has been mandated by The Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg to develop a standardized industrial solution to assess and promote the circularity aspects of construction products
+ImpaKT is a private consulting company, with the mission to raise awareness, promote innovation, and build a network that inspires and helps organizations, businesses, and individuals move towards a circular economy.
With core competences in natural and engineering sciences, the company focuses on understanding and managing the flow of materials and information in complex systems and it has become a key player in the transition to a circular economy in Luxembourg.
In the age of circular economy, it is not only resources that need to circulate, but also information. If there is no data associated with a product it is deemed to become waste at its end-of-life.
Thus, to assess and promote the circularity aspects of construction products – from raw materials to finished products, from the use phase to recycling and throughout the value chain -, reliable, universal, and structured product data are needed.
In this context, the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg launched The Circularity Dataset Standardization Initiative with the objective of reducing costs for manufacturers and other stakeholders.
By developing a standardized industrial solution within a regulated framework they will enable a common language that in turn will provide an efficient and secure exchange of circular product data between construction actors. The goal is to develop an industry-standard at the European or even international level (ISO or CEN type) and they are currently working at a European level to push this project forward.
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Today data is either available in non-standardized or even non validated formats, or it’s not available at all due to e.g. protection of IP rights. Consequently, to be able to evaluate the circularity of a product, the manufacturers need to search and rework their data manually to fit the various formats required by their customers and their product platforms, every single time. This is an expensive and difficult process.
The challenge is to enable manufacturers to establish and align with a common and transparent language on how to describe the circularity features of products to all the actors involved in the projects, mainly to the contractors that need the information first.
The Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg launched a call for tender to select a representative to carry out Phase 1 of the project: “Develop a proof of concept of industry standards”.
+ImpaKT was mandated to coordinate the activities to get leading players together and to research the need for Standardized Circularity Datasets. As a result, two dedicated working groups (Datasets Working Group (DWG) and Stakeholders Group) were formed, including key industry stakeholders.
The main objective of the Datasets Working Group was to develop standardized circularity datasets and methods. The Stakeholders Group was to follow progress and pilot datasets.
The need for standardized circularity datasets was reflected by the high participation rate observed through the engagement process. Around 100 manufacturing-related organizations from 12 different European countries expressed their interest in the initiative and more than 50% of these actors joined the two working groups.
Then +ImpaKT started looking for a company that would able to support them with an IT system to transform all the statements from the – Product Circularity Data Sheet (PCDS): a 23 pages word format-specific description model – or data template for us, in a digital manner.
The main objectives of the digitalization were to provide standardized and reliable characteristics (data) on product circularity to serve as a foundation that will support circularity evaluation and improve the sharing of circularity data across the supply chain.
Cobuilder was chosen for its expertise in the field of standard-based data management with the Cobuilder Define solution which helps organizations to create and maintain data templates. As a result, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding together last April.
Cobuilder’s task started with the selection of three Product Circularity Data Sheet (PCDS) sections like the “Product and company identification” to work on. Then we “translated” them into standardized properties with a dedicated PCDS context in Cobuilder Define. Thus, the selected PCDS statements became properties in Define, we established data templates and attached them to different construction objects to be able to show construction actors the API and how can use it.
Now, at each step of the value chain, stakeholders – responsible for their data – can use the same common structure to create their own product datasheet, populated with standardized data that allow circular use of the product, regardless of the future use of the product. In this way, all the different PCDS stored in decentralized ways can be linked together.
In addition, Cobuilder provided a draft description of how the exchange protocol works. Its focus is to explain how manufacturers can get a PCDS data template from Define and generate it in their own IT system for their own products and then make it accessible to their clients.
Phase 1 of the project is being achieved: the PCDS’s “light version” is now integrated into Cobuilder Define as digital standardized Data Templates.
+ ImpaKT selected 3 manufacturers to test this first “light” digital version of the PCDS during the pilot phase, and to that end, Cobuilder created a public view of construction object data templates.
To date, phase 2 of generalization with stakeholders has just been validated by the ministry.
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The Luxembourg initiative, led by +ImpaKT, to create a standardized industrial solution within a regulated framework is moving in the right direction. This new approach will enable the users – manufacturers – to reduce data production and transmission costs, increase efficiency, and work in a better way with their customers and partners.
On Cobuilder’s side, we aim to continue the implementation of the project and the good collaboration with +ImpaKT on Phase 2.
Next, Phase 3 of the initiative to transform the PCDS into a standard is a longer-term process that will take approximately 2 to 3 years.
We will soon keep you posted on the progress of this innovative project, which is driving our industry forward!