Traditional demolition results in tremendous amounts of trash. The average 2,500-square-foot home, for instance, can create 25 tons of refuse. Hoping to minimize their landfill contributions, some demolition contractors have chosen to specialize in green demolition, an approach that seeks to reuse as much as possible. Oftentimes, green commercial, residential and industrial demolition contractors set the minimum goalpost for material sent to the landfill at 25 percent, meaning just a quarter of the building’s materials will be thrown away in the end. 75 percent of the structure is reused, recycled or repurposed. However, some deconstruction experts have been able to reuse as much as 99.2 percent of a building’s materials. As the demolition/deconstruction industry continues to improve its techniques and technology, our construction stream can become a “cradle to cradle” system, in which the same materials are reborn time and time again in new projects.
Green demolition can take a little more time to complete, but the practical advantages are many. Reusing building materials saves money – first of all, by reducing landfill fees and earning back funds for recyclable goods. Scrap steel is one of many lucrative building materials; steel supports can be resold for hundreds of dollars per ton. In the end, “going green” can save money while earning positive PR. Finally, green demolition can earn a building LEED points both for earth-friendly demolition approaches and for reused materials. For instance, our concrete crusher can break concrete chunks into fill, an eminently useful construction material for new projects.
But green demolition can also boost local economies by creating jobs. Although there are no unified statistics for how many jobs green demolition creates, different eco-friendly demolition industries keep their own numbers. For example, a 2011 report from John Dunham and Associates found that the scrap steel industry supports about 162,000 jobs in the United States.
How Green Demolition can Create Local Jobs
Through community partnerships to remove and recycle blighted homes. In Wayne County, Mich., Detroiters are going back to work deconstructing about 80 houses in nearby cities over the next two years. A community partnership, the NSP 3 Deconstruction Project pairs trained but unemployed denizens with green projects in their neighborhoods. It is predicted that the program will create about 80 jobs.
By increasing the need for experienced contractors, transporters and recyclers. Green demolition is spurring a whole new generation of construction companies specializing in earth-friendly approaches. Reusing construction materials requires deconstructing and sorting materials; transporting said materials to recycling centers; and carrying out recycling procedures. Every step along the way creates stable new jobs.
By creating uniquely American services and goods. America is at an economic crossroads. The manufacturing jobs of the 1950s and ‘60s are rarely carried out on our shores today. To thrive in the economy of tomorrow, Americans must have opportunities to train in the industries of tomorrow, including green demolition. By creating innovative new ways to re-purpose construction materials, green demolition contractors are opening pathways for tomorrow’s job seekers.
[Photo by: gothick_matt, via CC License]