Automation for a circular economy in construction
Catherine De Wolf Dr. ir. arch.
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
The building industry is the most resource-intensive sector in all industrialized countries, producing a third of all generated waste in Europe and more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, due to its linear extract-produce-use-dispose model. To remediate this detrimental condition, worldwide, a transition to a circular repair-reuse-recycling model is urgently needed in today’s construction sector. Due to rapid urbanization, it has become more attractive to demolish buildings and rebuild new ones rather than deconstructing them and reusing their materials. A fragmented supply chain prevents both the broad application of circular strategies and the uptake of digital technologies in construction practice. However, digital technologies could potentially help deconstruct buildings much quicker, cheaper, and smarter than before.
Catherine De Wolf develops research on digital innovation for a circular economy in construction and teaches regenerative life cycle design at TU Delft. Previously, she lectured and conducted a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). She obtained her civil engineering & architecture degree from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel / Université Libre de Bruxelles (VUB/ULB) and her PhD in Building Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also worked with the University of Cambridge, the European Commission, and Arup.