SWIRCULAR Innosuisse Flagship

Together with ETH Zurich, EMPA and ZHAW, BFH builds a network in the construction industry on the topic of the circular economy. The Innosuisse flagship SWIRCULAR aims to bring innovative, circular solutions to the construction industry.



As an Innosuisse Flagship, the SWIRCULAR project aims to fundamentally change the Swiss construction landscape and steer it onto a net-zero path. This is necessary because the construction sector is responsible for 71 % of domestic material consumption, 24 % of greenhouse gas emissions and 80 % of waste generation (Matasci et al., 2021, FOEN, 2023, Koumbarakis et a., 2021). Circular construction could change this. Currently, more than two thirds of building material waste is either recycled or reused in a low-quality manner or incinerated (FOEN, 2022). This can be optimized by avoiding unnecessary demolition, reducing waste through new designs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing.

Course of action

In the 5-year SWIRULAR project, a consortium of research institutions (ETH Zurich, EMPA, ZHAW and BFH) and industrial partners are jointly developing technical, legal and economic innovations. The consortium represents a broad spectrum of expertise and covers all phases of the life cycle in order to ensure that innovations think along the entire cycle in terms of a circular economy. SWIRCULAR consists of eight interlinked sub-projects and covers disciplines from engineering, law, architecture, manufacturing to IT. This enables interdisciplinary exchange and covers the most diverse aspects of the built environment. This should help to rethink current practices in construction in a circular way. SWIRCULAR sees digital technologies as a particular driver here, which is why they will also play a major role in the project and in the search for new solutions. This is because they are seen as having great potential for overcoming current hurdles in the construction industry in the transition to a circular economy, namely the high costs or project complexity with many actors involved, which goes hand in hand with a high level of coordination.


Nach dem Projekt sollen wissenschaftlich fundierte Strategien der Bauindustrie bei der Transformation zu einer Kreislaufwirtschaft helfen, sowie die politischen AkteurInnen in ihren Entscheidungen und der Wahl lenkender Massnahmen unterstützen. Und nicht zuletzt, sollen sich die erarbeiteten technischen, rechtlichen und wirtschaftlichen Lösungen in der Bauindustrie durchsetzen und zu mehr Kreislaufwirtschaft führen.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • 12: Responsible consumption and production