KTH Archives | Recreate

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.


March 2, 2022
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Tampere University researchers from WP 7 in Finland visited KTH and the Swedish country cluster in Stockholm in October 2021

Two researchers, Linnea Harala and Lauri Alkki, from Tampere University Work Package 7 in Finland visited KTH and the Swedish country cluster in Stockholm in October 2021. The research of Work Package 7 focuses on the business aspects within ReCreate and the first research deliverable focuses on mapping the local ecosystems of concrete element reuse. The examination of these ecosystems was initiated in summer 2021 within the Finnish Country Cluster by research interviews and ethnographic follow-up. After we had gained a basic overview of the actors, their linkages and ecosystem structures within the Finnish country cluster, we expanded our ecosystem research activities to the Swedish country cluster.

 

During the research visit to Stockholm, Linnea and Lauri were warmly welcomed to KTH by the Swedish country cluster. This first research visit included formal and informal activities facilitating to get to know each other during meetings, campus tours and delicious lunches. The main research activities included research interviews with the key ecosystem actors and ethnographic follow-up on a reference project site visit and during the Swedish country cluster meeting. However, in addition to these research activities, networking and exchanging knowledge between the country clusters was also of great importance for the collaboration between the Finnish and Swedish country clusters.

 

ReCreate’s first cross-country cluster research visit exceeded our expectations and laid the groundwork for international future research collaboration within ReCreate. International collaboration was soon initiated as at the beginning of 2022 researchers from the Finnish country cluster started a joint research publication project together with researchers from the Swedish country cluster. This article aims to create an understanding of the concrete element reuse ecosystems in Finland and Sweden. All in all, this research visit was a great way to initiate cross-country cluster collaboration within ReCreate, exchange ideas and knowledge and ultimately improve ReCreate’s influence to maximize impact.

Photo credit: Hanna Kalla, KTH





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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