How do we model reused materials?

  • Hi,

    I can’t see how to model reused materials: do we just remove the material altogether? I thought I could select a 100% recycled content but can’t find this option in the template I am working on (laminate product).



    Hi Marie,

    Are you talking about reusing parts of an existing building? If yes you can refer to this support post:

    If you’re talking about adjusting the recycled content of a material, we generally do not encourage this mainly because that manual adjustment may not be a good estimate of the impacts associated with the recycling process involved for that material. Swapping the material out with the recycled version of that material however is coming from the LCI dataset which is based on industry averages therefore more legit. Unfortunately, not all materials in the LCI dataset has recycled options exactly because there is not enough data on those materials being recycled in the mainstream.

    The story is a bit different for steel though because it IS such a widely recycled product. However, if you did change the recycled content of steel, you’ll actually find that there is no change in the GWP. Please refer to this post on why:

    Hope that answers your question.

    Hi Fei, I’m also wondering how would we model reused or salvaged materials within eTool? For example, an item that would have been thrown out on another project being reused for our project? Not part of the building, but a stand alone material. Also, not recycled in any way, ie. maintaining it’s initial purpose – like flooring from another project being reused for flooring again?

    Hi Loreta, it really depends on the material and how often it gets replaced during the lifetime of the building. While it’s possible to model salvaged materials, for items that usually get replaced a few times over the LCA study (i.e. wall/floor tiles), it can be difficult to ensure that the items will be replaced with salvaged materials again. So the benefit associated with that salvaged material is very small in comparison with the rest of the building impacts and essentially pointless to model for the amount of benefit it brings. For timber flooring which can and usually lasts the life-time of the building, we have a recycled timber floorboard template that you may use.

    So my advice would be that if you are to use salvaged materials, go for items that form the structural or permanent construction of the building such as structural timber, steel beams and bricks.

    For salvaged steel beams, you can replace the material in the relevant steel template with this ‘Zero Impact Product/Material’ item from the material library to model the benefit of using a salvaged material while maintaining the ability to leave the transport impacts in. You may wish to adjust the transport to site distances accordingly or leave it at default if unsure.

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