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Denne idé er en del af The Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste

8. oktober 2018


• What makes the solution circular?

The raw material for rammed earth is dug directly from the ground at the specific building site. A certain amount of sand, stone and water is added to make the correct mix regarding grain size and moisture level and then compacted into building blocks.

When the building is outdated and taken apart, the structures of rammed earth are 100% reusable. The solid walls are crushed and mixed with water, reactivation the clay particles. This makes a moist mixture ready to be processed/compacted again obtaining a new load bearing, solid structure.


• Which type of waste does the solution reduce?

Excavations at a new building site results in tons of material to be transported away and replaced by sand and . We take the non-organic material from the excavation and uses it directly in the construction of the load bearing wall structure.

The raw material for rammed earth is dug directly from the ground at the specific building site. A certain amount of sand, stone and water is added to make the correct mix regarding grain size and moisture level and then compacted into building blocks.

Not just reducing the amount of material which has to be transported away from the building site, we take away the need of concrete, wood or steel for the load bearing structures which reduces the overall material consumption significantly and thereby the future amount of waste.


• How large is the waste fraction that you reduce? / How much can you reduce this fraction? How big is the upcycled part? / How much can you reduce this fraction? How big is the upcycled part?

The amount of organic and inorganic material at a building site varies. The organic part is not suited for construction and has to be removed. When the inorganic layer of material is removed from the building site, we are able to use 100% of the ground containing a minimum of 12% clay.


• Why is this type of waste fraction particularly important to reduce?

Most excavations from a building site are regarded as waste material and transported away to gravel pits as landfill. This is done by truck causing a large amount of CO2 production. Our process utilises this material directly at the site, minimising the need for transport. Additionally, this significantly reduces the need for new construction material to be brought to the site, minimising both transport and resources going into fabrication of these materials - e.g. concrete, steel or wood.


• How big is the CO2-reduction of your solution compared to a conventional approach?

The CO2-reduction comes from three different steps in the process of using material from the excavation on the building site:

- Reducing the amount of excavation material which has to be transported away from the building site by truck.

- Reducing the amount of new building materials which has to be transported to the building site by truck.

- Reducing the production of new building materials, which are substituted by material from the building site itself.



• What is the visionary aim of the solution?

The final object of this solution is to build the general load bearing structure of a building from the material directly dug at the building site itself. Depending on the geological formations, only sand, gravel, stone and water is added to the material and a simple compaction process is preformed to construct final load bearing structures. These structures stand as inner walls and are afterwards added a layer of insulation and an outside building envelope - reused brick, wood, glass, etc.

The unburnt clay based material has unrivalled properties regarding indoor climate and offers a aesthetically pleasant and low cost surface directly from the formwork.


• What makes the solution new or even radical?

Building a house from the materials available at the site itself.

Even though rammed earth is an ancient material, it has never been of relevance in the modern building industry due to the lack of an innovative production process.

Our solution brings the production of the building to the building site itself, reducing transportation, off-site material production and significant resource usage and cost.


• How does the solution differ from other solutions on the market?

Only one other solution offers a semi optimised production of rammed earth. This solution is placed off-side and not using material from the buildings site itself. This results in a large need of transport for both raw material and final building elements.

At the same time this solution is only partly optimised including a significant amount of manual labor and time-consuming post processing.

Our process brings the production directly to the building site, reducing the amount of transport. At the same time, we offer an automated process minimising the amount of manual labor, reducing exhausting physical work, reducing cost and optimising product quality and consistency.


Value creation

• What value do you create for the user, the planet and society as a whole?

Using material directly from the building site itself, we reduce the need for transport significantly and therefor minimises the CO2 production. At the same time we substitute a substantial amount of newly produced building material (concrete, steel, wood, etc.) by using the existing material at the site.

Apart from the high level of reusability and low emission production, unburnt clay-based materials has a large range of superior properties regarding indoor climate, natural humidity control, natural heat storage, acoustics dampening effect, as well as an aesthetic appealing expression.


