Team 5_4 // Fair Urban Mining (FUM) 

The Fair Urban Mining tool

Construction materials are everywhere we look, the floor we are standing on, the roof over our heads, in any man-made infrastructure you can think of. However, these materials did not just magically appear. They come from the exploitation of natural environments, extracting tons of raw materials from mountains for cement, forests for wood, seacoasts for sand and rivers for gravel to mention a few. In this one-use linear process, we pay a high price in the shape of air pollution, increasing the global temperature and contamination of drinkable water.

For the removal of the demolition waste, we need ever more and larger landfills. According to our research, every new building requires 97% of new materials and only 3% are reused from demolished buildings. So, why wouldn’t the construction sector recycle existing materials from demolished buildings? Our research reveals the following:

 

It is difficult to know what materials are in their surrounding buildings, how valuable they are, and what to do with them. Without mentioning the hassle that is to assess it.

 

In Fair by Nature, we want to tackle that problem and thus came up with the Fair Urban Mining (FUM) Tool. A tool that aims to take the construction sector from linear to circular.

Closing the loop to recycle building materials

FUM is an accessible online platform that only requires a couple of basic information that most customers already possess – additionally, we offer to enter more advanced information to make an even more precise assessment. After entering the required information FUM connects with our databases to analyse and assess the material used in the building. The output includes the following:

+ The total amount of materials split up by category.

+ The amount of money that can either be saved by reusing the material or earned by selling it.

+ The amount of CO2 emission that can be prevented per material. Through this, we add an ecological and another economical value by reducing CO2 taxes.

Target user / customer

We focus on contractors, architects, engineers, building material retailers, and governments. According to the EU about 35% of all current buildings in Europe are above 50 years old, and with the new Clean Energy regulations around 75% of the properties need to be renovated to meet the energy efficiency requirements. Furthermore, in the past 3-years the residential construction sector alone has increased by 17% in the Nordic region, with an estimated increase of 7.9% in the next year [1].

Is this feasible? … It’s already online!

FUM is being developed with state-of-the-art algorithms that connect with open and private databases that are constantly updating and feeding our own database on constructed buildings,  their materials, geolocalization and market value to generate a reference detail report on the target building.

Our pilot project was done in the city of the Hague where we first mapped the soon-to-be-demolished dwellings and extracted their materials and value. Granting a smart geographical overview. We tested its market potential by interviewing the principal stakeholders of the construction and demolition sector of the Hague. Their impression: They like it, and furthermore, invite us to contact them as soon as we have it running.

Financials

Our business model is composed of monthly and yearly subscription licenses. We offer a palette of consultancy services to facilitate our customers the transition from the business as usual to circular constructions, using as a foundation the numbers from FUM.

With the consultancy fee we plan to charge a certain percentage from the profit our customers make. This should be more customer-friendly since they do not have to worry about paying for a service that will cost them more than they will earn.

Impact

The construction sector is responsible for 39% (direct and indirect) global CO2 emissions. By using FUM and reusing the materials in an existing construction you can save up to 30 tonnes of CO2! That means 15 flights from London to New York.

One square meter of residential construction costs in average 250 euros, this is about 75.000 euros for an average house with 150 square meters! By reusing material from another site you can reduce these costs by 20 to 40%.

Our Team

We are an international team specialized in sustainable architecture, environmental impact, user experience research/design, and data analysis. We have worked together in transnational projects since 2016, and what brought us together was our passion to transform the construction sector from linear to circular!

With over a year of research and development, we are now ready to enter the next phase with FUM.

Simon Wehrli

UX Designer      specialization in human-computer interaction. 

simon@fairbynature.org

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Lia Alvarez

Environmental Impact  specialization in Industrial ecology.

lia.alvarez@fairbynature.org

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Sebastian Balart

Data Analyst      specialization in behavioral psychology. 

sebastian@fairbynature.org

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Ana Sabanovic

Architect     specialization in sustainable architecture.

ana@fairbynature.org

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