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Knowledge category: Tools and methods

Circular Buildings Toolkit

Updated on 23.05.2023

The Circular Buildings Toolkit has taken the principles of the circular economy and translated them into a prioritised set of strategies and actions relevant for real estate projects. Alongside circular building guidance are real-life examples of how building design and operation can utilise the principles of the circular economy.

Author: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ARUP
Year of update: 2023

More information

Users can navigate through this tool by choosing what the user's personal goal is and clicking on ‘Start’ to go to the webpage that will help the user achieve their goal – for example, if the user is interested in a workshop with their project team. Then the user can click on 'Run a circular design project with your project team' and this will redirect the user to a webpage where the user can download materials for a circular design workshop.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

The Circular Buildings Toolkit can be used as circular building guidance. The tool can help the user learn more about circular buildings, help apply the tool to projects and track the circular performance of existing projects. The tool provides useful strategies and corresponding actions such as 'increase the multi-use of potential building spaces' or 'make use of Whole Lifecycle Cost assessment as a design assessment tool.’ For every action, there are also sub-actions provided to help implement the provided actions. The toolkit can be used by cities and regions to explore circular construction and use the strategies and actions in designing a Circular Systemic Solution for the construction and built environment sector.

How to use this tool or method

The toolkit adopts a high-level framework – build nothing, build for long term value, build efficiently and build with the right materials – which breaks down into strategies and detailed actions so that designers and planners can embed circular economy principles into the very beginning of new projects.

Overall, the toolkit supports the users by helping them:

  • learn more about circular buildings by discovering their design frameworks, exploring strategies and actions for circular construction, and read about case studies that apply circular design principles;
  • apply the toolkit to a project by running a circular design workshop with the project team, setting goals and keeping track of performance and exploring tools that are available to support the project;
  • track the circular performance of existing projects by making them accessible to the community and benchmark projects against other case studies.
Territories involved

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000

predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region