World’s first circular pavilion leads the way in circular building

door: Petran van Heel , Madeline Buijs , Bram van Amerongen

In this new report ‘A Future proof built environment’ ABN AMRO and Circle Economy share all the insights ABN AMRO has gained in developing and building the circular pavilion, Circl. This pavilion is an inspiring example in the middle of the Amsterdam Central Business District Zuidas, showing that circular business models are the future. ABN AMRO also stresses the shift in roles, responsibilities and opportunities for companies operating in the construction realm. Circular business models have a huge potential for and impact on the Construction & Real Estate sector: from vertical mobility as-a-service to everlasting thermal batteries and ‘harvesting’ products and materials from end-of-use buildings.

The construction industry is a heavy user of raw materials. In the Netherlands the sector consumes approximately 60 million tonnes, making it responsible for about half the total consumption of raw materials in the Netherlands. Every year, it produces 23 million tons of demolition waste. Currently, only a few percent of the materials in residential and non-residential buildings are given a proper second life. We can do better, and we have to do better. According to the vision of the Dutch Government which states we have to reduce raw materials with 50% before 2030 in order to be a fully circular economy in 2050.

Accelerating the transition to a circular economy

ABN AMRO aims to accelerate the transition to the circular economy. ABN AMRO has put this into practice with the build of Circl. ‘‘Circl is a perfect fit with ABN AMRO’s sustainability goals, entitled Mission 2030. The bank is going all out to make its real estate portfolio more sustainable: all buildings should have an average energy label of A by 2030. In applying and facilitating circular business models, we aim to make even more of a contribution to a future-proof society,” states Kees van Dijkhuizen, CEO of ABN AMRO.

Together with our partner ABN AMRO, we show that circular construction is past the start-up phase. Businesses and cities now need practical, scalable solutions so that the built environment can be developed or redeveloped in a future-proof manner. We develop these solutions together with our partners in the international Circle Built Environment,” comments Harald Friedl, CEO of, Circle Economy.

The report envisions a future-proof Construction & Real Estate sector through circular business models, according to Petran van Heel, Sector Banker Construction & Real Estate at ABN AMRO. “We have formulated some clear-cut objectives to help speed up the transition to a circular economy.  And, in order to speed up this transition we do not talk about copyright, but the right to copy. Circl is the most tangible example of this philosophy. The pavilion in the Zuidas district, with its optimum implementation of circular principles, is the result of partnerships we are proud of.

ABN AMRO, on the way to circular economy in the built environment

In Circl ABN AMRO developed, in close co-operation with our partners, new tools and partnerships to support the circular economy.

For example, we created a highly innovative, detailed 3D material passport, one of the future building blocks of circular economy. By applying material passports, we define what materials are used and when they will be available for re-use. This way, it becomes a lot easier to reuse materials, minimize waste, and to reduce the cost of material consumption. Improved insight into the use of materials will stimulate the circular economy, and will lead to better design solutions.

ABN AMRO is also one of the early Kennedy’s of Madaster. The Madaster Platform is designed as a public, online library of materials in the built environment. It facilitates registration, organization, storage and exchange of data (e.g. material passports). It is Madaster’s mission to eliminate waste by providing materials with an identity.

Another Dutch Initiative ABN AMRO is partnering in is the New Horizon Urban Mining Collective. All partners are larger corporations, with companies which are able to accelerate and to scale up. Our mission is to find a circular solution for the mismatch between the release of valuable raw materials during demolition and renovation of buildings and the demand for raw materials in renovations, transformations and new construction. We see cities as the source of new materials. Instead of demolishing buildings, the UMC carefully harvests the waste products. By re-using the retrieved building products and materials in new projects, we are literally building a circular economy based on new business models.

If you want to know more, the full report can be downloaded here:

abn-amro-construction-EN-20171129.pdf (4 MB)