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Cradle to Cradle - building for eternity

The Cradle to Cradle principle developed by Michael Braungart and William McDonough shows how products can be recycled or composted in waste-free cycles. The construction and real estate industry also benefits from the concept of recyclable materials and buildings. This is because sustainable construction with recyclable products, non-toxic and compostable building materials as well as renewable energies does more than just leave a small ecological footprint.

Find out why Cradle to Cradle will revolutionise classic recycling and what impact CtC has on the sustainability and lifespan of entire buildings.

- Find out why Cradle to Cradle will revolutionise classic recycling and what impact CtC has on the sustainability and lifespan of entire buildings.

Intelligent architecture right from the start

Circular construction means holistic construction in which every component, every building and every city is part of a dynamic whole. The concept is based on nature, whose cycles are waste-free and where everything at the end of its life cycle again serves as a building block for new life.

This concept, propagated by chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDorough, is already being implemented in many areas of life in the form of compostable T-shirts or edible drinking straws. But this sustainable principle is also applicable to the construction and real estate industry. Especially in places where even recyclable materials eventually end up on the rubbish dump, intelligent planning and construction can facilitate an environmentally friendly and future-oriented reintegration of all components and materials. For example, ceramic tubes can be used that are completely made of pollutant-free, natural raw materials. Panel materials made of cellulose fibres from sources such as waste paper, agricultural residues and more can also be used here. Reusable glass partitions and similar systems could also be considered.

Building owners and architects are equally required to implement the concept of the permanent cycle in the planning and construction of future buildings. Ultimately, we are talking about two cycles, the technical and the biological cycle, which both have the same goal: the basic principle of CtC, namely consistent waste avoidance by reintegrating all materials into the cycle of nature and upcycling all technical equipment.

Zero-energy houses that do not require external energy and components that can be redesigned or recycled even after the end of their life cycle are important prerequisites for sustainable living

Buildings as raw material banks

Anyone investing in this seminal architecture today is not only investing in buildings, but above all in commodity and raw material banks.

In the event of a possible demolition of the building, no disposal costs are incurred, as no waste is produced in the first place. This, of course, also influences property prices 

State funding may be requested to finance buildings constructed according to the CtC principle. KfW, for example, provides a wide range of funding programmes.

The Umweltbank also supports ecological construction projects with favourable loans.

There are international evaluation systems for assessing the sustainability of a building or construction project, such as the BREEAM system in Europe, the LEED system in the USA or the HQE system in France. In Germany, the German Sustainable Building Council (Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen) is responsible for the evaluation and certification of corresponding construction methods.

All in all, there are many good reasons to invest in such properties. Because the future begins now!

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Licence Partner Regional Office Belgium

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Real estate has long been a popular long-term investment option, and despite the brief contraction of the home market in the early 21st century, investing in properties continues to be a great way to ensure your financial future. The value of properties is still higher than it was 40 years ago, and the real estate market around the world has steadily grown since the first decade of the century-and will continue to do so. Working with real estate agents to buy properties that are for sale not only secures your living situation; real estate also gives you an additional source of income should you choose to rent out your home. Moreover, mortgage rates for properties are currently lower than they were a decade ago, which increases the attractiveness of buying real estate now. For those looking to buy a new home or to invest in houses or apartments they intend to rent, several countries with buoyant rental markets come to mind where purchasing property is an excellent investment. Real estate agents can help you find quality homes and apartments for sale at bargain rates on every populated continent, making it much easier to acquire real estate in a country that suits your individual needs. Our real estate agents also help you look at factors such as education, health care and employment opportunities, thereby increasing your ability to make an informed decision regarding your new home or apartment. Though certain aspects will vary based on the country and city in which you buy property, one thing remains the same: investing in real estate ensures your financial future, and acquiring property now at today’s low mortgage rates increases the profitability of your decision to buy a home or apartment.

