A Circular Economy is defined by materials being utilised at their highest value for as long as possible and are then reused or recycled leaving a minimum of residual waste. The end goal is to retain the value of materials and resources indefinitely with no residual waste at all. This is possible and requires transformational change in the way buildings are designed, built, operated and deconstructed.
All developments in the UK are now being encouraged to consider circular economy principles, with larger developments in London being required to submit Circular Economy Statements as per London Plan Policy S17.
SRE’s qualified sustainability specialists provide Circular Economy Statements recommending cost-effective and workable strategies relating to the design, construction and operation processes. This includes solutions to repair, refurbish, remanufacture or recycle materials to establish a closed-loop system minimising waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
Read more about Circular Economy Statements
Adopting a Circular Economy approach, SRE can assist in reducing the quantity of new materials and the amount of waste needing to be managed. Alongside waste reduction, smart technologies, infrastructure and logistics can contribute significantly to reduced vehicle movements, air pollution, noise and greenhouse gas emissions. Developers will also benefit from cost savings as fewer materials are purchased and there’s less waste to manage.
The content requirements and structure of Circular Economy Statements are underpinned by three core guiding principles:
1. Conserve resources, increase efficiency and source sustainably.
2. Design to eliminate waste (and for ease of maintenance).
3. Manage waste sustainably and at the highest value.
Taking a design approach that follows the core guiding principles, a development’s structure and façade can be built to be long lasting and adaptable, whilst individual components like the services, interior space and furnishings are designed to support reuse or recycling practises. The basis for the Circular Economy Statement is formed in layers prompting applicants to develop strategies for each building layer over the life cycle of the development. Building layers include the site, the substructure, the superstructure and the shell/skin.