Anyone working in construction & demolition (C&D) knows how much scrutiny their industry is facing from a sustainability standpoint.
As the world mobilizes to reach ambitious goals around net zero emissions by 2050 (or even earlier), many are focused on the C&D space, which is currently the single largest global consumer of resources and raw materials, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Depending on the source, the construction industry generates 30-40% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Plus, construction waste is expected to increase up to 2.2 billion tons every year by 2025. Not only are the environmental costs clear, but this growth in waste is negatively impacting the industry’s bottom line. Between tipping fees and raw material extraction costs, the C&D industry is pumping billions of dollars annually
into practices that directly affect the health of the environment. With 15% of building materials being wasted during the construction process and only 20–30% of C&D waste getting reused or recycled, there has to be a better solution. Constructing and designing new buildings with reuse in mind is critical to reducing waste and long-term costs, but what about existing infrastructure? How can the C&D space reduce costs and material waste? This paper will outline the cost of failing to incorporate reuse into the built environment and present adaptive reuse as a strategy for more resilient, sustainable and cost-effective C&D programs.
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