Resource efficiency in the building sector indispensable

Resource efficiency targets were in the centre of attention
  at the EQAR Congress “Construction Material Recycling in Europe” held on May 8, 2015 in the Dutch Rotterdam (Fig. 1). Josefina Lindblom (DG Environment of the EU Commission) said in her special report that the EU Commission pursues the aim to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings throughout their life cycles. For this aim European assessment tools and guidelines have to be developed and applied. Furthermore an increase in using recycled construction materials in the construction and maintenance of buildings is striven for. This will contribute to improving functioning of the market for recycling, construction and demolition wastes.

In further reports and papers from the member states it became apparent that the state and the general conditions for construction material recycling differ essentially in the individual EU member states. This is also reflected in the discussions held in the European Standardization Committee CEN/TC 351 “Construction Products – Assessment of Release of Dangerous Substances” where as regards the test methods for the release of dangerous substances from granulates also the extremely differing Dutch and German views complicated agreeing on a uniform European column test. Nevertheless a European test standard for granulates shall be adopted still this year.

The Vice-President of EQAR Günter Gretzmacher from Austria emphasized the necessity of creating uniform general conditions for construction material recycling. Though granulates are construction mass materials marketed regionally a border traffic crossing internal EU borders is of high importance for implementing an internal European market for construction products. Gretzmacher demands uniform European targets for the end-of-waste and the product recognition of quality-assured recycled construction materials. EQAR may pay a contribution to it by its European quality assurance system.

For the first time the EQAR Award was granted at the EQAR Congress this year. The invitation for nominations for the innovation award extended by EQAR in December was directed to persons, companies and institutions paying a contribution to increasing the acceptance, quality and profitability of recycled construction materials in Europe by innovative developments in the processing technology, by research and development work and the engagement on political and association level. Thereupon numerous innovative applications were sent to EQAR. The EQAR Award was granted to the company “Wärmekombinat GmbH” (Germany) for innovative floor heat accumulators made of recycled bricks. In addition recognition prizes were awarded to CDE Global (Ireland) (Fig. 2) for an innovative wet processing sytem (Fig. 3), to the company PROSPECT” (in Nové Zámky, Slovak Republic) for making a contribution to high-quality construction material recycling in the Slovak Republic and to the Institute of Archtitecture Technology of the Graz University of Technology (Austria) and to the Sto AG (Germany) for the joint development of a recyclable heat insulation composite system based on velcro fasteners.

In his panegyric the Chairman of the Technical Committee Martin Car from Austria emphasized how difficult it was for the jury to take the decision as all prize-winners paid an outstanding contribution to further developing construction material recycling in Europe.


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