ReCreate project, Author at Recreate

November 7, 2022
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Leader of the ReCreate Swedish country cluster Erik Stenberg had another interview where he outlined the importance and advantages of the project.

The advantage of the concept is that the climate footprint and amounts of waste are radically reduced as it is much better to reuse entire elements than to grind down the concrete and use it as filling material, says Erik Stenberg.

THE STATE OF REUSING CONCRETE IN SWEDEN

Today, concrete elements are very rarely reused. At EU level, the figure is zero percent and in Sweden there are a few isolated examples. This is mainly because it is cheapest and easiest to build with new concrete. The business models for reuse do not exist and all parts of the construction sector are adapted to new materials, says Erik Stenberg. The goal of KTH researchers will be to examine the business chain for the reuse of concrete elements in the Swedish context and how it is affected by processes and regulations in the construction sector. Sweden actually has good conditions for reusing concrete elements because we built a lot with prefabricated concrete in the 1960s to 80s. Even if the elements are not manufactured to be taken apart and used again, according to Erik Stenberg, this is entirely possible.

ON THE SWEDISH PILOT SITE

The pavilion that the researchers built and displayed during H22 was a successful sub-project. The building consisted of 99 percent recycled material and the climate footprint had been reduced by 90 percent. The mistakes made gave the researchers new insights, for example that concrete must be handled carefully. The reuse also led to unexpected architectural solutions.

The elements were larger than we imagined, which resulted in a sturdier building. Solutions around doors and windows had to be adapted to this and the house’s pillars got a new design when they proved to be too heavy for the slab. Instead of being seen as obstacles, the limitations can contribute to interesting architecture, says Erik Stenberg.

Erik Stenberg also maintains a studio where students design buildings based on the concept in the research project. Erik Stenberg says that the students have shown that it is possible to design houses with good layouts and good light conditions from recycled concrete elements and that it is possible to design both row houses and point houses with elements from slatted houses.


October 5, 2022
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Erik Stenberg, a lecturer in architecture at the KTH School of Architecture and leader of the Swedish ReCreate country cluster, investigates the current practices of the reuse of precast concrete in the world.

He posits that offices with prefabricated concrete structures are the most common buildings that are demolished today, most often for housing construction, and that concrete from those demolished buildings is simply ground and that we create an unnecessarily big impact on the environment by doing so.

”When recycling, the product is changed and used for something else, or in the same area of use. When we are reusing, it is used once more in the same form and design.”

– “I’m afraid that someone will think that, like in Denmark, we will start grinding programs worth millions. It would be capital destruction because the houses are built with quality and will last at least another 150-200 years if they are dry and warm.” said Erik Stenberg.

According to him, Denmark also failed to meet the goal of reusing building elements in projects, in order to incorporate a better local history for residents, because the EU directive is that at least 70 percent of a building’s weight must be reused during demolition. However, in the Swedish ReCreate pilot study, the figure dropped to a staggering 99 percent!

He concluded that there were some mistakes in the project, but now they know where the obstacles lie in the construction permit phase, how access and quality can be ensured, and how the concrete elements can be reassembled, which enables an immediate reduction of carbon dioxide in new production.


September 21, 2022
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At the end of the summer, members of the German ReCreate cluster met with members of the Dutch cluster for a transnational technical exchange at a deconstruction site in the small town of Weißenfels near Leipzig in Germany. In consultation with the BTU project manager Angelika Mettke and the German industry project partner Dietmar Gottschling of ECOSOIL, the meeting was prepared on-site to show how partial dismantling is carried out under practical conditions.

The dismantling process was observed by Viktoria Arnold (BTU), Thijs Lambrects, Hamidullah Attaullah (both TU/e) as well as an employee of the office of Patrick Teuffel (head of WP5) at the location site, Hardenbergstr. 39-42. The demonstration allowed them the ability to gain an insight into the dismantling process directly on site.

Considering the process, the partial deconstruction comprised the top two floors of the 5-story prefabricated building of the “P-Halle” type, which was constructed from the same range of prefab elements as the donor building for the ReCreate German pilot project at Otto-Nuschke-Str. 9-14 in Hohenmölsen. Accordingly, the same range of slabs and panels had to be dismantled and the same connections opened. That resulted in 30 dismantled floor slabs which required transport from Weißenfels to Hohenmölsen, where the temporary storage site is located.

The dismantled floor slabs are planned to be (re)used later on the same site in the planned pilot project, the construction of a youth center. Concerning the remaining dismantled concrete elements, they had to be handled with more caution because of potential causes of material composition. By that means, they first had to undergo the process of pre-shredding at the dismantling construction site and then sent to a recycling plant for material processing.

