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Transitioning towards more circular buildings: unveiling the role of vibration isolation in buildings

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Buildings exert a significant impact on the environment. Throughout their life cycle buildings consume energy, water and raw materials, while generating waste and releasing atmospheric emissions.

In recent years a wave of national initiatives has surfaced aiming at enhancing sustainability within the building sector and mitigating the environmental footprint of structures. While energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions remain crucial considerations a holistic perspective now encompasses a diverse range of indicators across the entire lifespan of buildings.  Social factors like health, comfort and overall well-being have rightfully become vital sustainability criteria in addition to the economic and environmental factors.

In practice, the introduction of green building rating systems (GBRS) has helped to facilitate, exemplify, and document these endeavours in delivering sustainable buildings whilst maintaining high standards of quality, safety and durability. 


Unlocking the potential: embracing circular economy in construction 

For years the discussion surrounding circular economy in construction revolved primarily around the circularity of products and the availability of "greener" alternatives. However, a paradigm shift has occurred in recent times as the public debate has come to realize that addressing only one aspect of the chain is both unrealistic and ineffective. 

Now, all stakeholders involved in the built environment value chain have recognized their own pivotal roles in driving widespread adoption of circular solutions and sustainable designs. Building owners, designers, contractors, manufacturers, and countless others must collectively embrace a new way of thinking to make circular economy in construction a reality.

It's time to challenge the status quo and disrupt the "business as usual" mindset. 

The traditional model of "Build - Use - Demolish" is succeeded by the new "Design for multiple lifetimes" concept.  This latter encapsulates the idea of repurposing and retrofitting existing buildings to serve new purposes, extending their lifespan and reducing waste.

Designers are now invited to “design with foresight” to facilitate the possibility of long-term functionality, change of intended use and the effortless maintenance/replacement of products.


Circular economy and vibration isolation in buildings 

Vibration isolation plays a significant role, particularly in buildings located near railways. The required performance of the vibration isolation heavily depends on the purpose of the building and because vibration isolation is an integral part of the building design, it must be though through carefully during design. Each project necessitates a tailored and custom-made solution that takes into account factors like the desired location of the vibration cut, load distribution, type of structural elements, the acoustic requirements and the available supporting surface area.

Designing for “multiple lifetimes” requires the designers to prepare for flexibility. When repurposing a building it is likely that the loads imposed on the vibration isolation will change and require a modification or replacement of the vibration isolation. With this in mind it becomes important to consider, during design, the type of vibration isolation system, the accessibility to it and the structural strategic provisions which would allow for successful and safe replacement.


Revolutionizing the replacement of the vibration isolation in buildings: introducing the Frozen Bearing Technique by CDM Stravitec

CDM Stravitec is committed to facilitating the market's shift towards a circular economy. Fuelled by an unwavering drive for innovation and client satisfaction, CDM Stravitec has developed the frozen bearing technology, an innovative technique which offers a cost effective and reliable replacement of elastomeric bearings where a change of vibration isolation system is required.

The replacement bearings are compressed, frozen and then located in situ.  As the bearings thaw they gradually “grow” into place taking over the loads ensuring correct performance and minimal differential deflection.

Further information on the frozen bearing technology is available in the video below.