Introducing circular aspects in construction, both by avoiding unnecessary demolition and related waste and the usage of recycled and renewable materials.
Construction waste makes up a large part of urban waste and the energy consumption of construction projects is significant. In the context of urbanization, it can be expected that cities will continue to grow which makes new construction projects inevitable to provide the necessary infrastructure for new residents.
The City of Hamburg strives to reduce the construction-related emissions by examining beforehand of building demolitions whether renovation instead is possible instead to avoid grey emissions. When new construction is inevitable, the use of sustainable material is preferred. Both renewable materials such as wood as a construction material and recycled material such as RC-concrete are to be used for public construction projects and those projects publicly supported.
In order to support wood construction, there is a public subsidy of 80 cents per kilogram of wood used in the construction process also for private applicants. Moreover, regulation has been adapted to allow for wood construction projects above 3 stories which was the previous limitation. The public investment bank in Hamburg (IFB) offers seminars and information events on wood construction. Generally, a wood construction strategy is to be developed to exploit the potential in terms of climate protection, resource conservation, cost efficiency and city development.

Resources needed

Financial resources needed to set up a subsidy. Human resources are needed to adapt regulation, to organise information events and establish networks.

Evidence of success

Wood construction projects are becoming more frequent in Hamburg and one can observe an increasing sensibility for circular and sustainable construction, for instance among semi-public stakeholders. The new coalition agreement will further induce an additional drive to circular construction.

Potential for learning or transfer

The stakeholders benefiting from the support scheme are construction companies involved in public projects such as housebuilding or construction of public buildings such as schools. Thereby, the usage of recycled and renewable material on a larger basis increases the demand and will both drive of the supply and drive down the cost of recycled material. Also, learning effects in planning and construction further drive down the price. This way, also private construction projects benefit and have an incentive to use recycled and renewable material. The findings can also be transferred interregionally giving stakeholders from other European regions the chance to benefit.
Main institution
Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Senate Chancellery
Hamburg, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
January 2019
End Date


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