The fairly rapid increase in demolition of older homes around Oregon has alarmed environmental groups. In general, demolition is not renowned as a green endeavor. Every time an older building is torn down and replaced with a new, energy efficient building, it takes around 50 years to recover the environmental impact of construction. However, demolition companies that prioritize green demolition—as we do—can positively impact climate change through recycling and salvaging.
Landfills and C&D Debris
Historically, Construction and Demolition Debris (C&D Debris) in the form of bricks, stones, plaster, drywall, wood, piping, electrical and more has gone straight to the landfill. Concrete from demolition has also traditionally been shipped to landfills without a second thought, creating a huge cost for demolition clients and causing a hefty environmental impact. Recent awareness of the ecological consequences of such practices has led to creative, green solutions. Landfills produce large quantities of methane as a natural byproduct. In response, large landfills have started to capture and process methane to create electricity. In Oregon the Columbia Ridge Landfill is producing enough energy to power 5,600 homes. Still, demolition contractors can make a big difference by minimizing the amount of waste they send to landfills.
Reuse and Recycling
Demolition contactors that value green practices prioritize reusing and recycling as many materials as possible, limiting waste. At Elder, for example, on-site machines are used to crush concrete into a recyclable product. These materials can be made into new concrete products and more. Demolition companies can also separate and salvage reusable fixtures for and other materials that can be sold at reuse stores and on the web.
Preventing Hazardous Waste
Green demolition companies can instruct their crews to limit waste and prevent pollution by having strict policies on site. Some of these techniques include covering building materials to prevent the spread of dust and debris, moving piles away from drains, and protecting/covering drains on site. Green demolition also means appropriately disposing of wastewater, and caring for the neighborhood by limiting noise pollution with updated machinery. Elder also requires every worker to attend a 40- hour safety training in order to learn how to handle hazardous waste safely and reduce pollution.
Innovation and Commitment
Elder Demolition and other forward-thinking demolition contractors are transforming the industry to positively impact climate change. Green demolition practices are smart, innovative, and crucial for the sustainability of the environment. Changing the demolition industry and its practices is an important step economically and for the health of the planet. We are committed to continued green demolition practices across the United States. To learn how we can help you conduct earth-friendly demolition, get in touch.
[Photo by Rennett Stowe via CC License]