Recycling of materials to reduce embodied energy consumption in the redevelopment of urban areas
Authors: Pullen, Stephen
ABSTRACT: Whilst the size of many cities around the world is increasing, there is also an imperative
for urban areas to minimise their environmental impact. One way to reconcile these opposing trends is
by the densification of cities. Urban areas can be redeveloped into more compact configurations which
accommodate a greater population and use existing infrastructure. New compact dwelling forms will
also be more energy efficient thereby lowering energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the redevelopment process uses additional energy by virtue of construction activities and the
energy embodied in new building materials.
This paper describes future projections for the redevelopment of an existing suburb of Adelaide,
Australia and models energy consumption including embodied energy. It shows that with certain
demolition and redevelopment rates, embodied energy is significant and may negate energy savings
made in new energy efficient dwellings. However, there is some potential for reducing this embodied
energy by a much greater use of recycled materials from demolished buildings.