Rebuilding Green: Sustainability And Home Fire Insurance

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Rebuilding Green: Sustainability And Home Fire Insurance

Rebuilding Green: Sustainability And Home Fire Insurance

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Sustainability in building and construction in the framework of circular cities and the European New Green Deal. The contribution of concrete recycling

By Alessandra Bonoli Alessandra Bonoli Scilit Google Scholar 1, 2, * , Sara Zanni Sara Zanni Scilit Google Scholar 3 and Francisco Serrano-Bernardo Francisco Serrano-Bernardo Scilit Google Scholar 2

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Department of Civil Engineering, University of Granada, E.T.S. de Ingeniería de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Campus Universitario de Fuentenueva, Edificio Politécnico, 18071 Granada, Spain

Received: December 31, 2020 / Reviewed: February 8, 2021 / Accepted: February 8, 2021 / Published: February 17, 2021

Climate change and the ecological crisis pose a huge threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe has adopted the New Green Deal as a strategy to transform the Union into a resource-efficient competitive economy with no greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral within a few decades. The European Green Deal includes the new action plan for the circular economy, highlighting the importance of the “green design” of products, the saving of raw materials and waste prevention oriented along the entire life cycle of products. Construction and buildings represent one of the key themes for the green transition. In the European Union, buildings are responsible for 40% of our energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, which are mainly caused by construction, use, renovation and demolition. Improving environmental efficiency can play a key role in achieving Europe’s carbon neutrality which is expected to be achieved by 2050. In this research, it has been explored how eco-design, as an innovative approach in buildings and constructions, Life Cycle Thinking and Life Cycle Assessment, as a fundamental tool to support sustainability, and finally appropriate and effective processes for the recycling of Construction and Demolition Waste, particularly oriented towards the recycling of concrete according to the case studies analysed, can promote a circular economy in buildings and constructions.

Rebuilding Green: Sustainability And Home Fire Insurance

The built environment is commonly recognized as a major contributor to global environmental impacts. Up to 40% of all raw materials extracted from the lithosphere are consumed by this sector, which is responsible for approximately 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions [1]. In the European Union, buildings and constructions are responsible for a large part of total energy consumption (about 40%) and greenhouse gas emissions (36%) [2], along the entire chain from construction to demolition, passing through the use and maintenance .

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A more efficient use of materials, both at the beginning and at the end of their life cycle, would contribute significantly to reducing the environmental impact of buildings. This benefit would primarily be achieved through a reduction in the depletion of finite natural resources and less reliance on landfills.

The construction industry is also one of the world’s largest consumers of natural resources, using 50 billion tons of sand and gravel annually. As the main component of concrete, they are essential for all types of construction works and, considering the growing world population and urbanization, their demand will further increase in the following years. The global use of natural aggregates already has a significant impact on the environment and on human life. Most of the sand used is extracted from riverine or coastal areas with different risks of serious environmental impacts in terms of conservation of ecosystems of various rivers or beaches and islands and hydrological balance [3].

The need for a more sustainable and better use of natural resources in this sector has been recognized at EU level by the Raw Material Initiative [4]. This is reflected in the ambitious target that has been set to increase the recovery and recycling of construction and demolition waste (CDW) across Europe.

Around 1 billion tonnes of waste, or around one third of the total amount generated each year in the EU-27, comes from construction and demolition activities (C and D) [5]. However, at present, large quantities of these materials end up in landfills, without any form of recovery or reuse. CDWs urgently need to be managed appropriately and efficiently. Because of the impacts, not only environmental but also economic and social, Building and Construction (B and C) represent a hot spot compared to all other sectors [6].

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According to the definition of the UNEP—UN Environment Program [7], the Green Economy takes due account of all the natural resources from which the human species benefits without any compensation. It is a holistic approach, not just an economic one, which involves all community activities, particularly in two crucial areas: the supply and sustainable use of capital and natural resources. In this context, a fundamental role is played by government policies on sustainability, first of all by the global decline envisaged by the United Nations Agenda 2030 in 2015 [8], and four years later by the EU’s New Green Deal [9]. . This represents an intense and effective roadmap to make the EU economy sustainable by turning ecological and climate issues and environmental challenges into opportunities. The European Green Deal refers to buildings as one of the key themes for the green transition, making a key contribution to Europe’s carbon neutrality to be achieved by 2050 [10]. As a pillar of this process, the new Action Plan for the circular economy was adopted in March 2020, which underlines the importance of a “green design” of products which must be oriented towards reducing the consumption of raw materials and waste prevention throughout the product life cycle [11]. The main objective was identified in a strong reduction of CDW pursued through waste prevention and the improvement of recycling processes allowing for the production of high quality and highly efficient secondary raw materials. The EU Commission will act in several directions, considering many production fields, with particular attention to B and C. The European strategy for a sustainably built environment [12] represents in fact a complete and exhaustive plan aimed at guaranteeing a coherent integration between all strategic policy areas such as climate change, energy and resource efficiency, CDW management, etc. This strategy will promote circularity principles of construction throughout the lifecycle of buildings starting with an update of the Construction Products Regulation. The strategy includes the possibility to require appropriate recycled content for construction products, under the same conditions of quality and safety, and to adopt a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology in public procurement. Furthermore, according to the principles of the Circular Economy (CE), the new objectives in the recovery of CDW aim, in part, at an implementation of energy efficiency which is foreseen by an optimization of the life cycle performance and by a greater duration of the building stock.

New EU policies are promoting energy performance in buildings by considering financial leverage, facilitating access to finance for building renovations. In this direction, the “Clean Energy Package for all Europeans” [13] also promoted a robust revision of the previous directives on energy in buildings with the aim of guiding the clean energy transition of the EU. Each country will complement its National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) by adopting an energy strategy in buildings for 2021-2030, including nearly zero-energy buildings, energy performance certificates and smart technology in actions related to new buildings , with the aim of achieving the EU target of 32.5% in terms of energy efficiency by 2030 [14].

The European Green Deal was recently supported by the new EU Action Plan “Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water, and soil—building a Healthier Planet for Healthier People” [15], aiming to act on particular climate change and pollution problems by promoting prevention, reclamation and monitoring activities.

Rebuilding Green: Sustainability And Home Fire Insurance

Finally, the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) [16] represents an innovative focal point of the Circular Economy Action Plan, highlighting the importance of pursuing advanced solutions and actions at local and regional level. B and C could represent an excellent field of interest for Circular Cities strategies for minimizing environmental and social impacts in compliance with sustainability principles. They can put in

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