bulldozer carrying recycled paper

Circular economy and construction: from obsolescence to resilience

Press release06/20/2022

Between the growing need for housing and infrastructure - a quarter of the French housing stock in 2050 has not yet been built -, the need to reduce the impact of their activity on the environment, the strengthening of legislation (AGEC law, RE2020, Climate and Resilience law), the alarming global shortage of materials and the increase in energy prices: the players in the building sector must reinvent themselves, innovate and rethink their practices and construction methods to anchor them in an approach that is both sustainable in terms of the environment and sustainable over time.


From construction to deconstruction: the major fundamentals of the circular economy, because they consider each stage of a building's life cycle, represent an essential lever for meeting this challenge and rising to the challenges. To support and sustain the deployment of these new practices, the risk management players have a driving role to play. Understanding the new standards, making the techniques, technologies and new construction devices reliable, safe and implemented: these are all necessary prerequisites to enable the entire building and construction sector to commit to new virtuous approaches in the long term and in complete safety.

Our expert's opinion

The awareness is global and the observation shared by the players in the sector and society as a whole: we can no longer build as we did before. The preservation of natural resources and the objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions require a reduction in the volumes of waste produced and stored. And, in fact, to intelligently reuse existing materials where they are to avoid as much as possible the environmental impacts linked to transport, the main CO2 emitting sector... It is in this context that the circular economy applied to construction provides concrete and efficient answers," says Jean-Luc Nectoux, Director of the Infrastructure & Construction Sector Line at Apave. "When we talk about sustainable construction, we often think, wrongly, that it only concerns the choice of materials used. Biobased, geobased and recycled materials are obviously key elements. However, sustainable construction goes far beyond that!


It is now a question of anticipating and thinking about the before, during and after. Will the construction of a new building disturb the surrounding biodiversity? How will the site be supplied? What materials will be used? Where will they come from? What will happen to the waste from the site? How can we rethink the adaptability and the evolution of the uses of the built structure over time? If the building were to be deconstructed, what would be the potential for reuse and recycling of materials and equipment? How can we make the current building stock the material bank for future constructions? We are definitely leaving the era of obsolescence, which is now untenable, to enter the era of resilience: it is a complete paradigm shift that is absolutely necessary," he concludes.


downloadDownload the press release (french version)

Reuse to build better :

Reuse as a response to scarcity

According to Ademe, the building and public works sector generates 70% of the waste produced each year in France - i.e. 224 million tonnes of waste produced in 2020 - and only 1% of the Building Products and Materials (BPM) currently undergoes reuse.

In a context of global shortage of construction materials (wood, steel, PVC, bricks, tiles, etc.), and while the sector is committed to a voluntary policy of transition in its practices, the construction waste currently stored in the four corners of the country represents a reserve of materials for all players, and in particular for building craftsmen, who are currently in desperate need.

The example of the future Porte de la Chapelle Arena

A sustainable and circular project

In the context of a call for tenders by the City of Paris, Apave was chosen to carry out the solidity of the structures and the safety of people at the future Porte de la Chapelle Arena in the 18th arrondissement.

With a seating capacity of 8,000, in a space of 12,000 m2 with huge glass walls, wooden structures and a vast green terrace, this new facility will host the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will become the home of Paris BasketBall, while providing a new living space for the neighbourhood's residents.

With the main task of guaranteeing the solidity of the works and the safety of people, Apave must also ensure the acoustic and thermal insulation of the buildings, as well as compliance with regulations on accessibility for the disabled.

This large-scale project, in which Apave is a stakeholder, represents a real challenge due to its specific and unique characteristics, and mobilizes all of Apave's Group's expertise:

  • More than 7,000 m2 of green roofing, a process never before used on this type of roof, and 1,700 m2 of planted terrace
  • Recycled plastic bleacher seats from the circular economy, which require materials expertise in terms of durability and resistance
  • Compressed mud brick partitions from the Grand Paris Express excavation, also involving an appreciation of geosourced materials, but above all an increased knowledge of thermal and acoustic issues
hand with a newspaper

Your Press Contact

Brunswick Group :

Hugues Boëton et Aude Lepreux

06 79 99 27 15 - apave@brunswickgroup.com

Our other 

Press Realeases