The circular economy transition: Barriers to building with biobased materials

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The construction sector is a major contributor to carbon emissions, which must be reduced due to climate issues. We are also getting closer and closer to the moment when certain materials will run out because construction mostly uses exhaustible raw materials. In addition, the Netherlands has to deal with a housing shortage which makes it necessary to build and farmers have to stop because of their pressure on the climate. "Biobased construction" is (partly) a solution to many different problems mentioned above. "Biobased construction" is the use of building materials made from fungi, plants, bacteria and animal material, which are grown, harvested, used and reused responsibly such as wood, wool and straw. These materials can be grown indefinitely so are regrowable and store carbon. The materials are also reusable and very lightweight. In addition, building with biobased building materials has other benefits such as health and biodiversity. Nevertheless, biobased building materials are built to a limited extent in the Netherlands. This research aims to find out why there is limited use of biobased building materials. This has led to the following main question: “What are the current barriers to the adoption of biobased materials and how do they influence uptake in the Netherlands?”. It was investigated using qualitative, inductive, and exploratory research through 12 interviews and document analysis, which were coded thematically to answer this. The basis of the interviewees' determination is the design of a biobased chain based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The following conclusion emerged from this research, the socio-cultural factors that form a barrier to the adoption of biobased building materials are reputation, leadership, traditional lobby, education and Dutch culture. Institutionally, certification, the euro and building code, the land-use plan, measurement methods and government form a barrier. Economically, affordability is a barrier and there are barriers in the chain such as the 'chicken-egg story' and staff shortages. There are also technical barriers such as specifications, the uncertainty of maintaining biobased materials, designing traditionally and the lack of data. Based on this research, several solutions can be recommended. In addition, this research largely serves as a basis for further research, for example, into possible solutions. Keywords: Biobased materials, building sector, circularity, buildings, barriers
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen