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The Blue Roof: A New, Eco-Friendly Concept

By: Cynthia Laferrière

The Blue Roof: A New, Eco-Friendly Concept

By: Cynthia Laferrière

Green renovationRoofThe Blue Roof: A New, Eco-Friendly Concept

If you live in a big city or keep yourself apprised of innovative methods of environmental conservation, you’ve probably already heard of green roofs. They’re created using a technique which involves covering a building’s rooftop with all kinds of vegetation: plants, flowers, and vegetables. It’s no secret: green structures provide better insulation and minimize carbon emissions.  All in all, they improve air quality while increasing the building's overall energy efficiency.

Following in the same footsteps, lo and behold the blue roof, the new and updated version of the eco-friendly roof system, is intended to solve an increasingly common problem. This innovative system could help cities manage heavy rainfall—yet another way to adapt to climate change.

rain on roof_the blue roof: a new, eco-friendly concept

Source: Flickr

What’s a Blue Roof?

This new technology came about in Montréal and was developed by Hydrotech—as seen atop McGill University’s Faculty of Education building. The appeal of this design is that it doesn’t interfere with other roofing projects. In addition to solar panels, the roof can accommodate a terrace, vegetable garden, playground, or lounge area, and any type of heating or air conditioning system. 

The main purpose of a blue roof is to collect rainfall to reduce any risks of flooding that could be caused by, among other things, a poorly functioning sewage system. Instead, rainwater is stored between aggregates or in a cavity under a paving stone. With a mini-dam-like (or barrier) aspect, a series of valves installed in stormwater drains controls the flow and return of any accumulated water progressively back to the sewer system (the excess will be drained before winter hits). 

Pipes can also be included to allow residents and businesses to recover water, for instance, to run cooling towers, washing machines, toilets, clean cars, water plants, and so on.

Typically, these are "smart" roofs. They’re fitted with water-leak detectors and sensors that measure water levels and transmit energy conservation data and weather conditions. These devices are convenient when it comes to performance improvement, damage prevention, and remote monitoring, as well as early water release in the event of a storm.

roof_the blue roof: a new, eco-friendly concept

Source: Flickr

Benefits of a Blue Roof

  • Cheaper than green roofs, blue roofs cost up to 10 times less, ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot, with some additional costs to convert an existing roof.
  • Provides better insulating than tar or gravel roofs by regulating the building's interior temperature. Moreover, the waterproofing membranes as well as the heating and air conditioning systems last longer, since the equipment operates less frequently or at a lower intensity.
  • Compared to traditional roofs, the risks of pipe leaks or overflow requiring expensive work and insurance claims are considerably lower.
  • In keeping with the principle of a circular economy, as well as lowering energy bills, any stored water can serve another purpose.
  • As previously stated, blue roofs help prevent municipal sewage systems from overflowing.
  • By upgrading to a blue roof, you may be eligible to receive financial incentives from government programs that promote water conservation, as well as receiving municipal credit for stormwater user fees.

The only minor drawbacks:

  • Since it requires a specialized engineer and a few significant challenges to install, it is more cost-effective, if not more convenient, to build a blue roof on a new structure than to convert an old one. 
  • Installation on commercial buildings or high-rise apartment buildings is preferable to that on houses; space (size and slope), efficiency, and costs are the main reasons.
  • More expensive than a regular roof to install, and there are maintenance and upkeep costs. However, if you were already planning to replace your entire roof, the energy efficiency will pay off over the subsequent years.
  • The overall load is much more significant on the structure. Fortunately, buildings nowadays are built according to strict standards, and they have a greater capacity to support such a load, especially commercial and high-rise buildings. 

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Installing a Blue Roof

Environmental standards, specific requirements, precise calculations... Such a project requires a unique blend of municipal representatives, clients, engineers, and builders. Any company installing the blue roof will also be responsible for future maintenance and repairs.

This project begins with a feasibility study: if a blue roof is to be installed on an existing building, the structure must be able to support it. A concrete structure is usually recommended, rather than steel or wood. Then, the existing waterproofing membrane is inspected and may have to be replaced with a new, more modern one, made of bitumen and recycled materials such as tires and glass powder.

