1.2.1 Circularity for Consumer Products vs. Building Products

Course subject(s) Module 1. Introduction to Circular Economy for a Sustainable Built Environment

There are many ways to minimize the adverse environmental impact of consumer goods; there are strategies such as Refuse, Reuse, Repair, Recycling, etc. Great efforts can be made when designing products: products might be created so that they can be easily repaired, reused or recycled. But how about the built environment?

In the video below Marcel Bilow discusses the difference between circularity strategies for consumer goods and building products.

Circularity for Consumer Products vs. Building Products


  • When it comes to consumer goods there are various strategies to avoid creating waste and having a negative impact on the environment.
  • As users we can Refuse and Reuse. As designers we can design products taking into consideration their end-of-use by following Design for Disassembly (DFD) strategies.
  • Buildings are complex structures; material sorting after demolition is a very difficult task. In addition, buildings have a long life-span.
  • A good approach to avoid early demolition or creating waste at the end-of-service of a building is DFD. Incorporating DFD strategies in the earliest life-stages of a building will allow the transformation of the building or the reuse of its components at the end of its service.


If you are interested in the topic of Design for Disassembly and would like to learn more about it, you might have a look at the following list with additional reading materials (open-source):

  • Ciarimboli, N. and Guy, B. (2005). DFD Design for Disassembly in the built environment: a guide to closed-loop design and building. [pdf] City of Seattle, King County, WA: Resource Venture, Inc. by the Hamer Center for Community Design, The Pennsylvania State University. Available at: www.lifecyclebuilding.org.
  • Durmisevic, E. and Yeang, K. (2009). Designing for Disassembly (DfD). Architectural Design, [online] 79(6), pp.134-137. Available at www.wiley.com.
  • Rios, F., Chong, W. and Grau, D. (2015). Design for Disassembly and Deconstruction – Challenges and Opportunities. Procedia Engineering, [online] 79(6), pp.134-137. Available at www.elsevier.com.
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Circular Economy for a Sustainable Built Environment by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/circular-economy-for-a-sustainable-built-environment//.
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