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Recycling of construction materials will make a significant reduction in the environmental impact of construction.

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Construction technology 3 Coursework 2000-2001 Q-8- Recycling of construction materials will make a significant reduction in the environmental impact of construction. 1.00 Introduction: The following research essay will deliberate whether the recycling of building materials has a considerable potential to reduce the environmental impact of the building materials. The essay will also look at the potential of recycling of a range of construction materials and a number of barriers of their implementation. It is not the scope of this essay to look at the recyclability of the majority of building materials, as this essay will not exceed 3000 words. The need to encourage recycling and re-use of building materials and the need for use of secondary materials rather then primary materials to minimize environmental effect of the building materials is going to be the theme of this investigative essay. Furthermore, the report will also outline to the extent, to which a design of the structure will facilitate future recycling and why the designers are not committed to choosing environmentally friendly materials. However, the essays will not say that, all construction materials can be recycled and that all recycled materials are good for the environment. Total Energy Use of building materials from cradle to crave The Life-cycle of construction materials will generally involve most of the following stages, and each one has an environmental impact. 1. Extraction of raw materials 2. Transport of raw materials 3. Processing to form the construction material 4. Transport to site 5. ...read more.


From environmentally point of view, repair is generally preferable to reuse, reuse to recycling, and recycling to disposal. The low impacts of reclaimed materials can be increased if they are transported very long distances compared with new materials. The following table shows the maximum distance a reclaimed material can be transported by road before it will have a greater impact on the environment then a new material manufactured locally. For example, a reclaimed brick up to 500 miles will have less environmental impact than new bricks. From a factory 250 miles away (Anderson Jane and Howard Nigel, 2000). Maximum transport distance for reclaimed materials Material Distance (miles) Reclaimed tile 100 Reclaimed slate 300 Reclaimed bricks 250 Reclaimed aggregates 150 Reclaimed timber (e.g. floor boards) 1000 Reclaimed steel products 2500 Reclaimed aluminum products 7500 Table 1.2- Transport energy Source (The Green Guide to Housing Specification) Both reclaimed bricks and tiles can be used in framed external wall construction. The table 1.2 shows the distance reclaimed bricks and tiles can be transported before the impact of transport becomes greater than the impact of manufacturing a new brick. The use of local recycled both for hardcore and within concrete will reduce resource consumption and will improve environmental performance. Table 1.2 also states the maximum recycled concrete aggregate can be transported before its impact exceeds that of origin aggregate. Therefore, energy for transporting construction materials is very important when considering recycled and reclaimed materials. Some building materials such as concrete are of high density and low value and transportation will form high level of energy usage, so for such materials the ...read more.


Low material toxicity 3) Minimal energy use 4) Minimal waste 5) Minimal maintenance 6) Minimal running costs 7) Maximum flexibility of function 8) Suitability for local climate The initial intention of the designers has to make as much as possible of the building itself of recyclable. The theme is got to be resource recovery, which is used to refer to both materials recycling and burning with energy recovery. Moreover renewable such as timber, which is the most traditional eco-friendly material should be the norm for the designers and all those in the construction industry. But take into consideration the transportation-energy cost. Avoid the use of concrete, steel, and PVC products wherever possible as they are the most polluting products interns of the environment Conclusion The potential impact of construction materials on the environment is so huge in term of energy consumption and landscape. However, it is widely recognized that there is great potential in existence for recycling and reclaiming construction materials, if only the specifiers, clients and developers might wish to take on board with this idea when it comes to decision making. A lot of energy will be saved by recycling or re-use of building products compared with energy required to produce similar products from primary resources based on current practices. Several environmental impacts of building materials are shown in figure 1 and figure 1.2 and table 1 and 2 have been shown several available methods, which can be used to reduce the environmental impact of the buildings. A number of assessment methods of building materials like the embodied energy and Life Cycle Analysis have been included in this essay. They are all very useful tools, which will aid in selecting greener materials for sustainability. ...read more.

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