The water storage area may or may not cover the entire roof, depending on what’s already there. This eco-friendly roof is only installed on a flat roof or one with very little slope. Nevertheless, when it concerns a gable roof, it’s possible to install a similar system: rainwater harvesting tanks.

The rooftop terrace is still the easiest way to implement a blue roof. The space between the pavers and the roof can be used to hold large amounts of water. However, heavier and thicker pavers are required. Also, the paver pedestals are usually customizable, enhancing their practicality.

Blue and green roofs are two ecological systems that can be used in conjunction to maximize the use and management of water storage. Considering it as the logical continuation of the green roof, the vegetated basins will take whatever is necessary for their survival and will be fitted with storage tanks to hold rainwater temporarily. 

green roof skyscrapers_the blue roof: a new, eco-friendly concept

Source: Alexa - Pixabay

Whether you’re a construction worker or a contractor, installing a blue roof will further your efforts in terms of sustainability and your desire to be socially involved, in addition to helping you save money, both through government financial incentives and utility bills. Moreover, you may also gain a new clientele: one that cares about contributing positively to a sustainable future for generations to come, whether that be human, animal, or plant life.

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Last modified 2022-09-07

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4 min read

Karine Dutemple 06 May 2022

Everything to Know About Greywater Systems

It shouldn’t be a surprise that environmental awareness is trending. On the homefront, many are looking for ways to reduce energy use and increase efficiency. Not only this, but others are interested in alternative ways of living, investing in homes off the beaten path such as tiny homes, trailers, and houseboats. Greywater systems are growing in popularity for green-conscious homeowners, as they are an excellent way to increase a home’s water efficiency. Freshwater shortages are becoming more prevalent across the globe, and installing a greywater system in the home is just one of the ways to combat this. For those living in dry climates, this option is further important. But what exactly is a greywater system and how does it work? We’re here to break it down to make understanding these systems a little bit easier. Everything you need to know about greywater systems What is greywater? We can think about residential water in three categories: freshwater, blackwater, and greywater. Freshwater is naturally occurring water that isn’t seawater or brackish water. This could mean any of the following sources: groundwater, rivers, icebergs, glaciers, and so forth. Blackwater is as it sounds: it is highly toxic and contains a concentration of bacteria. This water comes from your toilet. Greywater is all the leftover wastewater that a home produces. This could be the water from a shower, laundry, washing dishes and so forth. Many home systems are designed to store and reuse this water. What is a greywater system used for? To put it simply, a greywater system takes your home's greywater and diverts this water to other places and purposes, such as water for the garden and irrigating your landscape. Greywater contains traces of dirt, food, hair, and grease. Although these elements are harmful when released into bodies of water, they act as nutrients and fertilizers for plants, grasses, trees and flowers. How do greywater systems work? On its face, the way a greywater system works is not too complex. It’s simple: all of the water from your sinks, showers, and additional drains will be collected in a “surge tank.” The surge tank can take in a lot of water at once, slowing down the flow. Once this water slows down, the solids that have collected in it will settle on the bottom, allowing for the clean water to separate and move on. When it comes to building and designing this system, there are many options. Simplicity is key, and there are ways to build that won’t alter your current plumbing setup. You may consider a gravity-based system that will redirect your water into a surge tank and a basic irrigation system. If you’re in a situation where you’re living on a slope, only then will you maybe need to consider the addition of a mechanical pump. Benefits of a home greywater system As we mentioned, the main benefit of a greywater system is that it’s environmentally friendly. Implementing a greywater system into your home allows it to function in an eco-friendly manner, recycling and reusing water for additional purposes. Many homeowners also cite the money that these systems save. Installing a greywater system can allow for dramatic energy and water bill savings, with the potential to save up to 40,000 gallons of water per year. A bonus for those who use septic tanks is that the use of these systems also helps to prolong the life of your system. Source: Robert Stokoe Common greywater system mistakes If you’re new to the concept of the greywater system or aren’t too sure how to approach it, here are some of the most common mistakes that we’d suggest avoiding. Storing water too long: When greywater is stored too long, or in warm conditions, it can quickly become septic. Once the water becomes septic, it’s unusable. Of course, this is something you don’t want to happen so it’s important to have a system that uses your stored water regularly. Water should not be stored for longer than 24 hours. Not knowing where your greywater is going: When it comes to different greywater systems, some, such as the perforated pipe may not have a clear direction. If you don’t know where your greywater is going, then problems can occur. One of these is the clogging of soil or from roots infiltrating the system. Irrigating the incorrect plants: Greywater is excellent for your trees and flowerbeds. But it’s crucial to mention that you should avoid watering your vegetable garden with it. Also, some lawns cannot handle greywater and require specific equipment for it to be properly dispersed. Make sure to do your research before pouring greywater over everything. Using the wrong equipment: When it comes to the equipment you use, you want to create a greywater system that works with the space. Again, this will require a little bit of time and energy in terms of researching the right method for your home and property. You may also consider hiring an expert to build the system for you, ensuring a positive result!

