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Walking on Waste

Pioneering sustainability in construction

Introduction

In an industry marked by substantial environmental impact, the construction sector stands at a crossroads. Generating billions of tons of waste annually, primarily from refurbishment and demolition, the industry not only strains the environment but also overlooks opportunities for material reuse. In the UK alone, construction generates 62% of total waste and contributes significantly to landfill mass. Yet, the goal is clear: a 99% Diversion From Landfill rate, a target more aspirational than actual at present.

"Walking on Waste" isn't just a phrase; it's a paradigm shift towards a more responsible, sustainable future in construction.

Silbury House_waste

Innovative Approach at the RO

At the RO, our commitment to industry-leading sustainable practices is unwavering. We understand that to meet environmental targets, we must support the circular economy and manage construction waste with greater care. This ethos is demonstrated in our recent project, Silbury House in Milton Keynes.

Case Study: Silbury House

Initially, the plan was to install new Kingspan panels across three floors. This would have resulted in high carbon emissions from production, transportation, and installation. However, informed by a Whole Life Carbon Assessment (WLCA) and in partnership with our demolition contractor, Salter, we chose a more sustainable path.

Instead of opting for new materials, we reused nearly two floors' worth of existing panels, already onsite, requiring only cleaning and structural support replacement. Furthermore, additional raised access flooring (RAF) panels, in excellent condition, were sourced from a similar office strip-out in London. This not only fulfilled our requirements but also represented a substantial carbon saving of 27.76 TCO2e, equivalent to powering a laptop for nearly 85,000 years!

Waste Stream

Actual waste (tonnes)

Recycling Rate

Divert from landfill 

Metal (Ferrous)

Metal (Non-Ferrous)

Plasterboard

Timber

Strip out waste

Insulation

Glass

Tiles and Ceramics

Screed/Concrete

67.32

4.184

22.72

12.3

71.24

Strip out waste

Strip out waste

Strip out waste

53.5

100%

100%

100%

100%

98%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Post Refurbishment Audit information

Beyond Panels: A Holistic Approach

Our commitment to sustainability doesn't stop at RAF panels. We are exploring the installation of carpets with high recycled content, demonstrating our holistic approach to material reuse in construction. This initiative aligns with the latest sustainable products, such as 100% recycled carpets like those offered by RewindCarpet.com

Impact and Future Directions

The success of the Silbury House project is more than a singular achievement; it's a blueprint for the future of sustainable construction. By embracing circular economy principles and prioritising material reuse and recycling, we can significantly reduce our environmental footprint. "Walking on Waste" isn't just a phrase; it's a paradigm shift towards a more responsible, sustainable future in construction.

Silbury House_waste

Conclusion

As we continue to innovate and lead by example, the RO stands as a beacon in the industry, illuminating the path for others to follow. Through projects like Silbury House, we demonstrate that sustainable construction is not only possible but also practical and beneficial. Together, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable world, one project at a time.

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