Green Demolition is Key in Oregon Sustainable Building

Green DemolitionHere in Portland, demolition has a decidedly earth-friendly air. Residents and contractors alike are generally aware of the opportunities to reuse building materials from demolition sites. Green demolition can include salvaging materials for resale, reusing materials on site, and donating materials to local building recycling centers. Here in Oregon, we are lucky to have multiple companies specializing in construction and demolition recycling. Read on to discover a few of the ways demolition byproducts can be recycled.

Recycled Materials’ Use in Building Project

Recycled Glass Products. Second Glass is based in our hometown of Portland, Oregon. The firm specializes in reusing glass from damaged windshields. Second Glass uses recycled glass to make shower enclosures, room dividers, lighting fixtures, and even walls.

Recycled Bricks have multiple uses. Vintage Brick Salvage, an Illinois company, salvages bricks in several ways. They slice them into thin bricks for walls, walkways, and floors. Vintage Brick Salvage also sells recycled paving bricks.

Recycled Concrete. Homeowners can easily create their own recycled walkways by repurposing broken up concrete. It’s not unusual to remove old patios during construction; the resulting chunks of concrete may be used to create walkways, retaining walls or even raised garden beds.

Concrete may also be broken up into fill. Our Portland demolition firm specializes in this form of concrete recycling. Our mobile concrete crusher can quickly break concrete masses into uniform gravel, for use in pipe bedding; as aggregate in new poured-concrete projects; to encourage proper drainage in wet areas; and much more. Recycled concrete aggregate may be used as road base as well—it can act as a stabilizing under-layer for new paved roads.

Finally, concrete aggregate can be an attractive ingredient in landscape architecture. Wirework gabions may be filled with broken concrete to create unique, attractive garden dividers.

Recycled Wood is gaining popularity among designers. Viridian Wood, another Portland, Oregon salvage firm, culls wood from old docks, spent shipping containers, empty buildings, and even wine casks. The lumber is kiln-dried, milled, and sold as gorgeous flooring, paneling, decking, and furniture.

These are just a handful of the projects that may be completed with recycled materials. Not only will concrete recycling and other demolition salvage projects bring homeowners pride; it may also bring them LEED points

Recycled Building Materials Can Earn LEED Points

There are several potential routes for earning LEED points through demolition material recycling. Here, we outline the LEED categories and point scales related to green demolition recycling.

–Credit 4 under Materials and Resources: 1 point may be earned for using 10% recycled content; an additional point can be earned for using 20% recycled building content.
–Credit 2 under Materials and Resources: Earn 1 point for diverting 50% of demolition materials from landfills; if 75% of materials are diverted, 2 points may be earned.
–Credit 3 under Materials Reuse: Earn 1 point for using 5% salvaged materials (according to cost) and 2 points for using 10% salvaged building materials.

America produces millions of tons of construction and demolition debris annually. According to the EPA, the per capita rate of C&D trash was 2.8 pounds per person, per day in 1996. By recycling as much as possible from demolition projects, we can significantly reduce the amount of refuse sent to landfills every year. Do your part by taking on one of the demolition asset recovery and recycling projects described above.

[Photo by Tambako via CC License]

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