21 March 2009

Building the eco friendly way - Demolition complete

Demolition, or should I say 'de-construction', of the existing house was completed recently. All materials salvaged from the building were segregated into like materials for easy recycling, or for un-recyclable materials, sent to landfill.

I believe that we managed to recycle around 60-70% of the materials from the old house. Not a bad effort considering that most house demolitions consist of 0% recycled!

The first image below shows in the foreground un-recyclable materials such as PVC, other plastics and some damaged timber which unfortunately had to go to landfill. In mid image is concrete and brickwork stockpiled for crushing and recycling, and in the background is a stockpile of green vegetation that will be sent for mulching and re-use in gardens.

A huge recycled success was the quantity of timber that we managed to reclaim from the old house. Below is just part of the timber that was salvaged. All this timber was sent to a recycling yard where it will be de-nailed and on sold.

I think that we have demonstrated how easily simple structures can be treated in a sustainable way through recycling. With the quantity of materials recycled, the cost to remove the house was no more than if it was all sent to landfill. The only trade off was the increased duration required to 'de-construct' the house rather than demolish. I would put this at around another two weeks.

Having just been through the process of 'de-constructing' a house it does raise the problem that when we build houses, we aren't building them to be easily pulled apart at the end of their life. This is definitely something that the Construction Industry has to change in order to become more sustainable, I know that we will start giving it greater consideration when we build. Green building isn't just about the building of things, it also needs to take into consideration the 'taking apart of them' as well.

The next couple of weeks will have some excavation and ground works and then the in-ground plumbing and drainage will be laid.

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