5 min read

Christime Simard 08 Jun 2021

The Creation of a Green Wall: How to Go About It?

If you are a plant lover, you have surely heard of green walls. If you are not familiar with this term or, like me, thought it meant a wall full of vines, think again! Instead, imagine a vertical garden, filled with different and varied plants, concentrated on a wall section. You are interested? Us too! The realization of an interior or exterior green wall will not only offer you an aesthetic advantage, but will also offer you multiple benefits! Here is some information before you embark on this adventure. The creation of a green wall: how to go about it? What is a green wall and what are its benefits? Much like a painting, a green wall can extend to different sizes depending on your space and its restrictions. However, unlike a regular painting, this one will be in constant bloom and you will be able to watch it grow and flourish over time! Beyond its aesthetic appeal, its installation will help with the purification and filtration of the air, in addition to the natural production of oxygen that plants normally produce. Plants also help keep the temperature more stable and cool, which will also help you limit your air conditioning energy use! In addition, a green wall will offer you sound-absorbing properties once installed since it will absorb ambient noise in your home. Several studies report in particular the benefits of plants and vegetation in the workplace, in community spaces or at home, explaining that they significantly increase productivity, well-being, mood and much more! Installing a green wall: where to start? The selection of the perfect plants according to their location If you choose to install an interior green wall in your home, you will have to take into account its location and the amount of light it will receive. Whether in a small apartment or a larger home, natural light will never stay the same with the passing hours. If you choose a corner that receives little light, lean towards tropical plants instead, as they require little direct light to thrive. For generally darker or poorly lit interiors, it is best to install an additional light source, even if you are only selecting plants that require little light exposure. You can do this using a horticultural light (fluorescent tube) or a steam lamp. This will also allow you to broaden your selection of plants in the end. The PlantesPlaisirsPassions website lists the following plants, which are suitable for shaded areas: Dracaena; Zamioculcas; ferns (Asplenium, Adiantum, bird's nest, capillary, Filicophyta, Nephrolepis Exaltata, etc.); miseries; Pothos; Aeschynanthus; Peperomia; Asparagus; Spathiphyllum; Sansevieria; Clivia; Ivy. 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In addition, an irrigation system is for regular watering of the plants. For that, here is what you will need to make your interior green wall yourself: a flexible polyethylene or polyane film; a wooden board to be fixed to the wall or freestanding; chicken wire; moss (sphagnum); succulents; soil suitable for succulents; hammer, nails, wall stapler and staples, wood glue, wire cutters, pencil, tape measure. Once the basic structure has been chosen, it must be made waterproof by cutting the flexible polyethylene film to deposit it at the bottom. Take care to let it protrude well on the sides. Then place the sphagnum moss (available at garden stores) in a bowl and water it so that it soaks up well. Then place it all over the bottom of the board. Finally, add over the potting soil evenly. To make the whole thing even prettier, you can put on top of the green wood moss. Now let's move on to creating the front of the wall. To do this, take the measurements of the board and cut the mesh according to said dimensions. Secure the wire mesh to the board and place it on the bottom. Turn everything over to cut off the excess polyethylene film. All that remains is to place the succulents. It is a question of enlarging the holes of the wire mesh using wire cutters to pass the roots. Dig a hole in the moss with your finger and slide the plant into it. Do the same over the entire surface, arranging them to your liking. Now it will take a week for the plants to take root. If like most people you like flowers that are both aesthetic and not difficult to maintain, you can go for trendy varieties. After that, you can fix it to the wall, hang it up or put legs on it. ” Source: Watering and irrigation Several models of green walls seen on the internet during my research included an automatic irrigation system. 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6 min read 09 Aug 2023

