More and more these days, people are becoming aware of the need to protect the environment. The construction industry is no exception. Many Contractors advertise “green” building practices – meaning they are building or remodeling in the most eco-friendly way they can. Not only is Green building about the materials and methods you use to construct a home or building, it is also about the way you demo. Here are some tips to help you make the demolition process green.
- Recycle. Most materials can be recycled, which is not only better for the environment, it can create other business opportunities. For instance, concrete can be crushed into gravel, which is in high demand in the construction industry. Steel and scrap metal can be recycled and most recycling programs will pay you for these materials. Beams and wood doors can be reused, recycled or sold. Toilets, sinks, and other porcelain materials are often in high demand by architectural salvage companies, or they can be recycled.
- Handle environmental chemicals with care. There are many hazardous materials in the building industry which should be disposed of properly, including lead, asbestos, and synthetic mineral fibers (such as those in fiberglass). Workers should be well protected when disposing of these chemicals. Other, less well-known materials to watch out for include: wood dust containing formaldehyde, which can be found in particleboard and wood paneling; lead paint (which is very simple to test for); and even torching steel beams containing lead paint may create high levels of airborne lead. EPA guidelines should be followed and of course all workers should wear proper safety equipment to protect themselves from these materials.
- Take care with Air Conditioners. All A/C units contain some form of cooling refrigerant, many of which can release greenhouse gases and destroy the ozone layer. It is actually illegal to simply throw away an air conditioner. There are local disposal programs which can be used to properly drain the liquid and safely destroy the unit.
With just a bit of research, care and time, you can use green demolition practices which will help both your business and the environment. Most people want to support companies that go “green” – planet earth is, after all, our home.