Check out the pictures of the site below of the dismantling process at the deconstruction site:

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The project consortium at the first ReCreate pilot

From the 20th to the 22nd of June 2022, the ReCreate project partners joined forces during the 1st project in-person meeting. The meeting was organised by the Swedish country cluster and was held in Helsingborg, Sweden. During the meeting, the participants had the chance, for the first time after 1 full year of project progress, to meet each other in person while a fruitful and successful meeting was held. All partners have made tremendous progress in developing their country cluster projects where they have described future planned activities on dismantling, storing, and reusing building materials in the construction of foreseen projects.

During the ReCreate meeting, all participants visited the first ReCreate pilot, which is an exhibition building built of 99% reused material in the residential area Drottninghög. The Swedish contributors, KTH, Helsingborgshem and Strängbetong have presented their first results and practical examples of how building materials can be reused.

The pilot is made of 99% reused material (by weight) and the carbon footprint is 92% lower when compared with the same building built with new material after today’s standards. In addition, the building is designed for disassembly, i.e., built in such a way that it can be dismantled and the elements reused in another context. For example, all-metal couplings between the elements are made to be easily disassembled.

The consortium meeting was executed with success and a plethora of viable comments and experiences stemming from each respective day of work. Moreover, as ReCreate keeps developing and the pilot projects are being executed, with the Swedish pilot as the best example, ReCreate project is being successful in exploring and harnessing the untapped potential of the existing markets for deconstruction and reuse of concrete elements without damaging them. The novel knowledge stemming from ReCreate will be disseminated by publishing joint public-private open access publications in high-impact international journals; by presenting the work in industry congresses and scientific conferences; and by turning it into open access e-learning content usable for educating and training a new generation of experts and employees with improved competencies in reuse.

The models of ReCreate pilots

 

 

Lectures and project updates


June 10, 2022
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In the middle of Drottninghög, researchers from KTH are building a pilot building in the form of a pavilion from recycled concrete. The building is part of the H22 City Expo fair, which takes place between 30 May and 3 July.

The building stands on a plot where a preschool previously stood. KTH researchers have been able to use the base plate from the preschool for the building, which is 8×22 meters wide, 4 meters high, and consists of a few hundred tons of concrete. The building consists of 99 percent recycled material.

”The production of new concrete is very resource-intensive and accounts for 3-4 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. By using recycled concrete in new buildings, emissions could be radically reduced. Our calculations show that by using recycled concrete in our pilot, we get a reduction of the carbon footprint by 96 percent compared to if we would have used new concrete. So this recycling of concrete points to a way forward.

Today, office properties are demolished from concrete that is perhaps 40 years old to make room for new homes. But that concrete has a much longer technical life than that, 100, 200, maybe up to 300 years as long as it is hot and dry. And if we are to access the carbon dioxide consumption in new buildings, we must have access to these heavy concrete frame elements.” – says Erik Stenberg, professor at the KTH University.

 

EU project on recycling of concrete elements

Professor Stenberg also leads the Swedish part of the EU project ReCreate – Reusing Precast concrete for a Circular Economy – whose purpose is to investigate how to reuse concrete elements in new buildings. The project, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, is led by the University of Tampere and the initiative also includes Eindhoven University of Technology and Brandenburg University of Technology.

Within the framework of the project, all four participating universities will produce two pilots – one digital and one physical. Unlike Tampere, Eindhoven and Brandenburg, KTH started with the physical pilot, the one that is now shown in Helsingborg, and will then make a digital one. The three partner universities’ first digital pilots can be viewed in the form of 3D-printed models of each donor building in KTH’s pavilion pilot.

There will also be descriptions of the various projects. But the exhibition’s focus is on Helsingborg and Drottninghög. Among other things, we present a project on recycling concrete in Drottninghög that some of our students at the School of Architecture worked on last autumn, says Erik Stenberg.

 

Challenge for architects

In addition to his role as leader for the Swedish part, he works with historical analyzes and a mapping of where concrete elements are, when and where they were built, in what form, by whom and for what. Two more KTH researchers are involved in the project – Kjartan Gudmundson from the Department of Sustainable Buildings and Tove Malmqvist from the Department of Sustainability, Evaluation and Governance, SEED.

Kjartan Gudmundson looks at issues such as quality assurance – concrete quality and the presence of hazardous substances – and digitization of historical and new information about concrete elements that can accompany them when they are used again, while Tove Malmqvist works with issues such as life cycle analysis, climate impact, business models, and regulations.


