The ReBuilding the Royal City systems map and companion report aim to identify the enablers, barriers, and norms to fostering the circular economy in the construction, demolition, and renovation industry in Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario, Canada.
The research is based on a literature review and over 30 expert interviews. The key findings include the global demand for resources doubling, the interlinked climate, and affordability crises,, and the pressure to build net-zero, resilient, circular,, and affordable homes, and buildings. Although recycling solutions exist, less than one-fifth of Canadian CRD materials are diverted, and circular building design, and operation are basically non-existent in the region. Provincial leadership would have the biggest and most sustained impact system-wide, but local governments have many front-line regulatory interactions that shape the current system. There are few incentives, regulations, or building standards related to deconstruction, material reuse, and circular building design and operation.
However, businesses are working under tight margins using circular processes and developing circular products. The report suggests that knocking down barriers to foster the reuse of voluminous items like concrete, clean wood, brick, and gypsum would improve diversion rates and build the foundation of a reclaimed materials market. The report also highlights that homeowners face several barriers to turning information about upgrading their homes into action, and contractors play a crucial role in supporting them. Despite challenges, there are many potential opportunities to increase waste diversion, deconstruction, materials reuse, and the development of circular buildings in Guelph-Wellington.