Adaptive Reuse Report

Methods of Achieving Adaptive Reuse

Achieving circularity in the C&D space means making the most of assets and resources that already exist and giving them new life. Not all buildings will have been constructed with modularity in mind, so businesses in this field need to make the most of existing structures. One way to extend the life of a building is to refurbish by repairing broken assets and retrofitting to prepare the structure for its next use. This is more cost- effective and less resource intensive than designing a new building from scratch, even with adaptive reuse in mind. The savings to the business and the environment go even further if contractors are able to source materials from local entities. Sharing assets within a local economy reduces the emissions caused by shipping materials and begins to establish a reuse-focused community. Aside from sourcing locally, material selection should be carefully considered when retrofitting. To ensure the existing structure will last as long as possible in its next use, updated components should be high quality in order

to maintain durability and eliminate toxicity over time. For example, remanufactured wood is less resource intensive but it doesn’t sacrifice quality, and it can be easily used for key elements of a retrofit, such as framing and finishing. In order to actually source quality and local materials, the C&D industry needs to understand what’s available and accessible to them. This is where markets for secondary materials can create new revenue streams and reduce supply-chain disruptions by making recycled or remanufactured materials more readily available. Markets such as these allow the idle or unneeded assets of one organization to be utilized by another without the need for further virgin material extraction. Organizations, like WGBC, see this as an opportunity to facilitate circular buildings by enabling greater reuse of materials from existing assets. Platforms for exchanging reusable assets can also integrate material passports to allow contractors to understand the composition of reusable elements.

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