Glulam Timber Framing: A Pioneering Method in the Construction Industry

Glued-laminated timber framing is tomorrow’s building material. Not only does it have numerous advantages, but it also reflects the environmental shift underway across the construction industry. If you’re looking for a home that’s certified green, look no further than glued-laminated timber framing. Here’s why: What’s glued-laminated timber framing? Source: Canva Glued-laminated timber framing—or glulam as it’s more commonly referred to—is a wooden structure that consists of 45 mm-thick layers of lumber bonded together with glue. The adhesives used are phenol-formaldehyde and aminoplast resins. The above-mentioned glues are thermosetting adhesives made with resin mixed with a curing agent on-site. Its quality is contingent on 3 factors: pressure; humidity; temperature. The bonded slats of lumber are then used to build beams and columns that will eventually serve as structural framing. Pros and Cons of Using Glulams to Build a House Source: Canva Five Pros of Using Glulams 1. Strength Compared to traditional timber framing, glulam framing doesn’t have the natural flaws—big knots, for instance—of solid lumber. As such, the varying degree of strength exhibited by each beam is optimized by glued-laminated manufacturing standards. This is especially true when it comes to balancing loads—glulams can withstand greater loads compared to solid lumber beams. Lastly, glulam is very resilient when eventually exposed to chemical products, as well as humidity-caused deformation and warping. 2. Eco-friendly The construction industry is facing the ever-growing risk of resource scarcity. Consequently, the focus is placed on the use of renewable materials. Glued-laminated timber falls squarely into the criteria for efficient, clean, and green materials since it has: favourable cost-benefit; sustainable characteristics with future generations in mind; a lifecycle that’s in line with the construction industry’s development. Glulam takes part in mitigating an energy consumption trend that’s rather significant. In fact, the building industry currently represents: 32% of the total energy consumption; 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. Choosing glulams means opting for a better future. 3. Mechanical performance While glulam beams are stronger than solid lumber, their mechanical performance is nonetheless largely dependent on the methods used to meet structural building constraints. Therefore, glulam framing used for substantially-sized structures can be paired with steel plates for additional reinforcement. The latter will significantly increase the load-bearing capacity and the axial rigidity of the glulam beam. 4. Significant sizes Glulam timber maintains a humidity level of 12%, which limits its tendency to contract and shrink, making it more stable than solid lumber. Since it’s made with layers of slats glued to one another, a single beam can span 328 ft (100 m). Therefore, very big structures can be built, showcasing various shapes, from curves to arcs. A structure built using this type of framing is widely open and aesthetic, courtesy of the lack of need for additional structural support beams. 5. Especially lightweight Glulams are of proportional weight, making them 5 times lighter than a standard lumber beam, yet they maintain equal strength. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! The Four Cons of Glued-Laminated Timber 1. Steeper prices The cost of glulams has to be put into perspective based on available resources. In regions like Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, where wood is readily accessible, glulam tends to be less expensive than in countries (or regions) with limited forested areas. Regardless of the situation, glued-laminated timber will always be more costly than traditional solid lumber, due to its processing and transformation. 2. Differing qualities The quality of glulam timber largely depends on the method used during its manufacturing process. This is very closely related to the adhesive used to bond the slats together. If the pressure, humidity, and temperature conditions aren’t met, the strength of a glulam beam won’t be consistent. However, standards meticulously monitor the manufacturing process of such materials. As seen with CSA 086 standard, which distinguishes 4 glulam timber grades: 20f-E; 20f-EX; 24f-E; 24f-EX. The accompanying E and EX labels serve as the beams’ positional indicators, meaning either symmetrical to the neutral axis (EX) or asymmetrical (E). The glulam is then graded as “generic” or “proprietary.” Beware of the latter. Proprietary glulam doesn’t meet CSA 086 standard but has similar characteristics. To ensure this fact, the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) is responsible for approving their efficiency. In Quebec, generic glulam is manufactured by Goodfellow and Art Massif. 3. Integrity compromised by splitting Above all else, this is a problem inherent to large-scale structures. Although glulam has fewer joints than commonly-used materials, it’s made weaker by steel joints. Therefore, its integrity is comprised, typically resulting in the beams’ ends splitting where the tension forces are transversal to the wood grain. The ductility (the degree to which the material can sustain deformation) and its load-bearing ability are diminished. However, solutions have been developed: self-tapping screws; steel tubes; struts; braces; diagonal bracing. Ongoing research is contributing to the further development of joints maintaining the load-bearing capacity of glulams, especially when it comes to better strength distribution between the upper and lower angles of beams and columns. 4. Vulnerable to water exposure Amongst its numerous merits, we highlighted glulam timber’s resistance to humidity. While it sure can resist it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it reacts positively to it. Consequently, damage caused by water infiltration can result in: rotting; biotic decomposition. The second factor correlates with the proliferation of mould, moss, etc., which damages glulams in a similar fashion as it does solid lumber. Stability and Homogeneity of Glulam Timber Beams Source: Canva Since the slats are assembled in pieces using adhesives, it means that tall trees aren’t necessarily required. As a result, glulams aren’t as prone to knotting, which is something that typically develops over time. Therefore, glued-laminated timber exhibits greater resilience compared to solid lumber due to its exceptional homogeneity. The dimensional stability of a glulam beam is also superior to that of a solid lumber beam. This is attributed to the drying process it undergoes. In fact, each wood slat is individually dried before adhesives are applied.

