The REDUCES project is entering the final stage of its first phase aiming the exchange of experiences and knowledge within and between the regional authorities in order to apply them in the design of the best action plans to support environmentally sustainable business models for each region and policy.

In the specific case of the Valencian Community, the Second Vice-presidency and Regional Ministry of Housing and Bioclimatic Architecture, in collaboration with REDUCES project partners IVE and UPV, have committed to improving the standard that regulates design and quality requirements in residential buildings (DC-09).

During this first phase of the project most important categories of CE business models (Product life-extension, Renewability, Sharing platforms, Product as a service, Resource efficiency and recycling) have been analysed and evaluated. Valencia Region is paying special attention to those operating in the construction sector to identify the barriers that these innovative-oriented businesses can face in the above mention legislation but also with the purpose of identifying other models that, although not present in the current regional market, can be promoted through changes in current legislation.

Regarding the DC-09, one of the actions that has been launched is the creation of a committee for the review, upgrade and drafting of this regulation. The commission, presented past 28th January, is made up of experts from different fields who will address among other topics the essential transition towards a circular economy.

In the past few months, some necessary changes in the policy instrument (DC-09) have already been identified. One of the main ideas is to promote renovation as much as possible and to opt for it over demolition whenever possible, trying for example that any building coming from other uses can be renovated and turned into a housing building. For this, some requirements regarding certain dimensional, functional, or technical issues must be made more flexible. This strategy is clearly linked to Product life-extension and Resource efficiency and Recycling business models, which seek to extend the life of products and components through repair, refurbishment, and resale to second markets, and to recover energy or resources from waste or by-products.

We have seen clear examples of business models that are committed to this strategy in other fields such as: MultiNET LTD integrated business system to extend the life of IT products, or Exodus remanufacturing automotive components business model. In the case of the Circular Renovation in Werkspoorkwartier, we learned how an old industrial building (factory) was renovated in a circular way as a communal building for businesses (another use) by creating interior modular spaces (box-in-box system).

Vera Valero Escribano
Valencia Institute of Building

Photo: Giuseppe Buccola