Tips for Recycling Your Construction Waste

In a healthy economy, construction waste makes up one-third of all refuse. At this scale, even small efforts towards recycling and reusing leftover building material or debris make a big change. Construction waste consists mostly of concrete, wood, drywall, shingles, asphalt and metal, but also cardboard and plastic from packaging. Although considered waste, many of these materials are valuable commodities that can be recycled to make new products or used in many ways. In short, recycling benefits both a construction business and the environment.
 Description	 English: A bag of cut polyurethane blocks that have been cut up and can no longer be used. As can be clearly seen, this kind of insulator is wasteful, and as such, extra expensive. A more suitable alternative could be compressed straw as insulator, or other alternatives. Date	17 June 2008 Source	 Own work Author	 KVDP
Planning before building

As a large part of building waste can be recycled or reused, its removal needs preparation from the very beginning. Along with other construction plans, make one for waste collection, disposal and recycling. Mark a place on the site where workers can dispose of debris and material leftovers. This site mustn’t obstruct the work, nor cause any safety hazards for workers.

Discarded materials and their uses

Each discarded material has its recyclable potential. Bricks, for example, can be reused or crushed to make road bases. Undamaged windows and doors can be refitted to other homes, as well as plumbing fixtures, like tubs. Lumber and wood products can be reused for further construction or converted to mulch or biomass fuel. Metals can be smelted and converted into other products. Vegetation and trees can be replanted if possible or used for biomass fuel.

Building it back

Probably the best and the safest method is to integrate construction waste into a new building or another building site, where applicable. For example, if you are remodelling, you don’t have to demolish the walls, but rather reconfigure or move them. Lumber leftovers from wood-framed structures can be used for fire blocking or as spacers. In addition, use building materials supplied in standard measurements whenever possible. The less you have to cut or remove, the less waste you will create. What is more, standard dimensions let you reuse any leftover materials more easily.  

Deconstruction instead demolition

Some laws propose or encourage removing reusable items without damage so they can be reused in housing projects. A contractor who is paying for the removal can even be granted certain tax benefits. If no such project exists, the contractor can organize a front yard sale of items like radiators, grates, piping, fixtures and fittings that are in acceptable condition.

Sorting the waste

In order to process them easier later on, different types of construction waste need to be deposited in separate piles. Concrete, asphalt, bricks and shingles can go together. Window frames and doors can go on the pile for wood and timber leftovers. Plastic, cables and nylons will go in the third, and so on. Separating and sorting materials from the very beginning makes them easier to remove and also lowers the disposal costs.

Local is always cheaper

You can avoid costly transport expenses by browsing local businesses that specialize in construction waste removal. Inquire what each of them offers and select the one that has an efficient recycling programme. To save time and money, ask them to provide containers on the site so you can dispose of materials on the go. Alternatively, you can dispose of waste every time you go out to fetch new building materials. Selecting a reputable waste recycling centre can save you a lot of headaches.  

Safety measures

When sorting and separating items in containers, make sure no unwanted materials get inside. If any amount of rubbish is placed with the sorted waste, the entire load is considered unacceptable for recycling. Make sure the bins and containers have clear labels for different types of waste.

There are many ways to reuse construction waste, so make sure it doesn’t simply end on the landfill. By recycling materials or integrating them into further construction, you won’t only reduce the amount of waste produced by the site, but also make savings through different municipal projects or by selling reusable items.

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Renewables on the grid: Putting the negative-price myth to bed

Three years ago, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) rebutted arguments that occurrences of negative prices at nuclear plants in Illinois were frequently caused by wind energy. That “compelling” data led FERC Commissioner John Norris, who had previously discussed his concerns about negative prices, to affirm that “the focus on negative prices is a distraction.”
More recently, we have documented that many instances of negative prices are caused by conventional power plants.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.

AWEA has now made our prior analysis far more comprehensive by examining full-year 2016 price data for all retiring power plants in the main wholesale electricity markets that have a large amount of wind generation: PJM, MISO, SPP, and ERCOT.
The results, which we are releasing today for the first time, confirm that any instances of renewable policies like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and state renewable standard credits being factored into market prices have a trivial impact on retiring power plants.

Across more than 1.8 million data points, which cover all 2016 pricing intervals in the day-ahead electricity market for all retiring power plants in those regions, only 55 instances of negative prices were found that could have been set by a wind project receiving the PTC. The analysis includes market price data for all power plants that have retired since 2012 or have announced plans to retire.

