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News 23 apr 2018



The Alfa-college in Hoogeveen is planning a large-scale transformation of its school building: demolition, renovation and new construction. The project, named Volta 2020, is being positioned as an example of circular construction — a project for learning while doing and from experience. The current building, which has a floor area of 19,750 m2, has been mapped as a ‘resource mine’. The registration in Madaster, the registry of materials, means that all the building materials will be provided with an identity via a so-called material passport. This will enable the organisation of future high-quality reuse of those materials.

Madaster was founded to promote the application of reusable materials and investments in clever designs that support circularity and eliminate waste. Madaster functions as an online library that documents materials and buildings, similar to the registration of property ownership and land division at a land registry. All users of Madaster can generate a material passport for their buildings.

‘The comprehensive information in a material passport may help building owners, designers and builders make new considerations during the process of designing, construction and management of buildings. In addition, on the basis of the material passport, financing companies will be able to include the value of materials in the total valuation of the object in question.’ Pablo van den Bosch, board member of the Madaster Foundation

The Alfa-college is the first educational institute to register its school building in Madaster. The basic assumption is to use this registration for educational and research purposes — to set up an innovation workplace, or living lab. A place for learning while doing, in practice; where inspiration and the future are leading. Students following intermediate/higher vocational education will be involved in the entire process via the innovation lab Noordelijk Innovatielab Circulaire Economie (N.I.C.I.).

‘Our registration means that all of the materials will be awarded an identity, via the material passport. This enables their future high-quality reuse. Our ambition for circular building construction is obviously not without commitment. Alfa-college takes its social responsibility, both as an organisation and as an educational institute.’ Jos Nijhof, facility services manager at Alfa-college.

The northern Netherlands explicitly focuses on the circular economy. Collaborations and relationships are paramount in this transition. Therefore, N.I.C.E. is purposefully connecting various parties to achieve circular innovations, in an open innovative process. Alex van Oost, involved in the establishment of N.I.C.E., is a driving force behind further developments in the region. ‘The Volta 2020 project is not alone; it is part of a growing trend around the circular economy, in the north of the country. I can see new collaborations emerging, such as those here within the educational sector, as well as between other sectors to do with waste, construction, chemicals and agriculture. Volta 2020 is one of the stepping stones towards that circular northern practice.’

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