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H22 is an ambitious initiative brought by the city of Helsingborg to develop future solutions directed at improving the quality of life in a smarter, more sustainable city.

That is why the initiative is organizing the H22 City Expo – an international event in Helsingborg that will run for 35 days and that will also serve as a platform for presenting innovative work and new solutions. The key focus of these solutions pertains to welfare and urban development, or in other words, how innovation can help improve the quality of everyday life for everyone living and working in Helsingborg.

H22 City Expo will gather the world’s visionary leaders and urban disruptors to explore local solutions for the global challenges that will define our future – and where cities must lead the charge.

Cutting edge technology, future homes, and the newest takes on a sustainable city will be heavily featured in the expo. Visitors and residents of Helsingborg will be able to interact with hundreds of innovative ideas and solutions and will also be able to put forth their own input! Each participant will be a living component in an urban lab that brings together industry leaders, public sector pioneers, and passionate residents to develop, share, and test real-life solutions in real-time.

Here are the links for the ReCreate project materials that will be featured in the City Expo 2022:

See you at the City Expo!


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ReCreate project update – first milestone for WP3 delivered!

The first milestone of Work Package 3 of the ReCreate project (Screening, logistics and processing) has been delivered!

Effective management of information through digital workflows will facilitate the reuse of precast concrete elements, which is essential for this work package. With the delivery of this milestone, we have solutions for Common Data Environments (CDEs) for ReCreate that will enable effective storing and sharing of data that is captured and produced. This will be a guide towards progressing the use of CDE and effective exchange of information as ReCreate activities move towards more advanced digital workflows and methods of collaboration.

The work of this milestone includes a comparison of selected features of existing CDE solutions that we have conducted for commercial BIM-based CDEs as well as for well-known general purpose CDEs.

Further work will include support to the country clusters in adopting the CDE solution in ReCreate activities. The needs for improved workflows is a take-off point for further progress and maturity in working with open standards and higher levels of structured data. The benefits of BIM methodology and open data will ultimately result in greater efficiencies, productivity and synergies as the project continues.

Find out more on the ReCreate project at this year’s H22 City Expo!


April 29, 2022
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Erik Stenberg, architect and senior lecturer in architecture at KTH – School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE) in Stockholm, answered a few questions on why reusing concrete is important in urban development projects.

 

Why is the reuse of concrete important?

– This is where the biggest environmental benefits can be made. If you access the concrete in the structure of houses, you can achieve the largest reduction in carbon dioxide.

 

 Why is it important in urban development projects?

 – It is becoming more and more important to look at the entire life cycle and carbon footprint of the entire urban development and not just individual buildings. We have to look at what was there before and what will come after. We need to make better use of the resources that are already above ground. Also, the historical dimension has nothing to do with carbon dioxide pollution, but with cherishing a legacy, taking advantage of what is good and building on it, and improving what needs to be improved.

 

What are the benefits of using reused concrete?

– This is exactly what we test in ReCreate. The thesis is that the concrete continues to harden during its lifespan and the technical lifetime is much longer than the service life of the buildings. Therefore, reused concrete should be better than new concrete both constructively and environmentally as we do not use and extract resources from the earth’s crust.

 

So concrete is made to last longer than the time we use it today?

 – It lasts much longer. The concrete you usually see is the one that is exposed outwards to the external elements and it is usually hit harder by rain, weather, cold, or salts (depending on where it is) than concrete that has been sitting hot and dry. If the concrete is hot and dry, it lasts forever.

 

What opportunities do you see when it comes to reusing concrete?

 – I look at the material and historical values and that we get a healthier discussion about how urban development should be done, and that we consume fewer resources when we build in the future. This is the biggest change that needs to happen, not just thinking ‘new’ all the time but rather that we take care of what we already have.


April 22, 2022
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Answering the challenges of tomorrow requires bold and visionary solutions and initiatives

H22 is an ambitious initiative brought by the city of Helsingborg to develop future solutions directed at improving the quality of life in a smarter, more sustainable city.

That is why the initiative is organizing the H22 City Expo – an international event in Helsingborg that will run for 35 days and that will also serve as a platform for presenting innovative work and new solutions. The key focus of these solutions pertains to welfare and urban development, or in other words, how innovation can help improve the quality of everyday life for everyone living and working in Helsingborg.

 

 

H22 City Expo will gather the world’s visionary leaders and urban disruptors to explore local solutions for the global challenges that will define our future – and where cities must lead the charge.

