Circular renovation of the building envelope

Bureau Bouwtechniek and Ghent University receive a grant from Vlaanderen Circulair for research into the development of a circular scalable facade system for the renovation of the building envelope.

Many building owners postpone an investment in façade insulation and renovation until there is sufficient budget to renovate radically. This results in many outdated, non-insulated facades and residential buildings with high energy consumption and a less pleasant indoor climate. By developing a modular façade renovation system that preserves the value of the materials, these buildings can reach the desired comfort level much faster.

We respond to the government and market demand by approaching the market for (temporary) facade renovations at a higher system level.

Our renovation strategy switches from building to estate level, thus offering opportunities to put circular thinking into practice:

  • prefabricated panels with well-considered dimensions in function of interchangeability 
  • use of dry connections for easy assembly and disassembly 
  • connection with existing exterior joinery that allows phased renovation 
  • integration of ventilation and pipes so that it is disconnected from internal renovation 
  • research into as-a-service approach for accelerated renovation of apartment blocks. 

By introducing the renovation system in both the short (5 to 10 years) and long (30 to 50 years) term, one building or other will always be ready to reuse these building elements.

The focus on prefabrication of façade elements is fully in line with the current evolution of building industrialization. We strive for the construction site of the future where elements arrive prefabricated and assembled. Thanks to productivity gains, for example, we can limit construction costs and the resident is less annoyed.

In the elaboration of the facade elements, the possibility of implementing the panels in a Building Information Model is one of the basic criteria. We are investigating how we can further enrich this BIM model with product information. This is how we take the step towards a materials passport and encourage reuse.

The research will be validated on the basis of three exemplary cases from the social housing company WoninGent and the Buildings and Facility Management Department of Ghent University.

Bureau Bouwtechniek submitted the application with UGent, Algemene Bouw Maes and De Witte Aluminumconstructies.

Bureau Bouwtechniek also received subsidies from Vlaanderen Circulair for research into circular procurement, submitted together with the University of Antwerp.