4 min read 03 Aug 2023

The Benefits and Uses of Recycled Concrete

Did you know that concrete could be recycled? Well, yes siree Bob! Concrete recycling is a technique used to salvage concrete waste. It’s an alternative to disposing of it in landfills that happens to be both cost-effective and eco-friendly. So, let’s zero in on concrete recycling, a practice that’s still, to this day, little known in Canada. Recycled Concrete: What Is it Exactly? Source: Canva Globally speaking, concrete is one of the most exploited materials due to its notable strength and its use in almost all infrastructures. However, its environmental impact is highly criticized. The Global Concrete and Cement Association (GCCA) states that said material is responsible for 7% of the planet’s CO2 emissions. Luckily, concrete’s environmental impact can be reduced by recycling it instead of letting it go to waste. As such, a whole series of techniques are used, thereby salvaging inert materials produced by concrete. In other words, concrete is recycled and reused on new worksites. Recycled concrete offers to same properties as traditional concrete. It’s just as resistant, easy to work, as well as viscous enough. In terms of quality, it doesn’t fall short of natural concrete aggregate. However, note that recycled concrete is limited to a few fields of use, and can’t be used on all worksites. It can be used on construction projects requiring a tensile strength of C30/37. Concrete grades with a lower tensile strength may be used during freeze cycles. There are two types of recycled concrete: Concrete issued from construction waste This includes waste from precast plants or ready-to-use concrete. The waste in this category comes in a variety of configurations: fresh concrete waste, cured concrete waste, leftover manufacturing waste, or worksite scraps. It can either make its way back to precast plants (as it’s done with fresh concrete) or be salvaged in crushing screening plants. Concrete issued from demolition waste Here too, concrete residue is recycled in crushing screening plants. The thin part of concrete is typically used to manufacture binders. The recycling process can result in new aggregates that can be used to manufacture new concrete. And, as a matter of fact, said aggregates may be employed to replace naturally occurring gravel and sand. How Is Recycled Concrete Made? Source: Canva Salvaging concrete waste is a process that’s relatively simple and done in 3 basic steps: 1st step: Sorting The first step, prior to recycling concrete, is to proceed by sorting the concrete waste to separate it from other materials. This is done with a special type of sifter found in a wheel loader’s bucket to sort concrete residue from other waste materials (pieces of wood, metal bars, or plastic films). Note: Sorting materials is a crucial step in concrete recycling. It’s done on two levels: first during the deconstruction of infrastructures, then when the resulting residue is sorted in crushing plants. 2nd step: Crushing After the residue is sorted, next comes the recycling stage, which is the crushing part of it. The materials are first lightly ground with a hydraulic chisel. Then, the pieces are reduced to smaller fragments in a crusher, to obtain a grain size of 60 millimetres. Next up is the screening step, which consists of sorting the ground materials based on their grain size. 3rd step: Dusting Lastly, the dusting phase is typically done by wet processing. And there you have, ready-to-use recycled concrete. Using Recycled Aggregates or Crushed Concrete Source: Canva Recycled concrete can be used for many different purposes in the construction industry. In fact, it can be used to: build roadway foundations; build sidewalks; backfill pipe trenches; manufacture recycled concrete aggregates; make landscaping construction materials; rubblize concrete, which consists of converting old concrete to make a base course; manufacture pavers, pots, benches, etc. Recycled concrete can help minimize rainwater runoff. What Are the Advantages of Recycled Concrete? Even though recycled concrete is an uncommon practice in Canada, criticized by some, it’s still an alternative to disposing of it in landfills, and it has numerous benefits: Reduces the use of natural resources (concrete) by close to 30%: This is a massive advantage when recognizing that enormous amounts of aggregates are used every year. Preserve the environment: Reduces mineral waste, mining, and industrial activities linked to the manufacturing of traditional concrete. Reduces transportation costs: Concrete recycling centres are usually located in urban areas near construction zones. Significant time-saver: Recycled concrete can be made and used rather quickly, which significantly reduces construction timelines. How to Standardize the Use of Recycled Concrete Recycled concrete is a material with beneficial properties for the construction industry, but it remains relatively underutilized due to preconceptions. To standardize and further promote its use, the Province of Quebec could consider implementing regulations that mandate the use of concrete made from salvaged aggregates for constructing public buildings, similar to practices in other countries such as Switzerland.

