RE4 stands for “Reuse and recycling of CDW materials and structures in energy efficient prefabricated elements for building refurbishment and construction”. It is a 42-month collaborative research project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Approximately 750 million tons/year of construction and demolition waste (CDW) is generated in Europe and not even 50% is recovered and re-used. Thus, the main purpose of the project is to develop a RE4 prefabricated energy-efficient building concept that can be easily assembled and disassembled for future reuse. The new building concept is aiming to achieve construction when up to 65% of the weight of the materials originates from recycled materials from CDW (ranging from 50% for the medium replacement of the mineral fraction, up to 65%). The reusable structures will range from 15-20% for existing buildings to 80-90% for the RE4 prefabricated building concept.
The RE4 project aims to radically modify the construction process and off-site production by promoting new technological solutions for the design and development of structural and non-structural pre-fabricated elements. This goal is aiming to leverage a high degree of recycled materials from CDW and reused structures from the partial or total demolition of buildings.
- Sorting system developed in this project is expected to maximize the percentage of recycled CDW from 80% up to 90-95%
- Production of high-application products
- Although many prefabricated components are being produced in Europe, none are made of CDW. The RE4 project aims to produce such prefabricated products.
- Easy installation, disassembly, and reuse
- Focus on anti-seismic performances and the needs of different European regions
- RE4 aims to develop a BIM-compatible tool to support building owners and construction and demolition companies by providing them with types and quantities of CDW that can be generated from a building
- RE4 will offer a centralized platform service connecting the users, while providing the updated information about the CDW availability in their region
- Recyclability of materials from demolitions of buildings is significant
- Excellent ROI (Return on Investment)
- Energy efficiency
- Cultural barrier: the main challenge RE4 project is expected to face is the social acceptance of the RE4 components. This issue is twofold. First, the studies have shown that the general public is rather hesitant about the idea of using “waste” for the construction of buildings. Second, the prefabrication has yet to become popular among construction companies.
- Regulatory barrier: each state regulates the construction processes through national norms and standards and it is yet to be determined whether the RE4 products will fulfil the norms (certification and standardization) of all European states.
- Cost perceived: in addition, deep renovation of a building is often as costly as building anew. Currently, new construction is often a preferred method as building owners are discouraged by the cost of deep renovation. Moreover, the public is not sufficiently informed about the ecological impacts of demolition and subsequent construction process, and might be unaware of the ecological advantage that the RE4 project can offer.
RE4 Consortium consists of 13 partner institutions from the academic environment, science, and industry located in 8 countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and United Kingdom).
The RE4 partners are the following: CETMA – project coordinator, Acciona, ACR+, Queen´s University Belfast, RI.SE, CDE, CREAGH Concrete, Fenix TNT, Roswag Architekten, STAM, Stress, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology and Vortex Hydra.