A circular economy life cycle costing model (CE-LCC) for building components

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The building industry is responsible for the highest resource use, amount of waste and emissions of all industries. The principles of the Circular Economy (CE) could offer an approach to create a more sustainable built environment. For a transition towards a circular built environment, a comprehensive assessment method is needed to support the development of circular building products. As a step towards such a method, we developed an economic assessment in the form of a Circular Economy Life Cycle Cost (CE-LCC) model. It is based on existing Life Cycle Cost techniques and adapted to meet the requirements of CE products. The model is developed to (1) consider products as a composite of components and parts with different and multiple use cycles, (2) include processes that take place after the end of use, (3) provide practical and usable information to all stakeholders, and (4) facilitate alignment of the functional unit and system boundaries with LCA. To test the model, it has been applied to the case of the Circular Kitchen (CIK). Three variants of the CIK were compared to each other and the ‘business-as-usual’ case to determine which variant is the most economically competitive on the long term. The model indicates that the most flexible variant of the CIK has the lowest LCC outcome, even when considering multiple interest, lifespan and remanufacturing and recycling scenarios. Although, the model could benefit from further research and application, it can support the transition towards a more sustainable (building) industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104857
Number of pages11
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Building components
  • Built environment
  • Circular economy
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle costing
  • Net present value


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