As a Brooklyn green contractor we actually generate more garbage than a non-green contractor!
More garbage!? You ask.
The truth is yes. Bag for bag we cart off more garbage from our sites than non-green job sites.
But how could this be?!
The reason for this is that we BRING ON a lot more ‘garbage” TO the job site. We constantly salvag material and most of it is not pretty. This means that we have a lot of waste. If we salvage ten studs chances are two of them are too damaged to use. So we throw away two studs where a normal job site would buy all good studs and use them all.
So if you were just walking by one of our job sites and didn’t understand the process of green building you would be amazed at all the garbage we appear to generate (most of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between our garbage and our salvaged materials; it would all look like massive piles of garbage 🙂
BUT. We started with “garbage” (in parenthesis because it is usually perfectly fine and shouldn’t have been thrown away in the first place). Our job sites are almost all salvaged material. And we build to high standards, so despite our great skill at restoring material, a lot of it is not usable or recyclable so we RE-throw it away.
The term RE-throw away is the key term.
To be more accurate, although a green job site generates a lot of garbage, it pulls out more material from the land fill than it puts in. The net garbage creation of a green house is actually negative.
That means one of our green gut jobs of a brownstone consumes more “garbage” than it creates. The world has LESS garbage after the renovation of the green brownstone than before because we intelligently re-use other peoples’ “garbage” and turn it back into useful building materials.
This is very different than a non-green renovation where huge amounts of waste are created. A lot of it can be reused but it ends up in the land fill. And forget about salvaging from other jobs. They get all their materials brand new from the store (they don’t know or care where the store gets the materials).
Until I figured out the garbage generating dynamics of green building I was concerned.
“Why do we have so much waste?!” I asked.
It wasn’t until I realized the full process that I saw the beauty of it.