Flanders’ and Brussels’ emerging businesses and products for a circular construction economy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


Today, in Flanders and Brussels, a transition towards a circular construction economy enfolds. After the development of research projects and policy frameworks, various frontrunners demonstrate how that transition could take shape. Larger manufacturers increasingly emphasise the circular nature of their products and contractors implement long-term maintenance and management agreements. They do so in demonstration projects such as the Circular Retrofit Lab or in collaboration with their most ambitious clients. They are not the only ones however. Small businesses too seem to align their activities and products with the circular transition.
In the present paper, we discuss several smaller initiatives, including demountable brick systems, reversibly connected wood structures, greenhouses made of recuperated materials and disassembly and resell activities. Because these developments are made with little or no subsidies and are priced at their actual cost, we know they have the best chance to grow further and inspire others. Therefore, on the one hand, we questioned the role of the circular economy in the development of those activities as well as in their current implementation. On the other hand, we made a first estimate of their (potential) impact on the environment and economy.
Without the ambition to give a complete overview of initiatives within this dynamic transition, we collected a series of emerging activities and products and identified some of their key characteristics. In most cases, establishing a circular business is not their sole or most important motivation. Mostly, it is an attempt to make construction practice more efficient that lays at their origin. Nevertheless, the growing attention for the circular economy and the rising awareness of the environmental impact of construction are identified as an important leverage for all cases’ take-up. This might clarify to other entrepreneurs that the circular economy is never the goal itself, but a responsible business approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd Green Design Conference
EditorsElma Durmisevic
PublisherSarajevo Green Design Foundation and University of Twente
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978‐90‐821‐6983‐6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
EventGDC2017 - Green Design Conference - Mostar Cultural Center, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Duration: 4 Oct 20177 Oct 2017


ConferenceGDC2017 - Green Design Conference
Abbreviated titleGDC2017
CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
Internet address


  • innovative businesses
  • circular economy
  • life cycle design
  • reuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Flanders’ and Brussels’ emerging businesses and products for a circular construction economy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this