Circular Built Environment

Construction is one of the most important economic sectors in Canada, generating $141 billion in GDP in 2020. Simultaneously, Canada’s construction sector generates more than 4 million tonnes of waste per year – with much of the value from these waste materials and resources currently being lost from Canada’s economy at end of life.

A circular built environment for Canada can generate multiple benefits, including reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions; improving the resiliency of supply chains; creating new economic, investment, and employment opportunities; enhancing natural ecosystems and urban green spaces; and providing greater equity and related social benefits.

This work stream goes beyond a focus on construction waste to encompass the entire built environment and real estate ecosystem in Canada, linking existing efforts together and going deeper on emerging topics that require further research and investigation. The work stream is looking to better define the business case for advancing the circular built environment in Canada to encourage further investment and innovation, including in circular design, material innovation, deconstruction and resource recovery, critical infrastructure, improved information and data (including on embodied carbon of products and materials), and procurement.

Current Projects & Initiatives

  • CELC has launched a project, Advancing Circular Economy in Canada’s Real Estate Sector, in collaboration with BOMA Canada, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), and others from the real estate, public, and private sectors focused on applying circular strategies to existing buildings (i.e., office space to begin) in order to extend the life of building assets through initiatives that include retrofits, repair and maintenance, and innovative / flexible leasing models. 
  • CELC is working with cement sector stakeholders to build on the outcomes from a virtual workshop in February 2022 that explored the expanded use of recycled aggregates for road construction in Canada, including technical standards and procurement best practices.
  • CELC is working with CSA Group and others to develop a framework for a national circular economy roadmap and action plan for the built environment and construction sector, building off our successful series of activities and collective research to date – including the 2-part virtual event series in April 2022 on accelerating the business case for action in Canada.

Previous Event Recordings

Publications, Blogs & Articles

Supporting Partners

  • BOMA Canada
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
  • Circular Innovation Council
  • City of Vancouver
  • CSA Group
  • EllisDon
  • EPIC Investments
  • Forestry Innovation Investment
  • Hullmark
  • Infrastructure Canada
  • Lafarge Canada
  • National Zero Waste Council
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
  • Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions (PICS)
  • Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
  • Vancouver Economic Commission

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