07 Sep Is it Possible to Recycle a Building?
The environmental impact of the construction industry cannot be ignored. Buildings are responsible for almost half of the world’s carbon emissions, a number that is permanently at risk of growing due to the accelerated urban development. Within the construction industry, one of the biggest issues that must be addressed is the disposal or management of the waste generated by construction and demolition. These residues do not only represent a health hazard when not being correctly managed, they also cause an enormous waste of resources that can be used for other purposes.
An important part of sustainability is related to these kinds of problems: we must not only find ways to save energy and resources, it’s also important to figure out how to mitigate the effects of waste disposal and, in the best of cases, reuse them or recycle them. Biocycling is an alternative that is being explored and perfected within the construction industry and that can really make a difference for the industry’s sustainability efforts, as well as for several social problems.
This process consists in the decomposition of construction waste into a mass that can be mixed with mycelium or other organisms known as biobinders. As these organisms develop, this material becomes increasingly consistent and can be compressed and shaped into bricks. This would literally let us turn old houses into new ones, using all the disposal that would normally go to a garbage deposit. These houses, made from organic materials, could even be considered as biodegradable.
Now, besides the environmental impact that this process offers, there are other bright sides to it. It can become a sustainable and affordable answer for zones with housing crisis, as well as an environmentally friendly solution for temporary housing in disaster zones, due to the material’s compostability.
This process is yet to be fully perfected, but its main developers have a goal in mind: to be able to take this knowledge and expertise to those places that need it the most, in order to really make a difference for both the environment and the society. YOU MUST READ Adaptive Reuse Architecture: A Trend that can Change the World
- Laura Dorwart, “Magic mushrooms: how fungus could help rebuild derelict Cleveland”, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jul/05/magic-mushrooms-how-fungus-could-help-rebuild-derelict-cleveland
- Christopher Maurer, “The Future is Bio: How to Grow Buildings”, Red House Studio, https://www.redhousestudio.net/blogs/cleveland-architecture-firm-news/495734-the-future-is-bio–how-to-grow-buildings#.YTWsr9OA7DJ
- Calum Lindsay, “Redhouse Architecture wants to use mushrooms to turn derelict buildings into new homes”, Dezeen, https://www.dezeen.com/2018/09/25/video-redhouse-architecture-mushroom-mycelium-derelict-buildings-cleveland-movie/