KU Leuven: Minister Diependaele visits innovative construction concept at Ghent Technology Campus

Building a terraced house that is energy efficient in production as well as in use, and with building principles that are also easy to dismantle and reuse. The social-ecological building research cell at the Ghent Technology Campus took on this challenge last year. On Wednesday March 16, Flemish minister Matthias Diependaele, responsible for housing, paid a visit to this innovative building concept.

(c) Tine Desodt
If Europe is to achieve its goals of being climate neutral by 2050, the construction sector will also have to make a radical change. Thirty to fifty percent of all materials used in Europe are intended for construction. Building materials also ‘account’ for more than a third of European waste. There is therefore a need for a more circular approach based on sustainable materials and their reuse.

So circular construction, but how exactly does it work? At KU Leuven’s Ghent Technology Campus, they are investigating the possible paths within the framework of the ‘Circular Bio-based Construction Industry’ (CBCI) project. For example, in just a few weeks, a terraced house was built as a test building on the campus. The house consists of large industrial modules that are stacked on top of and next to each other like Lego blocks. This makes it easy to adapt, expand and disassemble the building. The plan is to rebuild the terraced house in a different location in a few years.

Win win situation
“This building method has several advantages,” says architect Alexis Versele of the Building Physics and Sustainable Building research group. “The construction is very fast due to the industrial character of the modules and at the end of the life cycle the house can also be dismantled and reused. In this way we reduce the amount of waste. The environmental impact is also limited, both in the production phase and during use. It is a win-win situation: on the one hand, more sustainable materials and reuse of raw materials, and on the other hand, less energy consumption, waste and CO2 emissions.”

(c) Tine Desodt
Flemish Minister for Housing Matthias Diependaele: “The challenges for the Flemish housing market are great. On the one hand, there is a clear shortage of an affordable and high-quality supply of rental housing, both private and social. On the other hand, important and sustainable energy renovations are needed to achieve the climate objectives. This should encourage us to come up with creative and innovative solutions. Undeniably, the necessary attention will have to be paid to circular and change-oriented construction. On top of that, the influx of refugees from Ukraine is putting the construction sector on edge: Flanders quickly needs new homes. I am therefore pleased that researchers and companies are joining forces here in Ghent to come up with sustainable solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

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