Research project RessProKA: Closing Product Cycles in the Interior Fit-out
As a partner in the funding measure "Resource Efficient Circular Economy – Innovative Product Cycles" (ReziProK) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Lindner is involved in the research and development of circular business models, design concepts and digital technologies for the construction sector as part of the RessProKA project.
The funding measure ReziProK with 25 sub-projects addresses many exciting facets of the circular economy, in addition to the intensification of product use, for example, also the blockchain topic. At Lindner, everything initially revolves around recyclable floor and ceiling systems as well as a rental and return system for floor tiles. On 23 and 24 June 2022, the results of ReziProK and RessProKA were presented in Berlin after a project duration of around three years.
The Initial Situation in the Construction Industry
With a turnover of almost 140 billion euros and about 1.2 million employees, the finishing trade in Germany is one of the most important sectors of the construction industry. Constantly changing tenants' needs and regular changes of use lead to frequent conversions of commercial premises at short intervals. Accordingly, the materials and resources used here have a significantly shorter turnover time – often less than ten years – compared to shell construction: The end of life of the products is thus never reached in some cases. The RessProKA project intervenes at this point: Technical cycles are to be optimised and new business models for reuse, further use and recycling introduced. In this way, conversions and refurbishments can be supported in a resource-efficient way.
Circular Economy in Interior Fit-out
Together with the project partners of the Institute for Infrastructure - Water - Resources - Environment (IWARU) and the Institute for Waste and Environmental Studies (BIFAS), Lindner developed a solution approach on the topic of "Closing resource-efficient product cycles in the interior finishing trade through new business models": Because while the individual trades such as floors, ceilings and walls were previously regarded as individual solutions, the interior is now regarded as a unit with different elements. When a tenant changes, the universally applicable system products should thus ideally remain directly in the building: Only a new arrangement according to the ideas of the architects and building operators takes place. This means that no energy is used, or rather wasted, for transport or for the disposal and manufacture of new building products. If this is not possible, the products are taken back, checked and reprocessed to be used in another building.
Building Circularly at Lindner
In order to put this theory into practice, the business model was first worked out using the Lindner NORTEC raised floor as an example. The floor panel made of gypsum fibre has an average service life of more than 50 years – if it were to remain in use until the end of its service life. Here, Lindner creates the basis for the reuse of system products: The forward-looking, modular design of the products for floor, ceiling and wall enables the repeated installation and removal of the components – a unique selling point in the construction sector. In this way, the model closes a gap, as shown by simulated sales talks with potential customers. What is also special is that a reused floor panel from Lindner is in no way inferior to a new product in terms of structural-physical properties. In addition, the CO2 balance of the reprocessed variant is significantly better. The refurbished raised floor panels LOOP aurum have already been awarded with Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold.
At the end of the conference, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Rall of DHBW Stuttgart in particular was very confident: He expressed his gratitude for the many different approaches, which made him feel positive because they are already working and being implemented in practice – such as Lindner's circular floor systems.