6 min read

Cynthia Laferrière 16 Nov 2022

How to Effectively Manage Construction Waste

Since cities and suburbs are ever-developing, interior design and building trends rapidly evolving, and outdated buildings are brought up to code, it’s no wonder the construction, renovation, and demolition industry is booming. Although the desire for something new and beautiful is not likely to wane, it's becoming increasingly important, logical even, to reduce the waste generated by this industry. This includes recycling, processing, and repurposing materials. In keeping with environmental awareness and social responsibility, the following is intended to highlight the key ways in which you can improve worksite waste sorting and disposal. Why the need to manage construction waste? Regardless of the job site, it'll generate a diverse and varying amount of waste. Mostly, it'll be new material scraps (on construction worksites) or bits of mixed materials (on renovation and demolition worksites). On top of that, the presence of common waste such as packaging, dust, and trash from those working on the site (tissues, food, damaged equipment, etc.) will be found. The sheer volume and variety of waste materials will pose some challenges: Available storage space to sort materials at the source; Local resources, such as ecocentres or haulers; Worker training/awareness; Responsibility (Who's responsible for proper waste management depending on the type of waste – Is it the municipality, contractor, engineer, or owner?) Since the planet's future is at stake and guidelines have been established by several government departments, and since recycling generates employment, it's worth considering how you can take care of your residual waste materials! Quick Facts: » A landfill site that receives one ton of waste, as a result, releases one and a half tons of greenhouse gases. For example, renovating a triplex can generate up to 55 tons of waste (cement, bricks, wood, gypsum, paper, etc.). For this reason alone, better construction waste management is key to preventing all that waste from ending up in landfills. » Burying seemingly harmless materials such as lumber also contributes to climate change. When buried, the lack of oxygen promotes methane gas emissions, a result of organic matter decomposition. » Plaster, along with toxic residues such as glues, paints, etc., create noxious fumes that contaminate the water table. » A typical renovation job site can generate up to 78 tons of GHG, while a similar green job site can manage to emit only 35 tons. Source: coia.nac - Flickr - Title: waste - Changes: adjusted image size Are you looking for experts for your green renovation project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Construction Waste Management: Options Whether you outsource your waste management to a recycling centre or sort the waste yourself, it's essential to accurately identify the materials used or removed during the span of your project. Likewise, it's worthwhile to list your options. Several sustainable worksite management methods are available: Sustainable design Green materials Sustainable building design Selective deconstruction Converting existing buildings Advanced woodworking technique LEED program Routing construction, renovation, and demolition waste to the appropriate facilities Selective deconstruction This technique consists of carefully stripping, layer by layer, the components of a structure to salvage and repurpose the maximum amount of material for another construction project or to repair certain elements of an existing structure. Advanced woodworking technique Here, engineers and architects, using cutting-edge techniques and advanced calculations, work together to reduce lumber use for structural frameworks and design buildings that