Green construction, or “sustainable construction,” is a way to use resources more efficiently. Not only does it reduce waste and pollution, but promotes health and energy efficiency. It’s estimated that almost half of all nonresidential construction in 2015 will be green, meaning the materials used can be reused or recycled.
To clear the waters, reusing is not the same as recycling. When you reuse a product, you are taking the original part (e.g. a door) and using it for the same purpose elsewhere. Whereas, when you recycle something, it is made into a new, different product (e.g. a door becomes a coffee table).
While reusing and recycling have dissimilar definitions, their drawbacks are similar. Some drawbacks of recycling include:
- Setting up new recycling centers can be costly
- Recycling is not always available
While disadvantages of reusing a product are:
- Sometimes has a limited lifespan
- Can be less energy efficient
- May not be compatible with the new system
Before you decide to reuse or recycle your construction waste, figure out which strategy will work the best. Can you recycle a part or would it be better to reuse it?
Modular Construction Is Designed for Reuse
Modular offices, otherwise known as “in-plant offices,” are designed for reuse. Once you build your modular office, it is easy to change or move it later on. Modular construction allows you to simply disassemble and reassemble or add onto your in-plant office.
Modular vs Traditional Construction Waste
In the traditional construction of a single 2,000 square foot home, approximately 8,000 pounds of waste is created when the structure is torn down. Compare that amount to about 2,170 pounds of waste when a modular structure of the same size is taken apart.
To reduce the amount of construction waste that is generated during construction, reuse or recycle what you can regardless of whether your structure was built traditionally or modularly.
Recycling & Reusing Modular Waste
Modular in-plant offices are constructed off-site then shipped to the construction site and pieced together. Waste can be reduced significantly during the design phase with proper planning. If after the office has been constructed you decide you don’t need a component anymore, it can be recycled. Many, if not all, of the materials used in modular offices can be recycled or reused, including:
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) cores
- Electrical components
- Metal roofs
If the component is in good condition and won’t interfere with normal operations of the new building, reuse it. Otherwise, recycling it is the best choice. Contact your local waste disposal agency about recycling materials you are unsure of.