Delivering an energy efficient and sustainable building relies on addressing many considerations during the design and construction of a project. At different stages there are different relevant considerations that together make up a complete sustainability response.
The following are key basics to consider prior to and at the construction stage:
Seek details of all Contractor's proposed good waste practices - Include waste minimisation as a tender evaluation criteria. Ask the contractor to nominate how they will reduce waste to landfill. Which items will be recycled? Compare contractors responses and demand the preferred contractor abides by the highest standard.
Seek details of all Contractor's proposed good ESD practices - Go even further and tell contractors their sustainability performance in their business, previous projects and ideas for this project will be a tender evaluation criteria. Compare responses and ideas for the project and ensure the preferred contractor includes these ideas. For more details refer to advice on the LID Consulting website
Select demolition contractors that include a component of hand demolition and greater retrieval of materials for recycling. Compare demolition contractors. It may cost $2-3k more.
Undertake insulation inspections prior to plasterboard installation to ensure insulation has not been removed by other trades such as electricians and plumbers, and not re-installed. Gaps in insulation let cool or hot air through, much like an ajar door lets sound through, and undermine the rest of the insulation, bringing the true-effective energy rating of a home down.
Plasterers should supply their own waste bin. Plasterers are often on site by themselves (in smaller jobs) so bins wont be contaminated by others and uncontaminated new plasterboard can be recycled as gypsum. This is often a no net cost to the project initiative, as the builder who usually supplies the bins, saves on the bins supplied by the plasterers.
Where possible, encourage other trades to supply their own bins or remove their own waste. This will encourage them to reduce their waste, when they are paying for the removal costs (as above, typically the builder pays for the bins, not the trades, so there is no financial motivation for trades to reduce their waste). Electricians, plumbers and carpenters can potentially separate and remove and dispose of their own waste. Obtain details of what they do with this waste, and photos of them recycling it.
Investigate recycling options visit the Planet Ark Recycling Near You website and select your council area then under other Products select Construction and Demolition Waste
Alternatively seek a Demolition and Construction waste management plan (WMP) from contractors or a waste consultancy such as LID Consulting to detail processes and destinations of materials