Increased Awareness Equals Better Enviornment & Cost Savings
Construction and demolition waste constitutes approximately 40% of the total solid waste stream in the United States. Architects, developers and builders have a large impact on the environment in terms of waste created, energy consumed and toxins produced. This staggering percentage can be reduced by encouraging the use of existing buildings, salvaged or recycled products, and by specifying renovation and construction waste recycling requirements for new projects.
At DeStefano Architects, we appreciate the positive value of reusing an existing building versus demolition and new construction, and always work with our clients to consider all practical options that would allow an existing building to be renovated. For renovation and new construction we're increasingly incorporating recycled and reused products into our projects, and looking at the balance of costs, aesthetics and environmental impact for each material selected. In addition, we specify waste management plans which coordinate the separation and recycling of both demolition and construction waste. Case histories demonstrate these measures provide cost-savings for the project in addition to the benefits found in building responsibly.
Currently, some items are more easily recycled than others: demolished brick, concrete, asphalt, metals, plastics, clean wood and drywall. As recycling becomes more prevalent and as local statutes require more controlled waste-management, recycling technologies will improve and demand for recycled materials will increase, further improving overall cost savings.