Waste is no longer acceptable in constructing buildings nowadays. Material loss is considered a design error and is expected not to occur anymore. The building meeting the new requirements is located in Heerlen in the Parkstad region. The Green Transformable Building, GTB-Lab in short, shows that you can build without wasting materials. Furthermore, the building can undergo various transformations, adapting the function of the building to the wishes of the user.

When designers consider the circular value chain in the development process, buildings of the future can continually safeguard their value. Such buildings are the key to the circular economy. Instead of being waste after time, buildings will be warehouses full of valuable materials. This means that business models can be made on the basis of this concept in order allow for a transition to a circular economy.

PIEK spoke to Dr Elma Durmisevic, the architect and pioneer behind the idea of the GTB-Lab. ‘In the future materials will be increasingly scarce, so the construction industry will have to see to it that such scarce resources used for buildings can be endlessly reused. The GTB-Lab proves that this is possible. It is a unique building deliberately making optimum use of materials. All materials can be recycled, and there will be zero waste if the GTB-Lab should be dismantled.’

‘But that is not all. In the GTB-Lab research is done to find further optimisation. Together with knowledge institutions and business partners, the GTB staff has various research projects under way, such as one looking into energy supply optimisation. What we have done for instance is install window panes made by Pilkinton which give off warmth on one side of the building, and on the other side we have installed window panes with strips that generate electricity. We are measuring the yield by means of sensors, etc., so over time we have been able to compile a very extensive database on the reuse potential of many materials used in the construction. With the data gathered by us other companies can easily calculate the reuse potential of their own constructions. This database will be officially launched in January 2023.´

The address of the GTB-Lab is In de Cramer 173, 6412 PM Heerlen, the Netherlands. Its website is www.gtb-lab.com.