EFL. The focus was on the net zero housing context in the UK and circular strategies. In September 2022, the Dutch organisation Aedes together with Kamp C, Zonnige Kempen, WMSH and Groene Huisvesters organised a Dutch training session. The focus was on reused materials and craftmanship. The French training session is coming up soon and is a co-production between Paris Habitat and UHS. The focus of this last session will be on: flows of (used) materials and Material Exchange Platforms.
Deliverables and output
As the demonstration exemplars all reach their finalization in the period 2021 until 2023, the project outputs are produced as well. It is important that these outputs are going to be calculated, presented and shared. All partners are working hard on their deliverables, and on presenting the information to our stakeholders e.g. through training sessions (see above), meetings, webinars, website(s) and social media.
Demonstration exemplars: updates, progress and planning
GreenSquareAccord has brought in a second demonstration exemplar, called: Stirchley co-operative development. Start on the construction site will be this financial year. The outcomes are expected by November/December 2023.
The first demonstration exemplar of GSA are the Virtually Plastic Free Homes. It has gained much attention in the Midlands. Recently, the project was highlighted at BBC Midlands Today. Building a plastic free house is one way to get onto a carbon zero construction sector. Plastics are, as known, very bad for the environment, as well as for people for plastics are emerging in our food chain.
Paris Habitat presented the progress of the demonstration exemplar site ‘Sthrau’ in the 13th department of Paris. This concerns a deep renovation of 121 dwellings. The renovation works begin in the first quarter of 2023. The demonstration exemplar ‘Petit Musc’ lies in the 4th department of Paris and consist of eight dwellings. Here, e.g. the radiators, stairs, bricks, metal shutters will be reused in the renovation project. In the first quarter of 2023, the sample unit will be ready in this project. Reusing of sanitary facilities are part of the refurbishment. One of the restraints is the complex logistics and planning due to the location in Paris. When the tenants leave, there is little time to renovate/refurbish the apartments. Also, the wanted (refurbished) materials has to be available and of the right quality. Another restraint is the high prices of the products at this moment.
The new developed Material Exchange Platform (MEP) of Paris Habitat will be launched before Christmas 2022. There was a delay of a couple of months, but the MEP is now almost ready to be used. It is being tested in the period October – December 2022.
The second demonstration exemplar of Zonnige Kempen is a renovation project, called: ‘Vinkenhof’. The tender was recently approved by the board. By the end of 2023, the houses are expected to be renovated. In short: it is an outside renovation (walls, roof, windows) only. An extra challenge of this project is that the renovation will be done while the tenants will be staying and living in their houses. The tenants are – of course – involved in the whole process. There are already two dwellings renovated and done to see how the renovation can be executed as good as possible. Test results are showing that the energy costs of these two renovated dwellings are significantly lower than before the renovation.
Workshop on evaluation demonstration exemplars
During the meeting, the partners have had a workshop to discuss in which manner they could evaluate the demonstration exemplars. How can we show the impact in CO-2 reduction the best, also looking at the described outcomes in the various deliverables? What data do we need on: circularity (amount of raw material use, amount of increased material recovery, list of materials/components that are re-used), quality and tenant acceptance, and process (investment costs, time/period of the demonstration exemplars)?
In three separate groups, we discussed and described: 1) the lessons learned so far and 2) the internal barriers and enables (technical and technological, social and cultural, organisational, financial). We then shared and discussed the first outcomes with each other:
- One of the discussed topics is how (as in: definitions) to count, weigh and register the reused materials to calculate the amount of raw material use and increased material recovery.
- The idea of reusing materials has also spread in a spontaneous way on the work floor in a project of Paris Habitat. Co-workers are inspired and work things out by themselves in order to get an even higher impact on reusing materials. A great result of getting the circular strategy approach into the actual work flow.
- Craftmanship is getting more important in reusing materials. The quality of work and knowledge of materials has got to be on a higher level.
- The (public) perception on used materials has got to be altered. How do we have to communicate about these circular/reused materials. Or is it more about communicating about the perspective of quality. Perception is an issue for social housing organisations in the circular approach towards the users, in this case: the tenants of the dwellings.
- Involve all parties at forehand, such as: architect(s) and demolish partner(s). Zonnige Kempen has created a pool of (circular) architects. But you have to create an incentive to increase the internal motivation as well. In the pool of architects e.g. the selected architects are getting work for – at least – one construction project.
- Make sure that there is one (strategic) vision on circularity. Otherwise, the focus of the organisation will get lost and it will be more difficult to reach the targets. Also, new products (as in: innovative or alternatives) will take a lot of time to get approved, warranted and used. Just because the product is less or not known in the sector.
- Make new technologies not more complicated for tenants in operating than necessary. Or, even better, make the appliance work in the same way as the former technology. Use visuals on how the technology works and keep it simple.
Initiative for a new project
Zonnige Kempen has suggested the idea to prepare a new proposal themed around circular housing. This proposal is a follow-up, a logical next step of the CHARM project. GreenSquareAccord, among others, is interested. They are going to invest the various funding qualifications for this potential project. The EFL Study Visit to Malmö points out that Nordic based organisations could also be asked for a follow-up project.
- On 13 January 2023 there will be an online workshop on the business plan of a Material Exchange Platform (MEP).
- On 4 – 6 April 2023, the gathering of the EFL Topic Group Construction could be used to pitch and brainstorm about the new initiative, brought in by Zonnige Kempen (see above).
- On 5 – 6 June 2023 the CHARM partners will meet and in Westerlo, Belgium. This event will be hosted by Kamp C and Zonnige Kempen. At the premises of Kamp C the ‘Exploded view’ is then re-constructed and ready to exhibited. We’ll also visit the circular built office of Kamp C.
- In October 2023, we are ready to present the lessons learned and other results of CHARM during the final CHARM meeting. This will probably take place in Paris, France.