Resource harvesting through a systematic deconstruction of the residential house: A case study of the 'Whole House Reuse' project in Christchurch, New Zealand
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© 2018 by the authors. This study analyzes the case study of a deconstruction project called the 'Whole House Reuse' (WHR) which aimed, firstly, to harvest materials from a residential house, secondly, to produce new products using the recovered materials, and thirdly, to organize exhibition for the local public to promote awareness on resource conservation and sustainable deconstruction practices. The study applies characterization of recovered materials through deconstruction. In addition to the material recovery, the study assesses the embodied energy saving and greenhouse gas emissions abatement of the deconstruction project. Around twelve tons of various construction materials were harvested through a systematic deconstruction approach, most of which would otherwise be disposed to landfill in the traditional demolition approach. The study estimates that the recovered materials could potentially save around 502,158 MJ of embodied energy and prevent carbon emissions of around 27,029 kg (CO2e). The deconstruction could eventually contribute to New Zealand's national emission reduction targets. In addition, the project successfully engages local communities and designers to produce 400 new products using the recovered materials and exhibits them to the local people. The study concludes that there is a huge prospect in regard to resource recovery, emission reduction, employment, and small business opportunities using deconstruction of the old house. The sociocultural importance of the WHR project is definitely immense; however, the greater benefits of such projects are often ignored and remain unreported to wider audiences as most of the external and environmental costs are not considered in the traditional linear economy. It is acknowledged that under a favorable market condition and with appropriate support from local communities and authorities, deconstruction could contribute significantly to resource conservation and environmental protection despite its requirement of labor-intensive efforts.
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