Cutting edge technology, future homes, and the newest takes on a sustainable city will be heavily featured in the expo. Visitors and residents of Helsingborg will be able to interact with hundreds of innovative ideas and solutions and will also be able to put forth their own input! Each participant will be a living component in an urban lab that brings together industry leaders, public sector pioneers, and passionate residents to develop, share, and test real-life solutions in real-time.

ReCreate @ H22 City Expo 2022

Concrete is a big challenge for the climate and also one of the most important components of our buildings. The main goal of the ReCreate project is to introduce the concept of circularity into construction and to make the construction of new buildings and our future homes with reused concrete elements a viable option for the future of sustainable construction. It also examines the systemic changes needed throughout the construction process, from demolishing to the design of new buildings, to making circular building standard practice.

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Areas such as Drottninghög in Helsingborg are in need of revitalization and development. Demolishing and building new buildings entails creating a greater environmental impact, more waste, and an increased use of resources in comparison with maintaining and renovating buildings. That is why reusing materials such as concrete could be an important method with which a reduction of the negative environmental effects could be achieved.

The Swedish contributors, KTH, Helsingborgshem and Strängbetong are presenting their first results and practical examples of how building materials can be reused.

 


April 21, 2022
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For at least half a century, concrete has been the world’s most used building material and, at the same time, accounts for the majority of both building materials and demolition waste and is carbon dioxide demanding. Despite its great potential, a very small part of the concrete is recycled. We want to change that in the ReCreate project!, says Erik Stenberg – architect and senior architecture lecturer at the KTH School of Architecture and the built environment (ABE) in Stockholm.

Erik Stenberg (Photo by KTH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ReCreate is an international EU-funded project that is led by KTH in Sweden, which, together with Helsingborgshem and Strängbetong, uses recycled concrete elements from, among other things, demolished houses in the residential area of Drottninghög in Helsingborg. The recycled concrete is then used as a building material in the Swedish project’s pilot which will be part of the city fair H22 City Expo in Helsingborg this summer.

”By reusing concrete elements and developing circular construction, it may be possible to reduce climate impact and waste volumes in the future. The project develops and examines the changes needed in the entire construction process when concrete is recycled; from demolition to the design of a new building and its dismantling, to see how it is possible to use all concrete elements or just parts of them in new buildings.” Erik Stenberg explains.

In January 2020, Helsingborgshem began demolishing three multi-family houses on Grönkullagatan on Drottninghög to make room for the new City Quarter. In connection with the demolition, concrete elements were dismantled and preserved, which have now been analyzed and recycled within the ReCreate project.

”We want to reduce both our climate impact and our waste volumes. Therefore, it feels important that we develop circular construction so that in the event of future demolition, we will hopefully be able to reuse concrete elements on a larger scale. During H22, we want to spread the knowledge and hope to inspire the real estate and construction industry to continue development in recycling”, says Christine Delander Eksten, project manager at Helsingborgshem.

 

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As part of the H22 City Expo at Drottninghög, several proposals for the recycling of concrete elements will be presented.

”There will of course be a focus on how new buildings can be created with old concrete elements. We will present and show how the exhibition building itself has been built and we will have 3D-printed models of cutting-edge projects from our ReCreate colleagues in Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands on site. The next generation of architects from KTH have made student projects based on the recycled concrete elements from Drottninghög and its dimensions and conditions”, says Erik Stenberg.

Visit ReCreate and the H22 City Expo between May 30 and July 3. Welcome to Drottninghög!

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More on H22

The international City Expo at Drottninghög will take place from May 30 – to July 3, 2022, where the city of Helsingborg will be inviting the world to take part in the city’s sustainable and innovative social solutions. Helsingborgshem will be developing the area, along with the residents, the city of Helsingborg, and various other partners. The innovative and dialogue-based approach has generated international interest and during the H22 City Expo, you will be able to see the development on site. There will be a folk festival, food, experiences, lectures, music, and exhibitions. Welcome to Drottninghög and H22 City Expo this summer!

More on the ReCreate pilot project

ReCreate’s Swedish pilot project during the city fair H22 City Expo will be a small building that is only a stone’s throw from the center of Drottninghög. The pilot project consists of recycled concrete elements and other concrete parts and is built on a concrete slab where a preschool previously stood. The concrete comes from demolished houses in Drottninghög and other demolition properties in Helsingborg. Extruded concrete will also include the concrete parts that have been left over in their production and windows and doors that will be recycled from the preschool, while the amount of newly produced material in the pavilion will be limited. After H22, the pavilion will be dismantled as it was designed to be disassembled easily. The project is currently working on finding recipients who can reuse the different parts after H22 and is co-financed by EU Horizon 2020.





EU FUNDING

“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958200”.

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