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November 3, 2011

Construction Trades and the Four R’s

by tarbidian
Okanagan College Construction Trade Students

The Construction Trades have made great strides in making their program and operations more sustainable.  The following table outlines some of the things following the three R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

Reduce Reuse Recycle
New Efficient lighting uses only 35% of the energy of previous fluorescent lighting. Framing lumber is reused several times before it is chipped and recycled Wood waste is always chipped and recycled into other wood products
All lighting is on motion sensors so only occupied parts of the shop are lit Used timber from other facilities is used when possible. For example, Cotter’s Tree Service donated the heavy timber from a dismantled packing house in Naramata. Nails from student projects are reused when possible
Shop has been effectively rearranged to minimize size of dust extraction equipment Framing projects such as garden and storage sheds are sold to the public Materials unsuitable for builders (e.g., slightly damaged doors) are used in student projects
Local hardwood is used as much as possible and milling is done on site. Reusable steel stakes are used for projects.
Use of lacquer, MDF and melamine have been decreased while use of water based finishes has been increased

So that’s three R’s, what is the fourth?

The fourth R is Rethink and that is exactly what the program is making their students do.  Students must rethink the way construction is done and specifically look at ways to apply sustainability practices to the construction trades.  Some examples of what they are doing include using the most energy efficient materials and applying green and lean building standards.

Congratulations to the Construction Trades, keep up the good work.

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