Recycled Buildings

Charles Gillett, Architecture

The issue of waste and its impact on the environment is on the agenda of advertisers, artists, architects, engineers, ecologists, economists and politicians alike, and this is perhaps because it is so visible in our streets, in our rivers and occasionally, in our bins. It is certain that it is in our interest to find ways of reusing non-recyclable waste materials in order to prevent them from further polluting our environment and to allow them to become a resource for us in the future.

It was my original intention to create a ‘re-cycled content building product’ through re-using waste material found within the construction industry, helping to reduce the economic and environmental impact of our practice.

Artificial turf is a product that is continually changing to meet developing standards in various professional sports leagues. These product enhancements result in the continuous removal and replacement of many artificial pitches across the country and, due to the variations in the production of the material and its composition, they are discarded into landfill.

Through involving Malcolm & Co., one of Glasgow’s largest construction companies, I was able to source a large quantity of this undesired, synthetic pitch material that they were unable to reclaim or recycle. Through investigating ways in which it can be re-used in the construction industry, I have learnt a great deal about recycled content building products, insulation, thermal resistance and the process of testing. It is my belief that this material should be seriously considered for the purpose of insulating buildings in the future in order to reduce the impact of the material, synthetic sports pitches and the construction industry on the environment, whilst also insulating buildings successfully and at little cost.

With further development and testing under ‘ISO 91.120.10: Thermal Insulation of Buildings’ (International Organization for Standardization) it is my belief that SPM (Synthetic Pitch Material) could be re-used within future developments as an insulating building material and should be subject to further research before more of this material is lost to landfill.

The material will be subject to further implementation and testing in the Mackintosh School of Architecture Live Build Project (2014); ‘The Bothy’, a community space for growing fruit and vegetables in the Concrete Garden, North Glasgow, is the result of a collaboration between six Diploma students and will be insulated using Synthetic Pitch Material (SPM) Insulation.