Fire escape made of circular concrete is crowning achievement of European project

In Ghent, we value participation, co-creation, living labs and other initiatives that engage a wide range of industries and institutions. Our academic and research centres regularly work together with businesses big and small to form partnerships and create solutions together.

As a European Capital of Technology, Ghent is focusing on clean technology to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. That brings us to the fire escape we’ve unveiled on March 29. Next to the benches and the sidewalk we already had in Ghent, it’s the third demo project of the Interreg URBCON project.

The staircase at the elementary school De Zonnepoort was made with 70 percent less CO₂ emissions and concludes the European project. This is thanks to the process of replacing primary raw materials with recycled materials. The cement was largely replaced with by-products such as slag and ash from the local steel industry.

“Circular concrete is gaining importance. In this European project, we’ve succeeded in both drastically reducing the carbon footprint and reducing the use of primary raw materials in production. In this way, we can introduce the sustainable concrete in cities in the future.”

Prof. Stijn Matthys, Ghent University

It’s a prime example of how our research and education institutions can work together with the industry, uncovering new solutions to tackle real problems. Ghent University was involved in designing the staircase and their innovative mix was used to develop a t-shaped piece. For the construction, Furnibo put together a construction team in consultation with the Belgian project partners. Manufacturing company Enjoy Concrete and construction company ResourceFull shared their expertise for the creation of the staircase in the factory. Afterwards, the pieces were transferred to the elementary school where the pieces were assembled one by one.

Check out the video!

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