Superuse uses a decision tree to make the hierarchy of material choices clear.
Preventing the use of a building component or material saves the most CO2 emissions and reduces the environmental impact.
_1 Reusable materials
With reuse, an existing building component is reused, whether or not for a different purpose, treated or untreated.
_2 Renewable / biobased materials
Materials that are derived from biomass. They can be physically, chemically or biologically treated. Ecological building materials are renewable without chemical or abiotic substances.
_3 Recycled materials
Materials that consist mainly of recycled raw materials.
_4 Conventional materials
When none of the above options are available, conventional building materials are chosen. These have no savings in terms of CO2emissions or environmental impact. However, a conventional material can be reused or recycled.
Superuse prefers to work with locally harvested reusable building materials. This is where the biggest environmental gains can be made. Reuse prevents the production of new building material, no pollution is released by recycling or burning waste. Moreover, transport movements and related emissions are minimal.
Sometimes other materials can have a lower impact. For example, when reusable materials have to come from far away, or when a lot of processing or maintenance is required. This also happens when the reusable materials are outdated and do not contribute to the energy performance of a building (e.g. single glazing).