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A Sustainable Campus Transformation
Revitalizing Lycée Michel Lucius: A Sustainable Campus Transformation
The Lycée Michel Lucius in Luxembourg lacks a central communal space. The project transforms an old modular structure into a library, carefully dismantles a 1970s wing for material reuse, and renovates the schoolyard with reclaimed materials. Its approach optimises the use of resources, minimises waste and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project sets an example for similar projects by emphasising minimal environmental impact, circular economy principles and improved student life.
EU Member State, Western Balkans or Ukraine
Mainly urban
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment (hard investment)
As a representative of an organisation

The Lycée Michel Lucius, located in the city of Luxembourg, is a complex made up of several classroom wings from different construction periods. The lack of a coherent strategy and urban master plan for the campus has resulted in the absence of a central communal space that could serve as the heart of the school.

The opportunity to create an attractive central space within the school campus arose with the proposed construction of a new library, the demolition of a classroom wing and the need to redevelop the central school courtyard. The project has three main components: the conversion of a 30-year-old wooden modular classroom structure into a modern library and youth center; the deconstruction of a 1970s wing, carefully salvaging as much material as possible for reuse; and the redevelopment of the central schoolyard.

All three projects are being carried out with a strong emphasis on maximizing the use of reclaimed building materials.

A comprehensive life cycle analysis and a detailed materials inventory form the basis of this construction project. The aim is to minimize structural intervention and prioritize the retention of existing elements. While various adaptations are necessary to comply with building regulations and address functional deficiencies, the project is developed with the utmost consideration for the specific needs of the school population. The guiding principle is to minimize environmental impact, with a firm commitment to implementing the principles of the circular economy, which strictly limits the use of new resources.

The project not only significantly improves the quality of life of the students, but also serves as a model and example in various contexts, including regulatory frameworks and the testing of approaches and best practices. This multi-faceted project demonstrates that it is indeed possible to carry out a project in a sustainable way.
Sustainability is at the heart of the project's key objectives. In particular, the construction aspect of the project aimed to reduce the overall environmental impact by minimizing waste. The environmental impact of converting the existing classroom wing into a library was carefully assessed and three alternative options were considered. A thorough life cycle analysis confirmed that, even with major changes to the structural system, the environmental costs could be reduced by up to 84% compared to constructing a new building of the same volume. The third scenario, which reduced the volume of the new building to the library only, still resulted in savings of around 76%. When comparing the CO2 emissions, savings of up to 90% were achieved and the production of waste was reduced by 79% compared to a new building.

The aim in demolishing the 1970s wing, which could not be retained for safety and stability reasons, was to maximize re-use. However, as there is no market for reused building components in Luxembourg, it was a challenge to identify suitable sales or disposal chains to ensure compliance with the waste hierarchy. The tender documents allowed the contractor to determine the specific fate of the materials. The evaluation, based on a pre-defined matrix, rewards the most virtuous use of the deconstructed material.

All reusable materials, as well as some from other deconstructions, were used and displayed on site. The final architecture is a display of the raw materials in their deconstructed state, linking the new construction to the existing structures. The previous buildings therefore influence the appearance of the new heart of the school.

Overall, the detailed documentation of the project, together with the on-site results, allows a wider audience to understand and appreciate the approach. The book that accompanies the project serves to popularize the principles of maintenance, renovation, re-use and demolition.
The architectural project demonstrates a holistic approach to design that goes beyond aesthetics. The architect's guiding principle of reusing materials not only helped to reduce waste, but also influenced the overall design process. Taking into account available materials and the end user's building program, the architect aimed to maximize the use of deconstructed materials on-site. This approach is exemplified by the creation of a pergola using reclaimed steel beams from the old library and new solar sails. The pergola has become a popular meeting place during the summer months, demonstrating the success of the sustainable design principle.