generate as little waste and junk as possible. LEED® This program, known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®), offers a range of evaluation systems and certifications for environmentally responsible projects. Numerous contractors rely on these measures and guidelines to manage their projects or develop new approaches for their clients. Ecocentres In Quebec, about 260 centres are attempting to effectively manage residential waste of all kinds. You've probably heard of them through recycling ads where you’re encouraged to drop off old appliances and electronics. Naturally, several ecocentres also have a place to drop off wood, aggregates, gypsum, shingles, batteries, dead leaves, peat, plumbing, and hazardous waste such as sealants or propane tanks, etc. Once the waste is sorted, it's then sent to various recycling or transformation sites. Recyclable Construction Materials Source: marcel.toruno - Flickr - Title: DSC04251 - Changes: adjusted image size Here are two of the most common concrete examples: Wood More than 60% of the wood collected from sorting centres will be repurposed into energy, and more than 35% will be used to manufacture new materials: melamine panels, pellet fuel, mulch, soundproofing panels, plywood, and much more. Gypsum Since this material can easily be broken down and eventually turns into fine powdery particles, it’s often used as a covering material in engineered landfills, as agricultural soil fertilizer, as an ingredient in cement, and even as a component in the manufacturing of drywall. However, for all these transformations, gypsum must be separated from other materials on worksites. Waste Container Rentals Some companies offer a one-stop shop-type of service that includes delivering the waste container to your door, transporting it back to the sorting center, and issuing a certificate showing the percentage of recycled materials in the dumpster. Containers ranging from 10 to 35 metres are rented depending on what will be discarded. Rest assured, depending on what you’re disposing of, you’ll be advised accordingly; whether it be heavy materials like concrete and dirt, or just a few pieces of wood and carpet. WM is one of the companies that offer such services in Canada. Source: Bill Smith - Flickr - Title: Dumpster Number Nine - Changes: adjusted image size And, as it goes, nothing’s perfect: Some remote areas are underserved. Lack of available workforce and the high cost of processing often prevent some materials such as vinyl, insulation, porcelain, and many others from being repurposed. The lack of knowledge regarding the origin of the materials creates ambiguity about quality standard compliance and the type of emissions generated during the transformation process, which altogether hinders recycling. Poorly sorted materials on worksites can be impossible to salvage because materials may have been compromised with incompatible residues. If correctly managed, there’s nothing to worry about – however, it's virtually impossible for all construction waste to be recycled, reclaimed, repurposed, or sold. For example, a mouldy carpet will inevitably end up in the landfill despite your best efforts! Lastly, before dumping everything into a recycling bin, consider the potential appeal of your used supplies and materials. Many DIYers, artists, and antique dealers look for items such as wrought iron railings, mouldings from earlier decades, intricately carved wooden doors, and so on. Likewise, when it comes to smaller projects, one person's trash is another person’s treasure. In this case, websites such as Kijiji, Marketplace, Craigslist, etc. can be useful. Who knows, perhaps you'll also discover a passion for restoration! Cover image: MPCA Photos - Flickr

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