Designers and specifiers constantly are faced with choices between alternatives. So that deconstruction and subsequent reuse and & recycling can be brought into the process of choosing, alongside cost, performance, durability etc, suitable selection criteria need U to be established.
Decisions about how and why to choose reuse or recycling, and how best to minimise the quantities of materials sent to landfill, will be influenced by the criteria used to evaluate the environmental impact of the alternatives. It will be important to ensure that the criteria for assessment and evaluation are agreed among the members of the project team, and with the client, early in the project.
This process will be especially difficult to follow rigorously since none of us knows how suitable today's building components and materials will be for reuse or recycling in 30 or 50 year's time. Furthermore, it is difficult to assess the potential for future reuse or recycling since there is no agreed methodology for such assessments. Many different and incompatible approaches are possible, for example:
H If market value were the criterion, this would encourage the reuse and recycling of high-value materials (eg metals) and sending low-value materials to landfill (eg rubble).
H If toxicity were the criterion, this would encourage the reclaiming of materials known to pollute the ground, air or water. ^ Many such materials are already legally banned and more are likely to join this list in future.
U ■ If ability to biodegrade were the criterion, this would encourage organic products to be sent to landfill (eg timber) and non-degradable materials would need to be eliminated or fully reclaimed (eg many polymers).
p Decisions about how best to design for deconstruction to facilitate reuse and recycling are further complicated by needing to assess the ease with which buildings and their components can be taken apart and their constituents reclaimed.
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