Current site: Peikko Group Global (English). Do you want to change country or language?

Peikko Group Global (English)

4 building blocks for sustainability - Block 4

Block 4: Leading way to sustainability: Circular Economy

Welcome to the world of sustainability. This article series by Peikko presents 4 building blocks for sustainability to make the construction sector more environmentally friendly.

This is the last article of the series, and it presents the circular economy as a system maximizing the use of resources. We discuss the main drivers of the circular economy and concrete actions and steps towards circular construction and design for disassembly.


What is the circular economy? 

Circular Economy is an economy system that aims to maximize the use of resources by reusing, repairing, and recycling. The circular economy creates less waste and less need for the extraction of new resources. The aim is ideally a closed loop system – only a minimum amount of new resources are entering the economic system.


Why the circular economy?

The circular economy is much more than an inspiring trend and beautiful thoughts – there are heavy reasons behind it. The circular economy, among other things, drives innovation and reduces greenhouse gases and energy costs. It also aims at creating less waste, which in turn results in maintaining and maximizing the value of existing resources, and less space needed for landfilling. Within the principles of circular economy, there is less need for the extraction of new resources, which minimizes the embodied carbon and costs that resource extraction causes. Furthermore, the circular economy opens new business opportunities, such as business models for reprocessing and/or reusing waste, and creates new jobs. The circular economy is quickly becoming the new normal and enabling a more sustainable future for mankind.


Circular economy at Peikko

The constant operations toward circular economy started at Peikko in 2018 out of curiosity, innovativeness, and dedication to be a brave forerunner. Peikko wanted to show that it is possible to apply the principles of the circular economy in the construction sector too and set to lead the way.

During the year 2018, Peikko published the White Paper “In Search of a Bright, Circular Future!” and participated in the Circle House pilot project in Denmark. In 2019, Peikko created a roadmap for circular economy implementation and did the first pilot project of its own, and by 2020, Peikko already had a circular economy market strategy.

Currently, Peikko has a strong focus on sustainability and recycling in production activities as well as an emphasis on the benefits of Peikko’s solutions for its customers, most importantly savings in material volumes and costs.

Peikko aims to have a holistic view of the circular economy throughout different departments and their operations. For instance, Peikko’s sales activities have a strong focus on green products (DELTABEAM® Green, PETRA® Green), the IT department aims at reusing the existing IT technology whenever possible, and Peikko’s operations have goals to use remnant and scrap, reuse returned special products, and sourcing raw material with recycled content.

Peikko’s R&D has an important role in pursuing a circular economy. Their main goal is to establish a fully circular portfolio with the final aim of being able to provide a full circular building system. The focus has mostly been paid to developing the connections to enable the reuse of building components. Technical feasibility has been proven by practical experiments and, to validate the circular economy innovations, Peikko has carried out pilot projects that put the solutions and ideas to the real-life test.


Pilot projects

The first pilot project was carried out in 2019 to demonstrate how the bolted connections for precast structures enable circularity without compromising performance. The project was set up at Peikko’s premises in Finland and consisted of three columns, each cast differently to demonstrate the differences in the time and effort of disassembly. The main finding was that even the hardened grout could be removed with only a small effort.

Encouraged by the results, Peikko carried out the next project in 2021; dismount and reuse of precast concrete frame. The project consisted of the assembly, dismount, and reassembly of a frame consisting of a foundation slab, 3 pcs of DELTABEAM® Green, 6 pcs of reinforced concrete columns, and 10 pcs of hollow core slabs.

Currently, the third pilot project is in progress, and it is an implementation in a real residential building under construction. The project consists of Peikko’s DELTABEAM®s and ATLANT® Strong Composite Columns together with bolted connections.  


Pilot projects offer many interesting learnings, such as the fact that Peikko’s connections have technical feasibility for allowing dismount and reuse. The dismount of structures can be done efficiently, and no structures were damaged during the dismount process. The connections are sturdy and designed to allow the reassembly of structures. The weakest link is the bond between concrete structures cast at separate times whereas grout can be removed without damaging precast. There is no need for an excessive use of grout – it should be used only where it is needed. Neither there is a need for a debonding agent at the joints between grout and precast.

The main focus of the pilot projects has been on the technical feasibility, and solving the systemic or economic challenges of reuse has not been part of the projects.


Next steps towards circularity

In the near future, Peikko aims to establish a fully circular portfolio with the ultimate goal of being able to provide a full circular building system. Further work is needed to complete the portfolio with the vertical joint between two precast wall elements (wall-to-wall connections). Simultaneously, Peikko works on a study for the economic and environmental impact of reusability and a design concept manual about Peikko’s circular solutions. The manual provides ideas for the customers, presents the structures suitable for dismount, and connection details based on practical experience. 

Peikko also contributes to the Design for Disassembly ecosystem project funded by Business Finland and in collaboration with the University of Tampere, Finland. The main goal of the DfD project is to overcome systemic, economic, and technical challenges related to the reuse of building elements, and to provide material to update the current design standards. The project is ongoing and estimated to be completed by 2025.   


We in the building industry need to be innovative in creating economical yet ecological solutions good for people. We need to provide products and solutions that greatly improve the sustainability of buildings during their whole life cycle. In addition, by providing our customers with products manufactured using recycled raw materials with lower CO2 emissions, even challenging environmental targets can be achieved sooner than expected.

Thank you for joining us on the journey of sustainability building blocks – stay tuned for future updates.