Our Company Update
With another year is on its way out already, it’s the perfect time to reflect and recollect all that happened over the course. We packed just about as much as we could into this one! Our team has kept busy at industry events, making headway in our material research at our headquarters and been hard at work on the building sites completing projects that stretch across Europe and Africa. We of course have plenty of successes to celebrate, but see a lot of hard work ahead too.
We are reminded time and again of the importance of the work that needs to be done in decarbonising the building industry and increasing its efficiency. We listened in to the conversations happening at the COP27 through BuildToCOP. The BuildingtoCOP Coalition is a group of sustainability-focused built environment NGOs and organisations working together, alongside the UN High Level Climate Champions, to position the built environment as a critical sector to achieve the needed transition to a resilient and zero emissions future at COP conferences.
“By 2040, in order to meet the housing needs of the world and increasing urbanisation, we will need to build an equivalent to four New York Cities. This translates to the resources from four planets.
Circularity is the only option to do so.”
The built environment was positioned as a major key in mobilising the ambitions set out — in order to reach the targets set out by 2030, all building projects should be net zero by then, and their operational carbon halved. It’s very clear that the sector is really far off course and that this gap is widening. With much of the concepts remaining at conversation level and not really maturing into real action. However, we are hopeful that legislation and regulations are about to catch up, nudging the industry in the right direction.
Polycare’s mission to drive global transformation towards circularity in the built environment is undoubtedly relevant and we are excited to keep on pushing the envelope with much needed practical solutions in that space.
Our roadmap to the future & welcoming new team members
Looking at the demands that the building industry is under to reach these ambitious yet necessary goals, we are focusing heavily on further reduction of the carbon footprint in the creation of our blocks — taking them from 60% less (when compared to regular construction methods) embodied CO2 to 80% or higher, and even representing the opportunity for carbon storing.
In order to accelerate our growth in this direction, we have welcomed two new faces to our R&D team. Gaone & Patrick are both material scientists and development engineers with a focus on geopolymers. At the start of 2023, we’ll be able to share more news on what exactly they are brewing in our lab!
France // Boisbuchet Garden House
Earlier this year, in September we had our official inauguration of our Boisbuchet Garden House during France Design Week. The unique 3 room house has a special design to show the flexibility of our system and how we can apply it in different ways. The result is a space that opens up like a box that fills the rooms with natural light, allowing visitors to enjoy the feeling of being inside and outside at the same time. From birds eye view, one can see the unique shape, taking its inspiration from the clover leaf.
Built during a 10 day workshop at Boisbuchet by a team made up of young attendees from all over the world, the house is now open for visitors to view and eventually to be made the home of the Domaines gardener and cook. The final project also made it into Detail magazine’s November issue on Circular Economy.
Germany // Community Centre, Graftschaft, Ahrtal
Our first big lighthouse project in Germany is the community centre that we have built for some of the victims of the flooding of the Ahr in 2021, in Graftschaft, Germany. The concept is based off creating a best practice circular building, with partners Kohlbecker and Urbanbeta. Every building component can be reused, repaired and recycled. The centre itself is designed for disassembly and reuse in such a way that it can be easily assembled, dismantled without destruction and reused — in whatever new configuration. We have partnered with other suppliers innovating with carbon neutral products, with some also having take-back schemes for their products once they have served their purpose. The screw foundation was designed and installed by Baseforce, the modular flooring is a product by Interface, Tjiko provided prefab bath modules and the reusable sandwich roof is from Salzgitter. You can watch snippets of the process and background on our Instagram and LinkedIn
Namibia // SBIR Project
If you follow us on LinkedIn, you may have already read our full project write up on the SBIR project, where we built a temporary four story tower with our partners AEDI Africa. The project made use of blocks manufactured from spent foundry sands, taking into consideration the complete construction value chain in our circular building approaches.
The result was a real life example of what adaptive architecture can look like and how we can make use of alternative building materials to create projects designed for a second life.
Namibia // Housing! For Future
A German-based initiative aimed at funding housing alternatives to Namibian people who previously lived in informal settlements. The business case is based on a rent-instead-of-buy model.
The 1st project is in the new district Otjomuise — Extension 10, just outside of Windhoek. Polycare Namibia is building 10 of the 25 residential houses that are being put up on the 5,332 sqm site. Estimated time of completion is January 2023.
Dining Hall — Morukutu Primary School, Otjiyarwa
“Pupils helping pupils”. Under this motto, a school partnership has existed between Ottenhofen Primary School in Bavaria and Morukutu Primary School in Otjiyarwa since 2015. The project of a dining hall is the largest building project the Outjenaho association has supported the school with so far. More than 400 pupils, who also live and are fed at the school, had to eat their meals outside in all the harsh weather condition of the Kalahari desert. The project was proudly inaugurated and handed over in November 2022.
Namibia // Dagbreek EnviroLoo
Dagbreek School accommodates 130 learners with intellectual and physical disabilities. The students come from all over Namibia of whom most come from impoverished communities. Due to a lack of available funds from the Namibian Government and other sources, the Dagbreek school has not been able to successfully implement their expansion plans. To take on more students, the school was in desperate need of more ablution facilities.
The Clear Enviro Loo Sanitation Treatment Plant is a “Reinvent the toilet” system that treats wastewater and kills pathogens by means of a natural biological process, without the need for sewer connections, continuous water, or electrical mains supply with the take up of the solar option.
