A huge part of building green is waste management. While a high-performance home will operate efficiently for decades after its construction, the actual construction itself can be quite wasteful. In an industry where large structures are being built daily, there is going to be a large amount of waste produced. Identifying this waste and minimizing its environmental impact is a significant part of jobsite management. Fortunately, now, there are services that limit the amount of waste entering the landfill by effectively recycling the majority of jobsite waste.
A recent example of this is one of our new builds here at Ritchie Construction. The original plan to renovate an old, existing home was set aside when it became clear that tearing it down would not be very wasteful. In fact, after the hazardous materials abatement was completed, around 90% of the original structure was able to be recycled. This, paired with the high-performance building practises utilized in the building of the new home (making the new home significantly for efficient than the renovation and retrofit could ever be), has made the new building the more efficient choice both in short and long term.
Now that the construction of the new home is well underway, one might consider the waste being created during construction to be a hazard. However, once again, a partnership with green-minded waste removal companies has ensured that the vast majority of waste is recycled. Sea to Sky Removal has conveniently placed three recycling stations for Metal, Plastic, and Cardboard on site and when asked to pick up waste, their people will sort waste according to its recyclability. So far, in four months of construction, only one 35 gallon waste bin has been taken to the landfill. By being proactive about waste management it has been easy to minimize the environmental impact of our new build. As if that was not enough, the cost to dispose of recyclable materials is significantly less than garbage disposal, meaning that in the end, recycling not only saves the environment, it also saves money.
Another particularly interesting way to manage waste is reuse. When tearing down the old home, Ritchie has managed to salvage some highly characteristic beams and posts for reuse in the new home. Not only does this reduce waste, it also provides a sense of continuity between the two homes. The beams can fairly easily become barn doors, desktops, or any other number of things that carry the spirit of the old home into daily life in the new home. Sentimental? Yes. But also efficient? Absolutely.
As the building industry shifts towards more green buildings and building practises, it is exciting to see the development of new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle become available. And when these practises provide the desired result at a reduced cost, it is a no-brainer: green waste-management is the future of maintaining a clean and cost effective site, and the future is now.