By Paul Goyette  (flickr ID: pgoyette)

By Paul Goyette (flickr ID: pgoyette)

Ever since the infamous Miley Cyrus made smashed-up plaster and wrecking balls look so sexy, we were just ITCHING to start demolishing the tired, energy-wasteful bungalow on the Sky House Sussex plot to make way for the next phase of excavation and ground-works.  We wanted the demolition to be as green as possible – so recycling, re-using and minimal trucking off-site were important for us to consider.

The quotes we received to perform the demolition varied widely – in some cases, doing it the green way worked out at nearly twice the price. An expensive premium to go green! Staggeringly, the demolition quotes came in between £6,700 to £19,000 like-for-like. It may be well known in the construction industry but a key lesson for us was: always shop around for the fairest deal.

Here’s the lowdown for all demolition geeks out there: we’ve learned that reclamation of demolition materials has hugely evolved. Because of the exorbitant landfill costs, demolition companies go to great lengths these days to sort and recycle their spoils e.g. selling off timber, recycling metal. But generally 10-15% of materials still end up in landfill.  Our mid-range demolition quote of £12,000 offered a zero landfill credential. The process for zero landfill involves shipping 10% of the waste to Germany to burn in highly efficient incinerators to create energy. In fairness, these are trucks importing goods to the UK and returning to Germany empty. So this waste fills otherwise empty trucks.

This zero landfill credential matches our zero carbon aspirations but is that credential worth the additional £5,300?  In this case our dilemma was: £6,700 for traditional demolition or £12,000 for zero landfill?  It will come as no surprise that we really wrestled with our conscience on this one.  Is 44% higher costs for a green credential worth it? We deemed not and thus opted for the lower quote.

We did, however, manage to recycle many of the contents of the bungalow before it was demolished, thus reducing landfill by a different means. Check out our post: ‘Trash into Treasure – Santa turned up early’.

We know we’re not alone in wanting to find the best ways to be green and keep demolition costs down…check out UK Green Building and Waste Watch

Can only those with endless resources be truly green? What a disincentive for the construction industry to be more environmentally minded. We’d love to hear your story if you’ve attempted a green demolition.