Digitalization for Circularity in the Built Environment

Anna Batallé Garcia is a PhD researcher at the Department of Management in the Built Environment (MBE). In collaboration with her supervisors Ulrich Knaack from Architectural Engineering (AET) and Prof.dr. Paul Chan and dr. Tong Wang from MBE, she is exploring the potential of digitalization to support circular flows of materials in the AEC sector. With a focus on the façade industry, her research aims to learn from current industry forward processes to establish a systematic approach towards deconstruction and disassembly of façade components enabled by digitalization. In this video, Anna introduces the concepts of digitization and digitalization while presenting examples that explore the integration of several digital tools to shift the current paradigm towards a Circular Built Environment.

Main Takeaways

  • Digitization is simply the process of converting physical data, also referred to as analog data, into a digital format.
  • Digital Tools (DTs) refer to the various technological solutions that enable us to collect, share, analyze, and automate data.
  • Digitalization can be understood as the application of Digitized Data, and Digital Tools to impact how processes are performed. Digitalization can help us address many of the challenges we face when trying to transition towards a more circular economic model.
  • Digitalized workflows can consist of several stages and depending on their scope, employ different digital tools. As research continues to advance and refine digital tools, it is essential that we understand how we can combine them to create integrated approaches that streamline current circular processes, paving the way for a circular built environment.

Further Reading

Literature Reviews on Digital Tools for a CBE

Çetin, S., De Wolf, C., & Bocken, N. (2021). Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework. Sustainability, 13(11), 6348.

Liu, Q., Trevisan, A. H., Yang, M., & Mascarenhas, J. (2022). A framework of digital technologies for the circular economy: Digital functions and mechanisms. Business Strategy and the Environment, 31(5), 2171-2192.

Yu, Y., Yazan, D. M., Junjan, V., & Iacob, M.-E. (2022). Circular economy in the construction industry: A review of decision support tools based on Information & Communication Technologies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 349, 131335.

Chen, Q., Feng, H., & Garcia de Soto, B. (2022). Revamping construction supply chain processes with circular economy strategies: A systematic literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 335, 130240.

Digitalised Workflows for CBE

Gordon, M., Batallé, A., De Wolf, C., Sollazzo, A., Dubor, A., & Wang, T. (2023). Automating building element detection for deconstruction planning and material reuse: A case study. Automation in Construction, 146, 104697.

Çetin, S., Gruis, V., & Straub, A. (2022). Digitalization for a circular economy in the building industry: Multiple-case study of Dutch social housing organizations. Resources, Conservation & Recycling Advances, 15, 200110.

Platforms and Projects Discussing CBE

Digital Circular Lab.

Digital Deconstruction. Advanced Digital Solutions Supporting Reuse and High-Quality Recycling of Building Materials


Anna Batallé Garcia
Anna Batallé Garcia
PhD Researcher

Anna Batallé Garcia holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in architecture and a Master’s in Robotics and Advanced Construction from IaaC. She has previously worked for Ceràmica Cumella experimenting with robotic fabrication applied to tailored ceramics manufacturing, and at Eurecat on European Union’s Horizon 2020 projects related to new construction technologies for building stock decarbonization.  

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Circularity for Educators

The platform is intended to provide with content on either circularity or pedagogy for and about circularity. It is one of the outcomes of the Circular Impulse Initiative (CII), a project intending to enhance the integration of circularity in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment education. The platform mainly aims to help tutors get better acquainted with circularity in the built environment by providing a series of resources on this subject that they can either view to get better informed or directly share with their students in class or online. A large number of the Faculty's professors and researchers have contributed substantially both in creating a coherent narrative for circularity in the built environment as well as further elaborating on different aspects of it. Besides this one, a new platform for interaction and direct exchange was also established in parallel that we call ‘Educators for Circularity‘. This one offers the opportunity for all of us to meet and share our experiences and learn from one another.

Visit Educators for Circularity