Building and Re-cycling, Re-using Material
added January 2017
Making building elements fit for re-use, already in early design stages, is at the heart of environmental building design
State of the Industry
Building requires vast amounts of material for structure, fit-out and services but also
the construction itself results in a high consumption of material. The Building Industry is not as advanced as, for example,
car or electronic industries in making processes during production more efficient. Currently, the re-use of a material
from a building often results in a "downcycling". This means, a material is being utlised in a future use after demolition, but cannot
perform in the same primary function as previously: a result of quality losses during the demolition process.
A prototype single family house, the reuse of materials is planned for the period after use
F87 House, Berlin, Werner Sobeck, image(cc licence) jan manu wiki
Early integration into design process
In order to maximize the re-use of building material a strategy needs to be laid out at the beginning of a project. In current practice information about the reusability of a product is very limited which makes the planning of a building that can be dismantled into usable components more complicated. This also means that more time during technical design needs to be assumed to research and define the specification. Reducing the impact of building material on the environment can roughly be done in two ways: 1. a material is in an infinite cycle, can be reused several times - or 2. a material is biodegradeable, hence wastage will end in a natural cycle.
Harpa Concert and Conference Centre by Henning Larsen, Batteriid Architects, Olafur Eliasson,
Modular material application supports to ability to dsimantle and reuse image(c)Max Pixel
Guidance and Options
Buildings can become a storage of resource by enhancing the potential to reduce applied materials.
Several steps are worth noting:
Using prefabricated elements enable us to plan the life cycle of parts of the buildings more thoroughly, mounting whole fractions of the building
in a protected enviroment in which joists and links can be easier controlled.
For the services fit - out a centralized energy core, suspended ceiling and raised floors enable a technical fit out that is easier to be
dismantled as clip fixings and easy access support re-use and dismantling.
In general, the use of fixings that enable the building to be dismantled without breakage, will support the idea that
material can become part of a life cycle rather than go to waste.
Materials need to be documented within a database, which needs to be made available once the process of dismantling takes place.
Without a cycle of information, the cycle of material is likely to fail.
Re-use of building elements is an effective tool to increase the contribution of the construction industry towards a human lifestyle in balance with nature and environment. Text: Kersten Schmitz,2017
Source: Sobek, Brenner, Michaely 2013. Buildings as recource stores: recycling-friendly construction in practice
DETAIL 01/12, pp.48-51