C+S April 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 4 (web)

Channel Sponsor: Presto Geosystems | www.prestogeo.com

Climate change isn’t the only good reason to explore alternative sus - tainable building methods. It’s also a great business practice. Green building raises the value of built assets – which is great news for con - struction companies and clients alike. Here are three lessons the construction industry is learning about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the name of sustainability and environ- mental preservation. 1. Reduce: Know When to Engage in Source Reduction The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes construction and demolition materials as one of the most impactful waste streams in the country. Some of these include: • Concrete • Asphalt from roads or shingles • Metals such as aluminum and steel • Glass • Wood • Salvaged fixtures such as plumbing and windows Some 600 million tons of this debris get deposited in landfills each year. For perspective, this is twice the amount of general municipal waste produced by U.S. citizens and businesses. Source reduction involves several practices designed to reduce the amount of demolition waste resulting from a building retrofit, as well as the new materials needed to complete a given construction task. Here are some of those practices: • Builders and clients should emphasize preserving existing structures instead of defaulting to new construction. • Architects and builders should design new construction and retrofits for greater longevity. • The industry must shift to employing construction techniques that make disassembly and material reuse easier for future owners. • Construction professionals should shift to alternative framing techniques and cull unnecessary interior flourishes and finishes to reduce material usage. Before reclaiming and reusing building techniques, the construction industry must reckon with the material and planetary cost of knocking down functional buildings and replacing them will all-new construc- tion. Reducing humanity’s need for physical materials begins with repurposing and source reduction. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 3 Lessons the Construction Industry Is Learning

Reducing a construction project’s ecological footprint can extend even to the building implements and techniques used on-site. Ensuring heavy equipment operators understand ideal operational conditions and essential maintenance for their machines means these assets work with the intended efficiency and ecological impact. 2. Reuse: Build With Greater Numbers of Reclaimed Materials The construction sector’s first order of business is source reduction for new construction. The second priority must be learning how to reuse reclaimed and repurposed, materials after being incorporated into an existing structure. Source reduction seeks to eliminate material sourcing as much as pos - sible. Building with reclaimed materials ensures that, when builders must source new materials, they seek reclaimed, repurposed or re- cycled materials before ordering newly fabricated components. The local market for reclaimed and salvaged building materials differs significantly by region, but builders have every reason to seek local reuse centers and waste exchanges. Some of these marketplaces exist wholly online, while other architectural salvage yards require frequent in-person visits to see what’s newly available. The EPA has resources available that can connect builders with organi- zations that recycle and repurpose construction materials in their area. This is not a full list of salvageable materials, but it should provide an idea of what’s possible when builders and their clients seek repurposed materials first: • Doors, windows, countertops, bathroomvanities, and kitchen cabinets The market for reclaimed lumber and other building materials is rising for several reasons. It’s not just good for the planet – clients also realize there’s a unique charm in incorporating materials into their homes and businesses that have already proven themselves and have a history. 3. Recycle: Learn How Design Must Support Adaptation and Reuse Engaging in construction to emphasize the longevity of materials and the useful lifetime of the building is paramount. Building designs themselves are changing to support this mission. Today, the physical design of a building and the choice of materials must support future adaptations of the building as well as the eventual dismantling and reuse of its structural and superficial components. Here are the broad strokes of how this can work in practice: • Builders and owners maintain more detailed structural draw - ings and accountings of the materials used. This way, future • Plumbing and electrical fixtures • Metals for siding and roofing • Wood, tile, carpeting, and synthetic flooring • Bricks and concrete • Wood and lumber



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