You know that deconstruction is kind to your wallet at tax time. But did you know that it’s just as kind to the environment? Whether you are a homeowner looking for an eco-friendly alternative to demolition on your kitchen renovation or an architect interested in burnishing your credentials as a green builder, we have you covered. Here are five reasons and advantages why deconstruction is more eco-friendly than demolition.
1. Deconstruction uses fewer natural resources
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60% of non-food and fuel materials in the United States are ultimately used to support the construction industry. Whether it is for new construction of homes and commercial properties or renovation, those materials require a great deal of energy and raw materials. This is because construction involves the manufacturing, packaging, labeling, shipping, and installation of many components. If building materials are made entirely of new parts, then they are also made of many natural resources.
The deconstruction process provides a source of materials that have already been manufactured, saving energy and raw materials from that process. In addition, because the materials are often donated directly to their new owners, they require less shipping and storage. This means lower energy costs when these materials go from one place to the next. When deconstructed materials’ new owners are local, the savings are even larger. There are minimal fuel requirements needed to bring materials from one place to the next in these situations.
2. Deconstruction helps keep material out of landfills
In the United States each year, the amount of construction and demolition material sent to landfills is equivalent to all of the municipal trash collection sent to landfills. Thus, a robust deconstruction process could, theoretically, cut landfill use in half in the United States alone.
By re-purposing materials that would otherwise languish in landfills, we help the environment. We see benefits on air quality and groundwater. We also see the reduction of chemicals and components found in discarded televisions, computers, and other electronics disposed of during traditional demolition processes.
3. Deconstruction produces lower greenhouse gas emissions
One of the primary negative outcomes of landfills is the methane produced as materials housed there break down over time. In fact, landfills are the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the United States. They contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer and, ultimately, climate change.
In addition, shipping and processing of construction waste creates additional greenhouse emissions. Shipping waste requires heavy equipment. Some landfills process materials through incineration, creating further air quality impacts and contributing to smog and acid rain. By keeping materials out of landfills, we avoid these large-scale catastrophic impacts with deconstruction. That’s very eco-friendly.
4. Deconstruction provides materials for reuse
By providing building materials, fixtures, and furnishings for other projects, the deconstruction process reduces a projects’ environmental footprint. This comes through the savings in raw materials and the energy required for the manufacturing process.
Also, deconstructed materials reduce the environmental footprint. With deconstruction, new materials are not packaged, shipped to storage facilities, stored in climate controlled warehouses, then shipped to their eventual building site. By transporting previously used materials directly to their site of use, deconstruction is more eco-friendly because the process has fewer steps.
5. Deconstruction counters the culture of planned obsolescence
Whether it is home electronics, kitchen appliances, or “fast” fashion, our culture and economy are geared toward the idea that nothing is built to last anymore. This impacts the environment as items which were formerly bought for their usefulness and reliability are now bought on the assumption that they will be disposed of and replaced within a year or two.
By adding value to construction and design components that were formerly subject to disposal, we create market conditions that encourage better quality in the design and manufacturing of a variety of goods. This not only raises the bar for manufacturing but encourages a culture that values high quality overall. That’s great news for architects and contractors. It’s also great for homeowners because higher quality creates more value and earning potential over time.
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Whatever your project, commercial or residential, large or small, Green Donation Consultants can help you add value when you choose deconstruction, a more eco-friendly option over demolition. Contact us today and find out what a difference expert advice can make in your project, process, and bottom line. You can also gain 5-10 LEED points with deconstruction.