Another aim of the project was to incorporate more greenery into the design of the school. This was achieved by transforming the main courtyard, previously used as a car park, into a recreational space for the students. The addition of trees, plants and a school garden has not only beautified the space, but also complement the existing natural environment. Island seating further enhances the space, inviting people to relax and enjoy the summer sun.
The project also prioritizes the wellbeing, creativity and sense of community of the users. By considering the needs and preferences of the users, the design aims to provide spaces that allow for rejuvenation. The new library and youth center, although currently restricted to the school population, are designed to encourage creativity and a sense of community. On the other hand, the rehabilitated outdoor spaces are open to everyone, allowing the neighborhood to benefit from the project as well.

Overall, this project serves as an example of how design can create a positive and enriching environment. By successfully combining sustainability, aesthetics and quality of experience, the potential of sustainable design to not only minimize environmental impact, but also to enhance the overall livability and functionality of a place is demonstrated.
In order to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities, it is necessary for all spaces in a public school to be physically accessible. However, the existing buildings were not designed with these requirements in mind as they were built before the legislation came into effect. Since the buildings were going to be demolished, no effort was made to adapt them to the accessibility requirements. The partial redevelopment of the school provided an opportunity to incorporate Design for All principles, including the installation of new ramps that meet modern accessibility standards.

The transformed school wing now serves as a central hub for the school community, with both indoor and outdoor spaces that encourage gathering and unimpeded development. The design allows students to express themselves freely. It also allows for larger school projects. An interesting addition to the exterior is a student-created mural painted on salvaged corrugated iron, which was later mounted on the library wall. In addition, the school garden is a collaborative effort between students and teachers.

There are still empty spaces within the project boundaries that can be transformed according to the needs and desires of the school community. These spaces are like blank canvases waiting to be filled with creativity.

The project also aims to provide spaces for after-school programs, further promoting inclusivity. By providing areas designed for different activities and interests, the project ensures that individuals, regardless of background or ability, have the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities and personal growth.

As mentioned above, the outdoor space is used extensively by the local community. Although the residents were not directly involved in its design, it provides them with a new shared space surrounded by existing greenery.
As the project progressed, the construction workers became more familiar with sustainable construction practices and were able to contribute their expertise to the project. This co-operation between the construction workers and the designers has resulted in innovative solutions and a high quality product.

The project has also generated interest and curiosity within the construction industry and beyond. Clients and designers alike have been keen to learn about the guiding principles and strategies that were implemented, as well as the challenges and successes encountered along the way. The publication of a book detailing the project's journey and the organization of conferences on sustainable construction have been valuable tools in spreading awareness and knowledge.

The success of the project has also set a new standard for construction practices in Luxembourg. It has shown that it is not only possible but also beneficial to prioritize sustainability and reduce environmental impact. By conserving valuable resources and promoting responsible construction, the project has set a precedent for future projects in the region.

The project would not have been possible in any other school, as the community and school committee are very committed to sustainable issues and were supportive of the idea. They were actively involved in defining the space program and setting up the youth club.

In conclusion, this project has not only provided direct benefits to the end users, the school community and the neighborhood, but has also advanced the field of sustainable construction. Through increased awareness, collaboration and knowledge sharing, similar projects can be successfully implemented in the future, further contributing to a more environmentally conscious society.
The involvement of two government departments and the Environment Agency was crucial to the success of the project. It focused on the issue of public procurement policies and legislation that currently do not encourage the use of recycled materials. These laws and policies were initially only designed for monetary transactions related to services and products. Implementing other variables, even if theoretically possible, has proved difficult due to their subjective nature. The Ministry of Mobility and Public Works played a crucial role in finding a way to meet the legal requirements while ensuring the success of the project.

Another obstacle the project faced was the Waste Management Act, which tends to classify reclaimed materials as waste. The Environment Agency helped to find a compromise to test the reusability of recycled materials. Lessons from the Lycée Michel Lucius project will be used to propose changes to the Waste Act. The positive experience of this project showed that broadening the definition of reusable materials without classifying them as waste does not pose a significant risk to the environment.

In addition, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development played an active role in establishing an inventory of materials for deconstruction. This step was important to ensure the availability of materials for recycling and to reduce waste.

