UPCYCLING is a concept that involves the reuse of waste materials by converting them into new materials or products of better quality. It is a process of creative reuse that search new applications for objects that do not have them now, thanks to the creativity of science and technology. UPCYCLING then is a method different from the traditional recycling process, which provides the RECYCLING instead, to generate by-products from the starting material through an industrial process.
Upcycle House is an experimental project in the town of Nyborg, Denmark, realized by the study Lendager Architect in collaboration with the foundation Realdania Byg, Denmark foundation that promotes innovation and practices for sustainable construction. The construction work was completed in December 2013.
Upcycle House is a detached house built only with recycled materials and objects, consisting of a living area, four bedrooms, a bathroom, a porch, a conservatory and a south facing terrace. The supporting structure has been realized using two shipping containers, the roof is made from sheets of aluminum from cans, the perimeter walls are coated with paper of newspapers processed wool card which allows the thermal insulation of the vertical wall. For an insulator of the soil have been used glass bottles crushed. The floor is made with cork and plastic granules, while for the floor of the bath was employed recycled glass.
In addition to using recycled materials, the project has been designed with great attention to passive systems such as natural ventilation, glazed surfaces and orientation, to meet high standards of environmental sustainability. There will be also systems for the recycling of rainwater and for the production of solar energy to increase the efficiency and energy saving. All this was achieved with a total cost of less than 140,000 euro.
The results obtained from the Danish experiment are considerable: CO2 emissions have fallen by the traditional 5 kg / mq per year to just 0.7 kg / mq per year, making it possible for the idea to make a home sustainable, affordable and high living comfort.
Upcycle House is a great achievement for its designers, but also a replicable example and a starting point towards an architecture promotes “energy buildings and zero emissions.”
It remains then to share the question posed by Anders Lendager:
“Initially, we thought that a 65% reduction of CO2 was not realistic, but once you have the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) of all the materials of the project, we found a reduction in CO2 emissions of 86%. With these premises in the building codes because it is not already provided for by law a percentage of recycled materials? “.