Waste matters: an approach to building waste management that reduces cost

In this video, Matt Belcher, principal with Verdatek Solutions and consultant with Hibbs Homes on the Proud Green Home of St. Louis, discusses the impact of waste management in residential construction.

Here's Matt's blog regarding building waste management:

It’s a known fact there will be some waste associated with using building materials. One approach to minimizing both the amount of waste generated and the amount that gets dumped in landfills is to view housing as part of a broader manufacturing cycle.

We take advantage of all of the new industry efficiencies in waste management by partnering with our materials suppliers. For example, with lumber and framing, once we determine what we need for a project our suppliers cut and size components to fit before they deliver them to the site.

We end up only paying for what we use, and as a result often the earliest we bring a dumpster to the jobsite for scrap is at the drywall stage. This is an indication of how little waste we produce when we build a home. It also allows us to cut the framing time in about half. So we are “weathered in” sooner, which also helps with our moisture management.

We prefer this method of partnering with our manufacturers to reduce waste for several reasons:

  1. We don’t want to spend our time (time is money!) cutting to fit on site and picking up scrap.
  2. We don’t want to purchase more than we need.
  3. We want to build in a sustainable manner.

When you analyze the thousands of components it takes to build a home and the waste generated, it is a fairly finite list that includes materials like lumber, concrete, steel, and drywall. We simply analyze these waste components during project planning and identify the best means to dispose, recycle, or reuse materials. It all boils down to making the most efficient use of limited resources while improving quality.

Our philosophy is becoming more essential to the building process as resources, especially natural resources, become strained and scarcity takes hold in the marketplace. Everything we use is grown, mined or recycled. Scarcity also means what may have been considered waste materials in the past will increase in economic value, and recovery and reuse will be a mainstay in the residential construction business.

By using this approach we have improved our focus on better building and business practices. By placing an increased focus on good waste management practices we have reduced construction waste by 66%, which amounts to only about two dumpster loads of waste per house at a minimum rate of $350 per dumpster to transport the waste to the landfill.

Everything in that dumpster was bought and delivered to the jobsite, then cut off or dropped, then picked up and thrown away! With our waste management practices we save on labor time, cleanup, and dumping fees and we gain the satisfaction of knowing that we send far less waste to the landfill.

It does not hurt to have a reputation of being an environmentally responsible company, and our customers appreciate our efforts as well because of lower building costs.

Read more about the Proud Green Home of St Louis.


Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Lumber and Structured Panels, Proud Green Home of St. Louis, Sustainability Trends & Statistics

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