Existing building stock as raw material storage and the unintended consequences

by John Herbert (@johnherbert)

Have to love academic research, boldly presenting and encouraging a new paradigm shift, in this case with the existing building stock being considered to be temporary raw material storage (you might remember the carpet example a few years ago).

But wait, when the ugly aftereffects, and so called unintended consequences do occur, everyone claims that was unforeseeable, really?

To reduce the rat population a bounty for every tail was offered, after paying the bounty and the population had not decreased. Finally it was discovered that rat farming in the countryside were breeding rats to collect the bounty. When stopped paying the bounty, the rat farmers have no use for their rats and released them.

In the real world, where commercial considerations apply, supply and demand matters. Firms set up to use the existing building stock to satisfy their production quota, creates an unequal pressure, the firm needing materials to keep their factory open, perhaps they might urge or incentive soonest demolition to use those “stored” materials.

Equally, the thermal insulation made from blue jeans (denim-insulation) is a great idea, but it will create and increase the market for old products, to keep their factory busy the owner might offer incentives for that materials, and overall increasing the usage of cotton.

In a complex world the best, logical solution may not be the only solution, and other possible consequences, although unintended, need to be considered.

One point that does bear repetition, only products that can be recycled 100% need be considered, if a new exotic product is created that cant be recycled, that is merely delaying its trip to the landfill.

#beyond2020 #wgbc