Our core programme of free evening
talks on diverse engineering aspects
of engineering culture. Open to all.
Structural Design in a Circular Economy
Monday 20 January 2020
6.30 - 8.00pm
The Building Centre
Store Street
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Speaker: Catherine de Wolf, Structural Xploration Lab | smart living lab | EPFL Fribourg

Current studies and performance labels focus mainly on the operational energy demand of buildings due to heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and hot water, but rarely do they account for embodied impacts: greenhouse gas emissions related to material extraction, transport to the construction site, constructing construction, maintenance, and demolition. Performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of an entire building structure, let alone a building, requires time and data, both of which are often lacking for practitioners of the construction industry. Therefore Catherine De Wolf developed the Database of Embodied Quantity Outputs (DEQO), collecting material quantities of existing buildings in a robust way directly from industry. The next step to lower the embodied carbon of buildings is not only assessing and reducing embodied carbon of buildings, but implementing strategies of a circular economy in the built environment. Lessons learned from the deconstruction practice on real case-studies will therefore also be presented.

As an École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) fellow, Dr. Catherine De Wolf is conducting research on environmental impacts of applying circular economy principles to building structures, in the Structural Xploration Lab (SXL) a research and development centre for the built environment of the future. She is also founder of De Wolf Environmental Design Thinking.