In addition, the Laboratory of the Public Roads Administration played a crucial role in this pilot project. They are responsible for ensuring the quality of concrete in Luxembourg and setting standards for future projects. As part of their testing process, they use recycled concrete as a test surface for exterior concrete coatings. This allows them to assess its durability in real weather conditions.

The Public Building Administration, which is responsible for overseeing the project, will apply the lessons learnt to future projects, promoting sustainable practices and recycled materials.
The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) played a key role in the project. It researched the materials database and inventory. They used their expertise from previous European projects dealing with re-use and dismantling to ensure traceability of disassembled materials. This involvement helped to ensure that the materials used in the project were properly traced and documented.

As mentioned above, another group within LIST carried out a life cycle analysis to define the most sustainable and efficient scenario for the library.

The engineering department of the University of Luxembourg was responsible for defining the quality of the harvested concrete and provided valuable insights into the production of recycled concrete. It was essential that the concrete met the requirements and specifications of the project.
The design team was responsible for coordinating a diverse group of people involved in the project. This group included university professors, researchers, policy makers and construction workers. The design team's role was to bring together all these different areas of expertise and ensure that the project was feasible and constructible.

A key aspect of the project was to challenge established ways of working so that everyone could contribute their expertise. The practical expertise of the construction workers was crucial in finding the most effective ways to reuse and transform reclaimed materials that may have been originally used or installed differently. The engineers and architects had to constantly ask questions and find innovative solutions while remaining realistic, as innovation is often limited on site.

Overall, the project involved the collaboration and coordination of many stakeholders and required expertise from a variety of disciplines. It was a comprehensive effort that relied on the knowledge and experience of each group involved to create a sustainable and successful project.
The tender process underwent the most significant innovations. The design team collaborated with legal experts to develop the new processes, which resulted in two significant innovations.

The first innovation was the introduction of "zero-euro contracts." These contracts were implemented to prevent any bias or favoritism in the distribution of furniture. Under this system, public authorities can give away furniture items with little or no market value without receiving any payment in return. The contractor selected through the tender process is responsible for collecting the furniture themselves, thereby saving the authority disposal costs. This approach ensures that all interested parties have an equal opportunity to benefit from the process and prevents any potential conflicts of interest.

The second innovation involved the inclusion of "ecological value" as a criterion in the tender documents. As part of this process, a comprehensive reuse inventory is created, listing all the equipment available for redistribution. Contractors participating in the tender must specify the intended end-use for each item they wish to acquire. These end-uses are then assessed according to waste pyramid criteria, which prioritize options such as recycling and repurposing over disposal or incineration.

By evaluating the contractor's offer based on both price and ecological value, the new tender process ensures accountability for both factors. This approach promotes the best possible end-use for materials and encourages contractors to prioritize sustainability in their proposals. It also aligns with broader sustainability goals and encourages the responsible management of resources.

Overall, these changes prevent favoritism, reduce disposal costs for public authorities, and promote responsible waste management practices. Through the inclusion of ecological value as a criterion, materials are more likely to be reused or recycled.
The project approach is simple and straightforward. It revolves around establishing a clear objective that gives high priority to sustainability by minimizing its impact on the environment and maximizing the utilization of reclaimed materials. This objective is driven by the desire to create an outcome that holds value and brings benefits to the school community. Throughout the duration of the project, the guiding principles have influenced various aspects, including the tendering process, design principles, and the overall visual appeal of the project. The project team has consistently stayed committed to these principles and actively sought innovative methods to achieve them.

To ensure sustainability, the team has implemented the waste pyramid as a framework. They meticulously assessed each stage of the project, asking two fundamental questions: Can existing elements be kept and used in their current state? And if not, what is the minimum extent of transformation required to effectively reuse them? By considering these questions, the team aimed to minimize waste and maximize the potential for reusing objects, elements, and materials. They have demonstrated adaptability and resourcefulness in their pursuit of sustainability. They have been willing to modify projects, materials, or even seek legal solutions to facilitate the reuse of resources. It is important to note, however, that certain materials could not be salvaged due to their deteriorated condition, especially as the buildings and outdoor areas had surpassed their expected lifespan.

