Modular buildings have many advantages over traditional construction methods, and sustainability and CO2 savings are ones that will play a key role if the construction sector is to lead the way in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.
A study undertaken by Arup & Partners (“CO2 emissions from use, scrapping and manufacture of modular buildings”) concluded modular buildings offered an alternative and sustainable solution to traditional buildings across 4 key measures, but what about refurbished modular measured against new modular?
As suppliers of both new and refurbished portable cabins and modular buildings in Hampshire, Portable Facilities commissioned Acreshort Consulting to conduct an independent study to determine the carbon emissions savings that could be achieved by re-using and refurbishing a ‘typical 5-bay marketing suite’ compared to the equivalent new modular building.
Since both the fabric and building services, along with build specification and transport, would be common to both a newly-constructed modular and a re-used/refurbished modular, the report focused purely on the CO2 emissions associated with:
• Reusing the main steel structure
• Not manufacturing a new main steel structure
• Recycling approximately 6.96 metric tons of waste from the refurbishment process
Carbon saving calculations
Assuming 12m x 3m x 3.2m pre-owned modules were used to create a new 5-bay sales and marketing suite, the overall carbon savings were calculated at 47.682 TCO2 representing impressive CO2 savings of approximately 42% against a comparable new-build modular suite.
Commenting on the findings, Managing Director Richard Crawford said, “We’re extremely excited that by reusing a steel frame it’s possible to reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 50%. There are several ways to achieve even higher savings through reusing other components, fixtures and fittings and specifying energy-efficient or sustainable materials for the refit and that’s something as a business we are passionate about.”
To maximise CO2 savings in your next modular construction project, consider refurbishing:
1. Strip out the existing modules and recycle the majority of waste
2. Re-use the main steel structure
3. Refurbish and re-use any other materials and components which will increase the carbon savings
4. Purchase new materials from ecologically-sound, sustainable sources
5. Install double glazing and energy-efficient lighting, DHW and heating/cooling for continued savings over the lifecycle of the building.
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