Browse Catapults
Transport System Catapult - Logo Home

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

DATE : 08 April 2020
LOCATION : Online event
START TIME : 11:30 am END TIME : 12:15 pm

Changes are needed by the housing sector to reduce its impact on carbon emissions. The circular economy is key to retrofitting our homes.

From 11:30am on Wednesday 8th April, you can access the webinar on Zoom by clicking here.

In nature there is no waste. What changes are needed by the housing sector to create a similarly regenerative economy when it comes to retrofitting 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 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 retrofitting our 23 million homes in order to reach our goal for a carbon neutral 2050.

On the panel we have:

  • Professor Rachel Armstrong, Metabolism Lead, Architecture, Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University. Rachel is Professor of Experimental Architecture at the Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University.
  • Dr Tim Forman, Deputy Course Director, Research Associate and Teaching Fellow, Cambridge University. (Research Associate and Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Development. He also serves as Deputy Course Director of the ‘Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment’ Masters course, which is delivered by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership)
  • Dr David Greenfield , Managing Director at Social Environmental and Economic Solutions Ltd. David is the European External Affairs lead for The Circular Economy Club, chartered Waste Manager, with over 15 years working in public and private sector roles focused on strategy, planning and delivering efficiencies in the environmental space.
  • Gilli Hobbs, Strategy & Innovation team at BRE, Gilli has much experience in the field of resources and waste management, she is also the lead for Circular Economy at BRE, with current emphasis on Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB).


11.30 – Panel discussion

12.00 – Questions from audience

12:15 – Webinar ends


1.Construction Leadership Council “Zero Avoidable Waste in Construction” February 2020, funded by BEIS

2. Financial Times Thursday December 5th, 2019 FT Special Report

From 11:30am on Wednesday 8th April, you can access the webinar on Zoom by clicking here.