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Leveraging digital technologies for circular economy in construction industry: a way forward

Navodana Rodrigo (School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Hossein Omrany (School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Ruidong Chang (School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Jian Zuo (School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 27 July 2023

Issue publication date: 2 January 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the literature related to the use of digital technologies for promoting circular economy (CE) in the construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive approach was adopted, involving bibliometric analysis, text-mining analysis and content analysis to meet three objectives (1) to unveil the evolutionary progress of the field, (2) to identify the key research themes in the field and (3) to identify challenges hindering the implementation of digital technologies for CE.

Findings

A total of 365 publications was analysed. The results revealed eight key digital technologies categorised into two main clusters including “digitalisation and advanced technologies” and “sustainable construction technologies”. The former involved technologies, namely machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, big data analytics and object detection and computer vision that were used for (1) forecasting construction and demolition (C&D) waste generation, (2) waste identification and classification and (3) computer vision for waste management. The latter included technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and building information modelling (BIM) that help optimise resource use, enhance transparency and sustainability practices in the industry. Overall, these technologies show great potential for improving waste management and enabling CE in construction.

Originality/value

This research employs a holistic approach to provide a status-quo understanding of the digital technologies that can be utilised to support the implementation of CE in construction. Further, this study underlines the key challenges associated with adopting digital technologies, whilst also offering opportunities for future improvement of the field.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the funding provided by The University of Adelaide to carry out this research.

Citation

Rodrigo, N., Omrany, H., Chang, R. and Zuo, J. (2024), "Leveraging digital technologies for circular economy in construction industry: a way forward", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 85-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-05-2023-0111

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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