Engel & Völkers - A real estate agent who listens to your needs

No matter where you go, we are always at your side. This is the ambition of the real estate network. With 40 years of know-how, this German company has acquired a leading position in the high-end real estate market. In addition, it can now boast an international reputation with a presence in more than 30 countries on 4 continents. The reason for such success: quality services to meet the needs of the most demanding customers. Whatever your projects, our real estate agents are at your disposal to advise you. Their rigorous professionalism, expertise and interpersonal skills will satisfy all your expectations. Whether you want to sell or buy a villa, apartment, mansion, land,... our real estate agents offer you tailor-made services. Feel free to visit our website. Frequently updated which lists many properties available on the real estate market. Wherever you are, you will have direct access to our online offer. Our 24 branches are also at your disposal in Belgium. We will be pleased to welcome you and offer you personalized advice for your real estate projects.

General analysis of the Belgian real estate market

In 2017, the construction sector was expecting a 2% increase in sales volume. In 2018, this increase was 3%. The most expensive municipality (among the 589), in terms of real estate, is Uccle. To this list of the most expensive municipalities according to the territorial distribution are then ranked Knokke-Heist, which is the most expensive municipality with a median price of €568,000. The municipality of Sint-Martens-Latem follows closely behind, reaching 514,250€, as does the municipality of Kraainem, where the median price is 490,000€. It is also important to take into account the performance of Wezembeek-Oppem, with €479,550, and Schilde, with €475,000. On the housing side, Wallonia is considered to have the most expensive apartments, particularly in Walloon Brabant, in Lasne, with an average price of 525,000 euros. The second most expensive region in this category is Brussels-Capital, with the municipalities of Uccle, €590,000, Woluwe-St-Pierre, €570,000; Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, €525,000; Boitsfort, €479,500; Ixelles, €442,500;... Flanders is facing a strong trend towards larger housing. There is a gradual pressure for private dwellings that need to be heavily renovated. The apartment segment is leading to an increase in quality new construction. With increasingly stringent government standards, it is less obvious to estimate the cost of renovations. The balance sheet tends to get worse. Private investors looking for so-called safe properties are increasingly turning to new housing that does not require any renovation. By favouring this type of property, they seek to avoid unexpected renovation costs that are difficult to estimate, but essentially also time wasted. Another trend to watch out for is larger assets. Socio-demographic statistics indicate that citizens' lifestyles tend to run counter to the ownership of large residences, such as large villas. This may be explained by the fact that many homeowners have aged and are no longer able to manage the maintenance of large properties.

Are real estate prices stable?

In Belgium, real estate agents have noticed a price evolution, attributable to an increase in the selling prices of real estate. This is the first increase in house prices in the past five years. These observations take inflation into account. The first 9 months of 2018 saw an increase of 1.3% compared to the same period in 2017. The best results were recorded in Wallonia, with a 6.5% increase in the number of transactions. However, Brussels experienced a 3.1% decline in real estate activity in 2018. A slowdown was also observed in Flanders in the last months of 2018. The Notaries' Barometer highlighted a deficit of 0.7% compared to 2017. For houses with 2-3 facades, the median Belgian price amounted to 205,000 euros in 2018 (3rd quarter). The cost of houses with 4 facades reached 290,000 euros. The cheapest region is Wallonia, with an average price of 142,000 euros (houses 2-3 facades) and 235,000 euros (4 facades). Following these results closely, the Flemish region has an average price of 234,000 euros (2-3 facades) and 320,000 euros (4 facades). The Brussels-Capital Region is the most expensive housing region, in all types of housing. Thus, houses with 2-3 facades reached a median price of €394,000, while those with 4 facades approached €1 million, with €987,500. These homes are not cheap, and experts do not expect this trend to reverse. As for the national median price, a house in Belgium with 2-3 facades cost 205,000 euros in 2018 (3rd quarter). As for the average price of a house with 4 facades, it amounted to 290,000 euros. This represents a difference of 85,000 euros to obtain a house with 4 facades. The average price of the apartments was 185,000 euros. In a context of a softening economic environment, national selling prices are the real fuel of a market. As for real estate, they should not decline. The experts even speculate that prices would increase slightly further. But it is possible that this growth may also slow down somewhat. An interesting point to keep in mind is that the expected price increases for all real estate in Belgium are essentially the same in each of the three regions.