Environmental benefits of applying selective demolition to buildings: A case study of the reuse of façade steel cladding

Rune Andersen*, Anders Stokbro Ravn, Morten Walbech Ryberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This study presents a comparative life-cycle assessment (LCA) of two alternatives for the end-of-life handling of steel façade cladding from demolished buildings. The main objective is to investigate the environmental benefits of eighteen different environmental impact categories to indicate the respective potential impacts of the two demolition alternatives. We compare the selective demolition of façade cladding and the cladding's subsequent reuse with a conventional demolition scenario in which steel cladding is recycled as scrap. The study therefore expands the existing data foundation on selective demolition to support future decisions on the reuse of building components. The LCA was performed using parametric modeling to facilitate a thorough sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of the results. Results show that the environmental impact across all impact categories was generally lower for the selective scenario compared to the conventional demolition baseline scenario over the total evaluated life-cycle. However, we also see that the impacts related to the actual demolition process are higher for selective demolition due to the longer operating times of heavy machinery. This study contributes new knowledge on selective demolition processes, which can support decision-makers in choosing the most sustainable demolition practice. Through a comparison with the production of new products, it also becomes clear that there are environmental benefits to reusing components from demolition in connection with new constructions. Overall, this can help reduce the environmental impact of the construction sector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106430
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Reuse
  • building
  • Façade cladding
  • Steel


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