Two engineers inspecting inside pipe

Why a successful circular economy requires action now

In this episode, Felix Heisel, Assistant Professor and Director of the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell University, discusses why circular economy is ideal for the construction industry.

Listen now on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Podcasts, and watch on YouTube.

Earth has finite resources and industries are key consumers of those resources — some bigger than the others. The construction industry marks significant impact on the environment and the world economy, with its consumption of resources, such as energy and raw materials, and generation of waste. The “take-make-waste” model of linear economy is not considered as feasible to the planet anymore. With rising urbanization and decreasing resources, the need to shift toward a better, sustainable model is at hand. Hence, the emergence of circular economy. The footprint of construction can be lessened by shifting the paradigm from linear economy toward circularity. Felix Heisel, Assistant Professor and Director of the Circular Construction Lab at the Cornell University, explains why circular economy is an opportunity for reducing waste and pollution, encouraging reuse and regenerate culture and inspiring thinking beyond today.

Key takeaways:

  • The goal is to make sure every material used for construction can be reused or recycled.
  • Most of the existing buildings are not designed to fulfil circularity requirements. Hence, urban mining is faced with obstacles, such as contaminants and by-products.
  • Enacting circular economy creates more jobs, eliminates waste and reduces pollution and CO2 footprints.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available.


Mitali Sharma

Mitali Sharma
Former host, Decoding Innovation podcast

EY logo

Felix Heisel
Assistant Professor and Director of Circular Construction Lab, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University


Episode 7


0h 49m 41s