BAR 505 Sustainable
Table of Contents
Importance of Re- use of the waste materials
Factors to consider
Materials and their Re –use
We recycle everything from newspapers to automobiles, and yet we continue to pile
obsolete building materials into landfills. Recent national and grassroots initiatives
open the door for reuse to have a greater role in sustainable design.
By Ian Volner.
In many urban areas, suburbs and towns, we can see new houses, housing
developments, office blocks, factories being built. Renovation and urban renewal
projects are just as common. And these projects all generate waste.
Due to the growing demands of a growing economy, population and strive for
development in our country Kenya, and all other countries really, demolition of old
outdated structures will and does take place on a regular basis to pave way for
structures or buildings that will better function at cater to the population in question.
We thus will be producing a lot of non-biodegradable waste from the likes of
concrete to glass and at times risky materials like asbestos.
One of the fundamental aspects of sustainable design is a focus on getting more out of
the resources we use. Be it energy, water, materials, components, whole buildings or
urban infrastructures, we need to get more useful service from the resources we put in.
At present we have a mentality of consumerism which leads to massive use of
nonrenewable, primary resources, which are often extracted with great environmental
damage, and create a huge amount of waste.
DR. MARK GORGOLEWSKI. (Ontario Architects Association, OAA)
Talking sustainability, we really have to find the best way to deal with this waste. Can
we perhaps re-use and recycle some of this waste in new building projects and
Nature is the best teacher, we see nothing really can be termed as waste in nature
everything in an eco-system is used somehow, and thus we have to emulate this. For
instance a demolished steel beam could show up a tin can today and a few years
later as a beam again, who knows?
Importance of re-use and recycling of
The importance of re-use of this materials will be looked at in terms of
Existing buildings and infrastructure are a huge store of potential resources, not
something to be thrown away.A starting point for any project should be – can we
reuse and adapt an existing building? Demolition should be a last resort, and even
then, can we reuse components from an old building into a new structure avoiding
the use of new materials? This preserves much of the value of the components and
minimizes reprocessing that is often required when materials are recycled. Therefore
can we save on acquiring new materials thus save on money, can we save fuel costs
by having to not transport the new materials by simply re-using the “waste” from the
demolished building, conserving the embodied energy that has been invested in the
construction of the existing buildings.
Comparisons suggest that the embodied energy saved from renovating an older
building rather than building new can be equivalent to 10 to 25 years of operating
DR. MARK GORGOLEWSKI.
So in essence the more we can re-use and recycle when doing renovations or
completely new projects the more money we can potentially save in terms of
finances. It would thus be very important for the architect to consider this as he
grapples with the intricacies of design to help lower the potential cost and make the
client happy in the process by saving his/her money.
This is a very straight forward concern when it comes to reuse and recycling of
1. The most important is reduction of eye sore. The demolished materials if left
as is when demolished can be a real eyesore. Even when dumped in
designated dumping site it simply adds on the existing eyesore, this is not a
sustainable way to things.
2. Next is the fact that some building components maybe toxic like asbestos and
it would do well to find ways in which such materials can be put to use to
avoid dumping toxic products at garbage sites.
3. Letting the earth breathe, demolished materials when left on the bare ground
can deal a blow to the existing mini-ecosystem, this maybe in terms killing
grass by cutting access to sunlight etc.
We should remember that sustainability is more than just about green technologies;
it also encompasses local community issues.
1. Socially speaking local communities may identify with new projects or
designed landscapes that have familiar building components and materials, so
maybe these components or materials can be sourced from the old buildings
and re-used or re-cycled.
2. Such practices can reach out to the community to practice these green ideas
when they are for instance renovating their houses, to re-use and recycle old
3. Conserves space in existing landfills.
Factors to be considered
Construction &Demolition materials can be recovered through reuse and recycling.
Such issues below then need to be thought by the designers.
1. In order for materials to be reusable, contractors generally must remove them
intact (windows and frames, plumbing fixtures, floor and ceiling tiles) or in
large pieces (drywall, lumber).
2. Some materials may require additional labor before they can be reused. For
example, lumber may need to be denailed and window frames may need
some new panes.
3. In order to be recyclable,materials must be separated from contaminants
(e.g., trash, nails, and broken glass). This can be accomplished if contractors
require workers to sort materials as they remove items from buildings or as
debris is produced.
4. Many contractors simply use labeled roll-off bins for storage of sourceseparated materials. For projects where on-site source separation is not
possible, contractors often use C&D materials processing firms.
5. Identification of recoverable materials.
6. Longer programs to allow recovery of materials, in that how long does a
material take to recover.
7. Identification of any risks to the environment or local habitats
8. Assessing the impact on biodiversity, for example, ensuring that
thedemolition/recovery work does not adversely affect nesting birds, bats and
other„listed‟ wildlife. (This may involve setting the program outside „nesting
periods‟ and providing alternative roosting sites for use when the wildlife
returns.) Special care also needs to be taken where work is carried out in a
conservation designated area.
MATERIAL REUSE AND RECYCLING
Masonry, concrete construction aggregate -Pavements, roads, car parks,
driveways, shoulder aggregate, pipe bedding, erosion control, landscaping
Bricks, tiles Salvaged and resold
Timber Floorboards, reconstitutedpanel boards, doors, furniture,fencing,
Glass Crushed for compaction fill
Insulation material Housing insulation
Metals Remelted into secondarymaterials for structural steel,roofing, piping
Trees, organic material Compost
Plastics Secondary materials forplaygrounds, park benches etc
Paper, cardboard Mulch, compost, animalbedding, newsprint, eggcartons,
Fittings (baths, toilets, sinks) Salvaged and resold.
Re-use - Many materials can be salvaged from demolition and renovation sites and
sold, donated, stored for later use, or reused on the current project. Contractors can
avoid the cost of removalby allowing private companies to salvage materials from
Organizations that have space may want to consider storing high-value materials for
later projects. Many building materials may be reusable during renovation projects
and projects where a new building is built following the demolition of another.
Typical materials suitable for reuse include plumbing fixtures, doors, cabinets,
windows, carpeting, bricks, light fixtures, ceiling and floor tiles, wood, HVAC
equipment, and decorative items (including fireplaces and stonework).
Recycle - Recycling entails extraction and some level of processing for the
component in question to be used again. It‟s often easiest duringconstruction
projects as opposed to demolition and renovation projects. During construction,
crews can source separate materials as debris is produced. Demolition and
renovation project materials often consist of mixed materials and require on- or offsite sorting. Typical materials recycled from building sites include metals, lumber,
asphalt, concrete, roofing materials, corrugated cardboard, and wallboard.
Thus we have seen simply a handful of ways in which a building can “live on” despite
it being demolished or renovated. The economic benefits to this are profound
especially for the client. The designers will have to be creative when it comes to this
venture of re-use and recycling, a lot of research in also vital to see it through.