Our analysis focused on the day-ahead electricity market (the results bolded below), as that is where nuclear and coal generators sell most if not all of their generation. However, the results show that wind plants almost never set prices for an additional 2.4 million data points in the real-time electricity market as well. For more background on electricity markets and how prices are set, see the last section of this post.

In PJM and MISO, which account for a large share of all power plants in wholesale markets that are retiring nationwide, only 0.003 percent of day-ahead market prices at retiring power plants were in a range that could be set by a wind project receiving the PTC, as shown on the left side of the table. Occurrences of negative prices that could be wind-related were even less frequent in SPP, at 0.0017 percent of day-ahead market price intervals. Those occurrences were slightly more common at retiring plants in ERCOT, at 0.06 percent of price intervals, but it should be noted that there is only one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT.

To underscore the trivial impact of the PTC in setting market prices, the right side of the table shows how prices would change if wind projects receiving the PTC no longer received the credit. In PJM and MISO, conservatively assuming that all negative prices in that range were set by wind projects receiving the PTC, Day-Ahead Market prices at retiring power plants would increase by an average of $0.0007, or 1/13th of a penny per megawatt hour (MWh), if operating wind projects no longer received the PTC. Retiring power plants in SPP saw an even smaller impact at 1/25th of a penny, while the one retiring coal power plant in ERCOT saw an impact of around one penny per MWh.

It is important to clarify that the PTC does directly reduce consumer electricity costs outside of the electricity market. The PTC and other incentives allow wind projects to offer lower long-term contract prices to customers and the utilities who serve them, which translates into lower electric bills for consumers on a 1:1 basis.

However, those contract payments are outside of the wholesale electricity market, so they are not directly factored into the wholesale electricity market prices received by other generators.

The facts about energy incentives

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.

In reality, the wind PTC has been a remarkable success in driving the American innovation and efficiency that have driven a two-third reduction in the cost of wind energy since 2009. The more than 102,500 Americans working in the wind industry today are creating a new industry with a bright future, bringing tens of billions of dollars in investment to rural areas and tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to America. Production-based incentives like the PTC have driven efficiency increases that make U.S. wind projects some of the most productive in the world.    Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.  Market dynamics are driving retirements  Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.  The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.    Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly
Regardless, Congress voted in December 2015 to phase down the wind PTC, and we are now in year three of that five-year phasedown period. Despite the recent focus on incentives for renewables, cumulatively wind energy has received only 3 percent of federal energy incentives, versus 86 percent for fossil and nuclear sources, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute and other experts. Given that the wind industry’s “tax reform” is already in place with the PTC phasedown legislation, we would welcome a comprehensive look at all forms of subsidies for all electricity sources.

Market dynamics are driving retirements

Market dynamics are benefiting consumers by driving retirement of older, less efficient resources in favor of more efficient resources. A wide range of experts agree that the primary factors driving power plant retirements and economic challenges for generators of all types are cheap natural gas and flat electricity demand.

The following map, compiled from Department of Energy data, shows that most retiring coal and nuclear plants are in regions that have little to no renewable generation, confirming that renewable energy or pro-renewable policies cannot be the primary factor driving those retirements.

Rather, the primary factor driving power plant retirements appears to be low-cost shale gas production undercutting relatively high-cost Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal in the Eastern U.S., as shown below. In the regions shaded red in the map, the fuel cost of producing electricity from natural gas is significantly lower than the fuel cost of coal power plants, explaining why utilities in those regions are moving from coal to natural gas generation.

For the entire story on the AWEA blog, MICHAEL GOGGIN, JULY 18, 2017

Experts Share their Secrets to an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.

Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin! That’s why the team at EmPower Solar decided to speak with a panel of eco-friendly experts on their personal practices. You can see their best advice here.

Whether it’s protesting the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement or vowing to transition to electric-only vehicles within the next decade, many businesses have been focusing on how they can do their part in saving our planet.  Although many Americans want to make the personal transition towards green living themselves, most don’t even know where to begin!

How to Select a Green Lodge when Traveling, Part 1

You are a person who puts active thought into eco-practices at home, but what happens when you go on vacation? Do you ever wonder “Where Can I Find a ‘Green’ Hotel or B&B?” or “How Can I Tell the Difference Between an Authentic Eco Lodge and One That Is Not?” or “Is There a Reliable Directory I Can Use?” If you have asked those questions, you’re in good company. But the answers are surprisingly complicated.