First Impression Kindergarten & Day Care
The Phillips family were the first official residents of a Polycare house in Namibia in 2017. The suburb that they reside in, Otjomuise, is home to many daily commuters, who head to Windhoek city for work and only return much later in the day. Mrs Philipps is a trained Early Childhood Development Teacher and has always had the dream to create a safe place for the young kids of these families in her community during the working day. This year, the centre was built on the site of the Phillips family’s former dwelling, with the help of Polycare Namibia and Häuser für die Welt.
This year, Polycare saw a lot of new places as we travelled to attend industry events and conferences to build our network, knowledge and spread the word about our technology. It is always a highlight for our team to see new corners of the world and to see how different people in different places perceive our building system and take to the concept.
German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK), Kenya
In February we were in Kenya for The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce for Eastern Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya through its service company AHK Services Eastern Africa. This event linked German and Kenyan companies active in the construction sector, with a focus on potential business partnerships.
We connected with some amazing, like-minded companies and organisations like the Kenyan Green Building Council; an independent, non-profit, non-political, member-based organisation formed to lead the transformation of the built environment in Kenya toward environmentally sustainable buildings. We also gained more knowledge to understand the requirements towards the certification of our technology in Kenya and Eastern Africa through The National Construction Authority. Overall, it was a great first step for us to understand more about Kenya and its construction industry.
In March, we were invited to be part of the UNIDO ITPO’s stand at this year’s Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD) 2022 exhibition and conference.
Here we learned a lot about what the humanitarian sector looks like and what kind of solutions they are seeking. We pitched our solution as an alternative to current options used in this context, seeing great potential in the need for temporary housing in the case of refugee settlements. We also gave a comprehensive presentation for the guests at the Innovation Hub, where we shared our ideas and philosophy for the future of the construction industry, alongside a few other inspiring companies that are leading the shift towards more sustainable technology in this space.
Concular Circularity partner program (digital event)
We were excited to also be part of Concular’s digital launch of their Circular Partner Program, encouraging a climate friendly transformation.
Conculars change proposals for a climate-friendly construction industry, including:
1. The use of existing buildings instead of demolishing them and building new ones
2. Enabling recyclable new buildings.
3. Life cycle assessment and CO2 intensity.
4. Promote reuse.
5. Promote high-quality recycling and not downcycling.
Concular promotes the opinion that both the careful handling of existing buildings and the consideration of circular materials in new buildings are of great importance. They are a resourceful company with great ideas and strategies for a real shift in the industry. Some include the simplification of building regulations, a permit requirement for building demolitions, mandatory demolition planning, building resource passports and incentives for the high-quality recycling of building materials.
ReBAU Fair, Düren
The ReBAU fair focused on the practical application of resource-saving building materials. Participants experienced an informative symposium, inspiring change for the future of building to an ecologically sustainable circular economy with innovative building products and construction methods.
The centrepiece was an exhibition on the circular and resource-efficient value creation of building products and systems. The supporting programme showed us all how circularity can be established in urban planning, balancing and research, planning tools and other topics of resource-efficient construction.
ReBAU’s Julia Kaiser also joined an excursion to our Ahrtal Community Centre and features in one of our videos on LinkedIn about the project, watch it here.
You can find more info about ReBAU here.
Greentech Festival, Berlin
In June we joined the GreenTech Festival, which provides a global platform that fosters innovative green technology, empowering change makers for a sustainable future. Our team presented our building system and approach to circularity, creating a joint stand along with our partners UrbanBeta and TriBriq. Guests of Urban Beta
Big 5 Construct, Egypt
Stepping into the hot and busy Cairo in June, we once again joined as part of the German pavilion, this time at The Big 5. We connected with a variety of key players and industry experts across Africa and the Middle East and spoke to several very interested visitors at our stand, ranging from engineers and architects to budding students, all quick to take to our concept and message. The event provided a great platform to network and showcase our building system in this market, and we were excited to present an innovative and fresh concept as a solution for the construction demand in the country.
Update Nachhaltigkeit Festival für neue Baukultur, Düsseldorf
The three week Festival in September was based on the concepts of a new building culture, offering a platform for all those who care about climate and resources. The Association of German Architects (BDA) Düsseldorf and its cooperation partners brought together more than 20 companies to join the conversation in seeking answers and solutions to questions that concern us today and in the future.
We presented our pitch and shared some best practice examples of what the construction industry could look like if we change the way we deal with the resources we use.
German African Business Summit
To finish off the year of events, we joined the German-African Business Summit (GABS) 2022 in early December. We had a representative from Polycare joining the panel session on the final day, discussing the challenges and opportunities in creating sustainable local value chains in the African context.
The 4th GABS took place in Johannesburg, joining German and African business interests, strengthening economic partnerships between Germany and Sub-Saharan Africa, and exploring business trends and market opportunities.
Thats a wrap for 2022!
Thanks for reading this far! We really appreciate your engagement and interest. We are quite excited for the next year considering all we have learned in this one, the networks we’ve built and the exciting plans we have in store! We are working to take Polycare to the next level — watch this space!
Once again, if you have any further questions or inquiries, please reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org — we are always happy to start a conversation and chat ideas.