A tangible example of the efficiency of upcycling
Lendager Arkitetekter’s Upcycle House in Nyborg, Denmark, is an experimental projet that concretely demonstrates the positive environmental effect of using recycled and upcycled building materials, notably on the reduction of carbon emissions. Compared to standard house, the Upcycle House redued carbon emissions by 86%. The 129-square-meter house looks and functions like a contemporary single family home, but is entirely made from recycled and upcycled materials.
Let’s examine the details: the bearing structure was made from two prefabricated shipping containers. The roof and walls are clad in recycled aluminum soda cans and façade panels were made from post-consumer recycled paper. Tiles for the kitchen floor were made from leftover champagne corks, while the bathroom is tiled with recycled glass, and covering the floor and walls are recycled leftover woodchips that were pressed into panels without glue.
It doesn’t stop with the materials. The architects also wanted to reduce long-term carbon emissions. Passive properties were equally important, and the house was designed to take advantage of natural elements for heating and cooling.
Perhaps most shocking is the calculation conducted by the architects:
“The CO2 emission from Upcycle House is 0,7 KG CO2/M2/YR compared to 5,0 KG CO2/M2/YR for a benchmark house. In Denmark 10.000 single family homes are built every year. With a reduction of 4,3 KG CO2/M2/YR and an average floor area well over 130 sq. meter this makes for a potential reduction of 5590 tons of CO2 – per year.”