In addition to placing a high emphasis on sustainability, the project also highlights the importance of sourcing materials locally and fostering effective communication and collaboration with the extended project team. These elements play a crucial role in ensuring that the project aligns with the goals and needs of the school community, while promoting unity and cooperation among all parties involved.
The public procurement innovations discussed in the project are not only successful in the specific context of the project, but also have the potential to be replicated in other similar settings. The tendering principles followed in this project can provide valuable guidance for future procurement processes.

A notable aspect of the project is its focus on circularity of materials. This approach has been shared with the Environment Agency, allowing them to gain insight and knowledge that can shape future legislation and approaches in this area. In particular, the project's experience has contributed to discussions on the end-of-waste status of reclaimed materials. By identifying how to prevent materials from entering waste status in the first place, the project has highlighted the importance of sustainable practices.

The project methodology, including the dismantling process, has been extensively documented. This documentation serves as a valuable resource and has been published as an example of best practice on the Environment Agency website. This allows other organizations and stakeholders to learn from the project's approach and apply it to their own initiatives.

In addition, the impact of the project extends beyond the local level. The Centre des Ressources des Technologies et de l'Innovation pour le Bâtiment (CRTI-B) in Luxembourg, which sets standard contract terms for the construction industry, has adopted, and published the project's approach as a general guideline for future deconstructions.

Finally, the direct experience and knowledge gained from the project has had a positive impact on all those involved. The companies and designers involved in the project have become more aware of the importance of sustainable practices and have seen the benefits firsthand. As a result, they have become ambassadors for sustainability and circularity in the construction sector and are actively sharing the knowledge they have gained with others.
The European Commission's Transition Pathway provides a comprehensive roadmap for addressing the most pressing challenges facing the construction industry in the coming years. One of the key objectives is to reduce CO2 emissions, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. A strategy for achieving this goal is through a significant increase in the re-use of materials within the construction industry. This approach has the potential not only to reduce waste but also to reduce the demand for new building materials and primary resources, making it a cornerstone of sustainable construction.

While the maintenance and re-use of existing buildings may lack the luster associated with the construction of new buildings, it is proving to be one of the most effective measures in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions. Not only does this practice prevent the release of embedded CO2 gases, but it also eliminates the need to produce new materials, thus conserving valuable and often limited natural resources.

The highlighted project serves as a powerful example of how adhering to the principles of the circular economy, prudently limiting intervention to what's essential, and making the most of recovered materials wherever possible, is not only possible, but highly effective. By extending the lifespan of resources within the economic cycle, the project significantly reduces waste and increases the proportion of materials that are reused. At the same time, it creates modernized spaces that meet the evolving needs of different user groups, in this case the school population. This project is a compelling demonstration of how value can be created without over-reliance on the use of new materials and shows the way forward to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious construction industry.
The construction industry is often characterized as slow, inflexible, and environmentally detrimental, primarily because of its emphasis on custom-made products rather than mass production and its inherent diversity. Despite being a significant source of employment for around 18 million people, the industry remains highly fragmented and diverse.

However, it is crucial to demonstrate the potential for a transition toward circularity and underscore the importance of adopting a life-cycle perspective to facilitate the transformation of the construction sector into a more sustainable industry. This project serves as a clear example of the ability of Life Cycle Assessments to preserve existing buildings and the practicality of reusing structures that are no longer operational.

Moreover, it highlights the feasibility of designing contemporary, tailor-made buildings and spaces that not only meet but exceed the expectations of their users while simultaneously reducing the consumption of primary resources. By creating built environments that are tailored to the needs of the community and maintaining high quality, we can extend their lifespan and delay the necessity for replacements.

A significant outcome of this project is its substantial impact and exemplary nature. Effective communication and knowledge sharing are essential in addressing climate change and advocating for sustainability. The project reinforces the idea that climate action and improved sustainability can only be achieved when all stakeholders freely share their insights, allowing others to build upon this collective knowledge.

Furthermore, this project will contribute to policy discussions with the aim of streamlining the integration of life cycle thinking across the construction industry on a broader scale. The goal is to enhance the sustainability of buildings and reduce their environmental impact.
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