Eco-friendly construction methods have been the norm for decades and there are improvements in sustainable building practices year on year, but how do you take demolition and make it green?
Demolition vs Deconstruction
Razing a building to the ground the old fashioned way can be responsible for a large carbon footprint, especially when many waste materials can be reused. That is why, like the construction industry, demolition teams have been perfecting a method known as ‘deconstruction’ for many years.
Instead of flattening a condemned building, deconstruction begins with a demolition team entering the building and noting down any materials that are reusable, recyclable or saleable. The team then begin to dismantle the building from the inside out.
Deconstruction is also known as ‘soft stripping’ and ‘building derating’, which we covered in February’s blog post. For a list of commonly recycled materials check out that post but first, here are a few more environmentally friendly options for your demolition project.
Selling Used Building Materials
The best place to find saleable materials in the home, or indeed any office building, is the kitchen. Appliances are often left in these rooms, and some are internally routed to the electrical supply. This means that removal can only be performed when the electric is shut off and ideally by a qualified demolition team member. Appliances can be resold and so can kitchen cabinets that are costly to buy new.
Upcyclers are particularly keen to buy used cabinets in good condition. Sinks and taps in good condition are also popular, and if the building has any unique period pieces, these should be saved to make a potential profit.
The next phase of deconstruction involves gutting the entire property and stripping it back to its basic structure. Beams, timber, brick and wiring are common materials that can be reprocessed and immediately used in new construction projects.
Other materials that many would dismiss as useless can also be directed back into new construction. Sand, gravel, and granite and concrete ballasts can be reprocessed to make aggregates. This can then be used to make new concrete or to level foundations and footings, and can even be made into bound materials such as resin bound driveways.
Is Deconstruction better that Demolition?
Demolition does not mean destruction. Taking an old building and selectively dismantling it means that virgin materials are diverted away from construction sites, and old materials are given a second life. The sky’s the limit too, with innovations in eco-friendly demolition year on year. Japanese company, Taisei, have begun demolishing skyscrapers one level at a time. In effect the building very slowly shrinks.
They demolish one level at a time while the roof is supported using hydraulic jacks; it is then lowered once the waste material has been removed using an internal crane. On a smaller scale, deconstruction projects on this continent help to reduce noise and fossil fuel pollution, and this prevents debris from scattering beyond the demolition site.
For the best deconstruction experience, always use an experienced and trusted demolition team, like the one here at ProDem.
ProDem Demolition and Asbestos Ltd proudly provide expert demolitions, deconstruction, soft-stripping and extensive asbestos removals. With over 30 years of experience in our industry, we are the premier site clearances team in the Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield areas and beyond.
ProDem have safely and securely cleared sites for new developments for universities, businesses, schools and domestic customers, and all to the highest standards of safety. It’s a standard we believe in so much, we offer free asbestos surveys for all demolition works. Give our friendly team a call today, to find out more.