The building sector has a significant impact on the European economy and the environment. It represents about 9% of the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provides 18 million direct jobs.
At the same time, this sector is one of the main consumers of resources: it accounts for about 50% of all extracted materials, while also being responsible for over 35% of the EU’s total waste generation.
To address this, European buildings should adopt circular solutions to become more sustainable and resilient.
Within these circular solutions, nature-based solutions (or NBS) have an important role in the built environment. Like in the Austrian eco-village, Cambium, which is a real-life lab of innovative recycling and reuse practices.
In this eco-village, which used to be an army barrack, the inhabitants are testing and structuring a whole set of sustainable solutions step by step.
The key strategy consists of enhancing the interaction of these solutions. One of them is a so-called “Bio-Meiler”, a pile of wood compost, made from the waste of the community carpentry. But, there is also a green wall, consisting of several degrading rows of pots, with different plant species. They look beautiful, they smell good, but above all, they do an extremely valuable job.
“This green wall, for example, is effectively a nature-based solution. The plants and the micro-organisms basically do the work for us and without the use of additional energy: they filter and purify the water, from the toilets, the washing machines, and the showers so that it can be reused”, says Marco Hartl – an environmental engineer at alchemia-nova, the technical coordinator of the EU-funded project Houseful.
Since its launch in 2018, HOUSEFUL has been implementing innovative circular solutions in four demo buildings around Europe.
Find out more about the Cambium Demo building and how HOUSEFUL contributes to making the European building sector more sustainable and resilient by watching the project Video News Release.
VNR recorded by journalist Diego Giuliani
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