Webinar: Adapting the UK’s Domestic Retrofit to the Circular Economy

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Event finished: 8th April 2020

In nature there is no waste. What changes are needed by the housing sector to create a similarly regenerative economy when it comes to housing retrofit and upgrading our homes for a carbon neutral 2050? “The construction sector is the largest user of materials in the UK and produces the biggest waste stream in terms of tonnage. Waste Statistics collated by Defra show that in 2016, 63 % (120 million tonnes) of the total waste stream in England (189 million tonnes) was attributed to construction, demolition and excavation waste. However, the government statistics also record that over 90% of the construction and demolition waste (C&D) is recovered, much of which is heavy materials such as concrete, brick and asphalt which is downcycled for future use as aggregates.” (Construction Leadership Council “Zero Avoidable Waste in Construction” February 2020, funded by BEIS).

The circular economy (CE) can provide multiple value-creation mechanisms out of the consumption of finite resources. The concept rests on three principles: preserve and enhance natural capital, optimize yields from resources in use, and foster system effectiveness (minimize negative externalities) . CE is now established as a vital framework for re-thinking systemic economic, environmental and social challenges. It offers opportunities to reshape established practices, enabling the world’s diverse societies and economies to prosper in new ways. The CE principles can be applied to many practices, such as housing retrofit, discussed in this webinar.

The release of the report from the Construction Leadership Council “Zero Avoidable Waste in Construction” has introduced a new term: ZAW (Zero Avoidable Waste). What does that look like for the housing sector? To transition to a CE, we require a richer and more nuanced understanding of the inter-relationships between economic, social and environmental systems at all levels.

This webinar of thought leaders will share best practice and professional expertise, during this exploration of what is required to adapt the CE principles to the housing retrofit and upgrading our 23 million homes in order to reach our goal for a carbon neutral 2050.