CO2NSTRUCT: Modelling the role of circular economy construction value chains for a carbon-neutral Europe

Project Details


Circular Economy integration into climate action and policy is limiting the EU's advancement to achieve carbon neutrality as fast as possible. Widely applied TIMES energy-climate mitigation models detail the use of technology and technological advances in its GHG abatement pathways. Because CE practices are technical, CO2NSTRUCT deems TIMES the ideal proxy model to shift climate mitigation models from linear to circular. This project will delineate a “circular climate mitigation” framework to augment TIMES models at a first stage, but that can serve as an imprint for other climate mitigation models. The focus will be on six pervasive carbon-intensive construction materials – steel, cement, brick, glass, wood, and insulation – to map six value chains with explicit feedback loops and quantified rebound effects, key of CE practices. Social and environmental externalities will be accounted for, including GHG & air pollutants emissions, water usage, embodied energy, energy poverty, employment, and inequalities. Once these and other CE measures are identified in the key industries of the six materials, CE tools as LCA and MFAs can be coupled to the TIMES model. TIMES will run several CE scenarios to quantify the role of CE for EU+ climate mitigation in the near-term and future, always ensuring carbon. Outcomes will be translated into useful and effective policy support information for sustainable climate mitigation, minimising conflicts across SDGs (both in EU+ and rest of the world). Although the framework is applied to the whole EU+ energy production and consumption system (disaggregated per country), CO2NSTRUCT will emphasize two economic case studies or clusters: (1) offshore renewable energy production and (2) buildings. CO2NSTRUCT anticipates that the framework can be used globally by climate mitigation modelers and policy makers. CE integration into climate action will drive EC’s goal to increase EU GDP by 0.5% by 2030.

Key findings

Short titleCO2NSTRUCT
Effective start/end date01/06/202231/05/2026

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Centre of Renewable Energy Resources and Saving
  • University of Sheffield
  • Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia
  • University of Pisa
  • Ruhr University Bochum

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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