• Who are the primary customers and users?

Primary customers are contractors of any size, building privates homes, townhouses or public institutions. Contractors need a curios approach to the process of building and an interest in substituting the regular load bearing structure of concrete, steel or wood by a sustainable and reusable material.


• What is the target market for the solution, for example geographically?

Initially, we target the danish market focusing on well documented areas with wellknown geological characteristics. This way, we reduce the need for geological research and test and are able to start production based on solid data.


• What is the business model for the solution, and what makes it circular?

When a building of rammed earth is torn down, we are able to re-process 100% of the material by just adding water, mixing the material and repeating the compaction process. This way the material is completely circular and only needs a small amount of energy to crush, mix and compact new building structures.


• What social, economic and environmental gains does the solution achieve?

We utilise a waste material directly at the building site minimising the need for transport and landfill. At the same time, the solution replaces other building materials (concrete, light concrete, steel, wood, etc.) gaining a high level of resources saved as well as a substantially reduced cost.

A large amounts of material from the building site itself, low cost sand, gravel and water, and an automated, low-labor process makes a potential of a cost-efficient building material.



• What is the market potential of the solution?

Potentially, it is possible to introduce our solution at every possible building site with a sufficient amount of clay in the ground. The clay has to be of a proper mineral composition and the building project has to be within 3 floors high.

In general, the material is regarded as waste at the building site and we offer a solution to utilise this material as replacement of regular load bearing construction materials.


• How big a market does the new solution appeal to?

Our solution aims at one family houses, townhouses, institutions, daycare facilities, schools and low-rise office facilities.

In general, rammed earth is ideally applied as a building material in projects where people stay many hours a day, utilising the good properties of unburnt clay as a positive construction material regarding indoor climate.


• What does it take for the solution to reach the market and scale?

We need a pilot-production setup proofing the concept of an automated material processing.

The production process consists of two general parts - mixing and compaction. Both processes are to be optimised for production on site and automated running.


• How can new technologies help speed up the production or scale the solution?

The solution is based on modern technology featuring an automated mixing process and optimised, formwork-integrated compacting process. In later steps we aim at introducing a robot-driven compaction process, which gives a freedom of form and furthermore reduces the manual labor.



• Who is contributing to the solution?

GeoElements is running the innovation. The company is a break-out form an architectural office and shares employees and workshop-facilities.


• How does the solution involve the different parts of the value chain? And how does the solution

include the value chain in order to optimise its own potential?

Contractor doing excavation and foundation: Compared to a regular building site, the contractor has to take part in separating the top soil from the useful clay based material below the organic layer. The organic part is taken away and the inorganic part is stored at the site awaiting construction of the foundation.

General contractor: Construction differs partly from the wellknown process of today. The general contractor is to preform a traditional formwork setup in addition to running an automated material processing and compacting process.

Architect: The architect has to design a building featuring the special properties of rammed earth, utilising the passive indoor climate control from the material itself and the


• What partnerships are built around the solution, if any?

At the moment, we are setting up partnerships the Danish Technological Institute, Aarhus School of Architecture, Engineer Mechanicon, Engineer Bjørn:Larsen.

We have received financial support from Boligfonden Kuben, Otto Bruuns Fond and Dreyers Fond.


• An outline of the competencies needed to realise your idea?

- Specialist geological knowledge regarding composition of material mixing.

- Mechanical engineers to detail and validate machine properties.

- Mechanical specialist to develop and build prototype.

- Insights into bringing a new building material into the modern building industry.


• What you expect that the CCC-program can do for you?

Network within the building industry, helping to find partners bringing the solution to the market. As a break-out of an architect office, we hope to team up with technical partners within the field of machine development and manufacturing, to bring a pilot-project to test.

Additionally, we hope to gain knowledge from well-established building material menufactures, regarding regulations, logistics and promoting a newly developed product.