A Sustainable Campus Transformation in Luxembourg

Published on 21/03/2024

The transformation of the Lycée Michel Lucius supported by LIST and its partners has been selected as a finalist of the New European Bauhaus Prizes.

The construction industry is a major emitter of greenhouse gases and a third of the waste produced in the European Union comes from construction and demolition activities. The situation is just as alarming at the scale of the Grand Duchy resulting in the Public Building Administration (PBA) initiating multiple actions based on thoughtful deconstruction, particularly favouring the re-use of building materials.

Conducted from 2018 to 2021, the pilot project at the Lycée Michel Lucius set an example by emphasizing minimal environmental impact, circular economy principles and improved student life. Selected as one of the 50 finalists among 500 applications for the New European Bauhaus Prize, the project achieved outstanding results in terms of reducing CO2 emissions and waste production.

Bruno Domange, Senior Environmental Engineer at LIST and integrative member of the project, explained more about this national effort that revitalized the Lycée Michel Lucius.

How did this sustainable campus transformation come about?

With several classroom wings from different construction periods, the Lycée Michel Lucius was a complex lacking a coherent strategy, resulting in the absence of a central communal space. As such, 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.

Under the impetus of the PBA, many players worked hand in hand on this pilot project driven by sustainability and circularity. To name just a few, the project included the Environment Agency, the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Biodiversity, the Laboratory of the Public Roads Administration and the students of the Lycée, who took part in a questionnaire and even participated in the renovation work.

Why renovate a built environment rather than build a new building?

Naturally, this will vary from case to case, and it is therefore vital to consider the preparatory phase of the work carefully. Considering the conversion of an existing classroom wing into a library, our aim was to minimize structural intervention and prioritize the retention of existing elements.

To do this, a detailed materials inventory was done by an engineering firm and several scenarios were considered, in particular, thanks to a comprehensive life cycle analysis (LCA) carried out by a team from LIST. Then, the Environmental Policies team from the Institute compared the inventory done before the work began with the on-site results and ensured that the materials used in the project were properly traced and documented.

Despite the major changes to the building structure, the environmental costs were up to 84% lower than the cost of constructing a new building of the same volume. CO2 emissions were reduced by up to 90% and waste production by 79% compared to a new building.

How do the project's outcomes extend beyond the Lycée Michel Lucius?

The project not only significantly improves the quality of life of the students, but also serves as a model and example of a way to preserve existing buildings and of the practicality of reusing structures that are no longer operational. This pioneering project in Luxembourg advances the field of sustainable construction and supports the construction industry and policymakers in many ways: from new regulatory frameworks and best practices to a detailed dismantling process available to all.

As an example, 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.

Overall, the detailed documentation of the project, together with the on-site results, will allow a wider audience to understand and appreciate this approach. In a book accompanying the project, the principles of maintenance, renovation, re-use and demolition are indeed popularized.


>> You can vote for this project on the European Bauhaus Prizes Webpage until 27 March, 6pm* <<

* First, register with your email address in the “Participate in the public vote” insert and show your support for the “A Sustainable Campus Transformation” project. It is located in section A in the “Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life cycle thinking” category.


Photo: ©Levygraphie

Share this page:


Send an e-mail