Testing the Nexus between C&D Waste Management Strategies & GHG Emission Performances: The Case of UK Student Accommodation Refurbishment Projects

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All governments, industry sectors and societies each have a pivotal role to play if we are to mitigate anthropogenic climate change. For the construction industry, limiting emissions and addressing issues of sustainability is not just important for reducing the environmental impacts of the sector, but is simply good practice. This research investigates the nexus between the generation and management of waste and greenhouse gas performance in the refurbishment sector, with specific focus on UK student accommodation projects. Performance data from three case study projects were analysed in order to: evaluate the types and extent of wastes and how they are managed; the greenhouse gas impacts of each project waste management strategy; and an assessment is undertaken to estimate the number of BREEAM waste credits that each project would have achieved. The research concludes that the overall greenhouse gas performance of a project’s waste management strategy is highly dependent on how specific high emission impact factor waste streams are managed, and notably, there is a disconnect between waste targets, legislation and sustainability benchmarking schemes that measure success based on the levels of diverting waste from landfill, and the emission performance of waste management strategies. A key area of risk potentially overlooked relates to the scenarios where proportionally small quantities of high emission wastes (e.g. plastics) were sent to landfill alongside large quantities of low emission wastes (e.g. aggregates, bricks, etc.). To ensure the increased emission performance of the refurbishment sector, greater focus is needed on preventing specific categories of waste from the landfill pathway.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Sep 2020