GERMANY – ‘Regenerative buildings’ improve energy efficiency
In the southwestern German city of Pirmasens, there is a “regenerated” pavilion. The pavilion, which was completed in early 2021, is located at the Kaiserslautern University of Technology and was built almost entirely from waste building materials. The mayor of Pirmasens, Michael Maas, believes that the pavilion project is of great significance, “reflecting the harmonious integration of economic and social development with the concept of environmental protection and responsibility for future generations”.
The production of building materials is a highly energy-intensive industry, and the reuse of building materials contributes to a significant increase in energy efficiency. The recycling of construction waste in Germany began in the 1940s. At that time, due to the lack of building materials in municipal construction, many waste building materials were reused or recycled, and the waste bricks and tiles were processed into aggregates for the production of roadbeds, paving stones or building concrete.
In the 1990s, there were more than 400 construction waste recycling facilities in Germany. According to statistics, in 2018 Germany’s recycled aggregates accounted for 12.5% of all aggregates required by the country’s construction industry, and the recycling rate of mineral construction waste was 90%, much higher than the 70% required by the EU’s Waste Framework Directive. The recycling of construction waste plays a big role in the protection of gravel, sand and natural stone.