Chapter 3: Material Selection

Introduction– “Life Cycle Thinking &The Five R’s of Selecting Materials


The building sector accounts for about one third of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions globally, and about 12% in Canada. This 12% figure, however, does not include the manufacturing and transportation of building materials, suggesting that the building sector accounts for a higher percentage of GHG emissions. Indeed, buildings emit GHG throughout their lifecycles, from raw material extraction and construction to operations and demolition (Dulmage & Mousa, 2018, p. 1)

Kubba (2009) offers the following recommendations when engaging in a home renovation or retrofit project while considering life cycle thinking. He writes, “Reusing existing building shells, when appropriate, can yield the greatest overall reduction in project impacts. Additionally, for remodels/renovations, materials may be reused on site. For remodels and redevelopment, adequate time should be allowed in the construction schedule for deconstruction and recycling” (Kubba, 2009, p.187).

Much research remains to be conducted to satisfactorily evaluate alternatives and select the best material for a project. Material selection ideally considers the impacts of a product throughout its life cycle (from raw-material extraction to use and then to reuse, recycling, or disposal) (Kubba, 2009, p.152-153).

Building off the concept of the Life Cycle Thinking approach mentioned in chapter 1, we will take a closer look at material selection during a home renovation. The selection process will be viewed through the CRD hierarchy including the five R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Responsible Disposal.


Greening and Indigenizing the Carpentry Trade Copyright © by adamothomas; Inci Sariz Bilge; and Tyler Ballam. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book