Here’s the reality: there is no one universal authority or definitive tool that eco-conscious consumers can turn to for sourcing “green” vacation accommodations.


With hundreds of countries around the world – all with different government agencies, infrastructure, politics, regulations, and living standards – it is a most difficult task to devise a uniform platform.

In a pinch, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that the ecotourism industry is relatively young and evolving quickly. More consumers are demanding “eco-friendly” travel options, so there will be a response in kind from the industry. More information will become available via online directories and useful apps ready to download to your smart phone or tablet.——————————————————————————————————

Costa Rica is a top-ranked destination for “green” vacations. Click here to learn more about a jungle lodge and rafting adventures down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica – https://www.ecotourlinq.com/blog/spotlight-interview-with-rios-tropicales

Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River  Photo credit: Rios Tropicales
Photo: Rafting on the Pacuare River Photo credit: Rios Tropicales

What does a green lodge look like? Well the facility can be any number of things – a working ranch or farm, a seaside hotel, a mountain inn, a jungle lodge (on the ground or in the trees), a small village B&B, a desert bunker, a campground, or a dormitory-style hostel. Frequently these accommodations will be located inside or near a national park or possibly a World Heritage Site.
Coming up in Part 2 – Tourism Bureaus and Ecotourism Associations

Guest Writer Bio: Deborah Regen is the publisher of a website directory and blog dedicated to consumer information about ecotourism and sustainable travel. She also sends out a free monthly e-newsletter to subscribers including notices of giveaways. https://www.EcoTourLinQ.com and her email = admin@ecotourlinq.com

Green Homes in Texas Add $25,000 Resale Value, Study Finds

Washington, D.C. – (July 11, 2017) – A new study from The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) finds that new homes in Texas built to meet green building standards like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system, are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes. The study, “The Value of LEED Homes in the Texas Real Estate Market: A Statistical Analysis of Resale Premiums for Green Certification,” found that homes built to LEED standards between 2008-2016 showed an 8 percent boost in value, while homes built to a wider range of green standards saw a 6 percent increase in value.

“Our research shows there is a ‘green premium’ in the Texas single-family home market,” said The University of Texas at Austin’s Dr. Greg Hallman. “The average new home in our Texas MLS dataset sells for $311,000, so a 6-8% green premium represents a significant gain for home owners, developers, and real estate agents and brokers.”

The Green Homes study looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes, including LEED-certified homes, built in Texas between 2008 and 2016 to determine if certification raised the resale value of homes. The study was conducted by the Real Estate Finance & Investment Center at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. It was based on an analysis of more than 230,000 homes in Texas and used a regression model taking into account interior floor area, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garages and the age of the home, as well as whether or not homes were built according to green standards including LEED.
The Green Homes study looked at more than 3,800 green-certified homes, including LEED-certified homes, built in Texas between 2008 and 2016 to determine if certification raised the resale value of homes. The study was conducted by the Real Estate Finance & Investment Center at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. It was based on an analysis of more than 230,000 homes in Texas and used a regression model taking into account interior floor area, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garages and the age of the home, as well as whether or not homes were built according to green standards including LEED.

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“As developers and buyers continue to see the value in LEED, we expect the number of LEED-certified homes to increase in the Texas market,” said Taryn Holowka, senior vice president, USGBC. “Homes that are built to meet green standards deliver more value to the seller and also ensure that buyers will have a high-value sale down the road and reap the benefit of lower utility bills while living in the home.”

LEED-certified homes benefit the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit by enhancing the health and wellbeing of occupants, saving costly environmental resources like energy and water, and providing cost savings to individual homeowners or residential building owners. On average, LEED-certified homes use 20-30 percent less energy than a home built to code, with some homes reporting up to 60 percent savings, which lowers energy costs.

The LEED Homes rating system was created in 2008 as a way for single-family homes and multi-family buildings to achieve LEED certification. LEED Homes projects undergo a technically rigorous process to become certified, including multiple on-site inspections and quality assurance. More than 1.5 million residential units are currently participating in LEED in the world. USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact report found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5 percent. Currently, there are more than 6,890 homes certified or pursuing LEED-certification in Texas.

To learn more about the Green Homes study, visit: https://www.usgbc.org/resources/value-leed-homes-texas-real-estate-market.

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council and the McCombs School of Business