Centre of Applied Research Technology

Circular Wood for the Neighbourhood (CW4N)

How to re-use wood, coming from renovation projects done by housing corporations?


The Amsterdam University of Applied Science (AUAS) investigates, together with two Amsterdam housing corporations, TU Delft, TNO, Metabolic and building industry, how to give new life to used wood that is released during home renovations. In the project, researchers from the Digital Production Research Group use robots to make circular reuse of wood easier and more efficient.

Re-used wood

Although attention for wood as a sustainable building material is increasing, we still often see old wood from existing buildings been discarded and burned. A loss, because wood is a valuable building material in a sustainable economy; it is a biobased raw material. How can we make better use of used wood? To show opportunities for circular reuse, the researchers in this project focus to use the wood for applications for the tenants of houses that are being renovated. "In this way we are researching the sustainability of wood reuse in practice, to learn which applications are the most interesting and valuable," says Tony Schoen, project manager Circular Wood for the Neighbourhood."

Reuse of wood at the Robot Studio

The research focuses mainly on the design and production of new applications for used wood. "First of all, we investigate how much wood is released during renovations and what its quality is," says Schoen about the approach. "Then we will work with the wood from one specific renovation project in the Robot lab of the AUAS." Robots must be able to clean the wood more efficiently, by removing paint and recognizing rotten parts and then sawing them away. Then they remove nails and other metal parts from the wood. "We convert the good parts that remain into new products, preferably for the renovated houses. Think of doors, frames, but also simple wall panels, "says Schoen. "The new uses of used wood are intended for both indoor and outdoor use."

For housing corporations and construction companies

All findings will lead to a publication aimed at housing corporations or construction companies that want to get started with the reuse of wood. "It is great to work with corporations and to help them at a time when they have many other things on their mind," says Schoen. "They must, for example, tackle the housing shortage and make homes climate neutral. It would be nice if this project could contribute to these tasks. In addition, the reuse of wood could also provide financial benefits. "


The project is being carried out at the Robot Studio of the Digital Production Research Group. Research is done with the commitment of students from, for example, the Design through Making elective. Interns and graduates are also working on the project. This can be students of Mechatronics or Engineering, but also Architecture. The Digital Production Research Group is part of the Circular Design & Entrepreneurship research group of the Center of Expertise Urban Technology. CW4N is an important part of the further development of the Digital Production Research Group, which also works on wood in a number of other projects (umbrella theme: Urban Wood Factory).

Partners CW4N

Partners are the housing corporations Ymere en Rochdale, their co-makers Lenferink and Rutges (who take care of the renovation projects), the municipality of Amsterdam, Platform31, Metabolic, TNO, TU Delft, GP Groot and Ter Steege. The project is co-funded by SiA (program RAAK-Publiek).

Video of a chair we made from re-used wood.


Published by  Faculty of Technology 6 October 2022

Project Info

Re-used wood
Start date 01 Apr 2020
End date 01 Apr 2022


Liselotte van Dijk
Erno Langenberg