Design guidelines for circular building components based on LCA and MFA: The case of the circular kitchen

A. van Stijn*, L. C.M. Eberhardt, B. Wouterszoon Jansen, A. Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction. The building sector consumes 40% of resources globally, produces 40% of global waste and 33% of all emissions. The transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) in the built environment is vital to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as responsible consumption and production. The built environment can gradually be made circular by replacing the current 'linear' building components with circular ones during maintenance and renovation. However, there are many possible design alternatives for circular building components; knowledge on which variants perform best - from an environmental perspective - is lacking. Methods. In this article, we develop environmental design guidelines for circular building components. First, we synthesize design variants for an exemplary circular building component: the Circular Kitchen (CIK). Second, we compare the environmental performance of these variants and a 'business-as-usual' variant by applying a Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Finally, from the results, we derive design guidelines. Results. We synthesized four design variants: (1) a kitchen made from bio-based, biodegradable materials, (2) a kitchen made from re-used materials, (3) a kitchen which optimises lifespans and materials, and (4) a modular kitchen in which components (with varying lifespans) are re-used by the manufacturer. From the LCA and MFA, we derived 7 design guidelines, which include: consider building components as a composite of sub-components, parts and materials with different and multiple use-, and life-cycles; match the materialisation of each part with the expected life cycle (merely substituting for re-used or low-impact materials does not provide the most circular design); facilitate various loops (e.g., repair, re-use, recycling) simultaneously. Conclusions. The presented design guidelines can support industry in developing circular building components and, through implementation of these components, support the creation of a circular built environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042045
Number of pages8
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventWorld Sustainable Built Environment - Beyond 2020, WSBE 2020 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 2 Nov 20204 Nov 2020


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