The world is constantly evolving, and with that comes the tearing down of old buildings to make room for the new. With an ever-changing cityscape, the waste of demolished buildings adds up substantially. According to an article published in Clean Techn Environ Policy in 2012, this waste accounts for 27% of municipal waste in Canadian landfills. This is a lot of waste, especially when the materials that are being demolished could be repurposed. Earth’s resources are not unlimited, and it is essential to try to make each sector of work as environmentally friendly as possible.
That is exactly what the British Columbian company Unbuilders is trying to do in the world of construction. True to their name, Unbuilders, deconstruct and salvage the houses’ resources for reuse instead of demolishing them. The company was founded in 2018 and is working to decrease the percentage of demolishment waste in landfills. The company does this by selling valuable old-growth wood and recycling the other materials. This is done by diligently taking apart the structure and separating waste from recycling. Unbuilders average project yields less than 5% waste, diverting tonnes of waste from the landfill and turning them into reusable salvaged wood. According to their website, with the tax credit (federal and provincial) one can receive through using Unbuilders’ services, it costs 11,905 dollars less than the average demolition on a 2400 square foot home. Unbuilders provides a more affordable option than demolishment while being more environmentally friendly.
The environmental benefits of diverting and managing this waste can cause a reduction in demolition-caused air pollution and minimize noise that can affect nearby animals. Besides, it can lower the chance of heavy metals and hazardous materials contaminating soils or waterways, resulting in harming ecosystems. It also decreases the amount of logging needed by repurposing wood instead of harvesting new lumber.
Making changes to the construction industry to incorporate elements of eco-friendliness such as reusing and recycling kickstarts a positive chain reaction for the environment. If you are considering repurposing your land in BC, consider unbuilding instead of demolishing!