Reuse of building components: an economic analysis

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Abstract

In France the building industry accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. It represents about one quarter of France’s national emissions. To deal with this challenge, the French energy transition for Green Growth law was adopted in July 2015. Buildings renovation, clean transport, renewable energy and the circular economy are at the agenda. The law sets several ambitious objectives for construction and demolition wastes (C&DW). The goal is to recycle 70% of construction and engineering waste by 2020 while around 60% of construction and demolition wastes (C&DW) are currently reused, recycled or recovered. Reuse of components is currently undisclosed but represents an opportunity to fully take advantage of wastes potential. Moreover, it brings environmental and economic benefits for future constructions and local territories. This paper focuses on the economic benefits of reuse. The aim is to examine whether a demolition project promoting the reuse of demolition wastes offers value for money in comparison with a demolition project that does business as usual. After a literature survey, an in depth evaluation of costs and labour impacts is proposed for a case concerning bricks for a small arena. Results show that reuse can bring direct economic benefits if the demolition process is based on the same tools as a traditional demolition. Moreover it would have a positive impact both in terms of direct costs and local employment if the process is optimised. Deconstruction is still in its infancy and the value-added chain is not well developed. Thus, the learning curve is important. This paper is produced within the REPAR 2 project, cofounded by the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management.