Unlocking the re-use potential of glass facade system

Over the past few decades, the building envelope has significantly evolved in design complexity to meet increased legislation on energy performance during building operation. Facades are often designed without consideration for end-of-life and the process of recovery of constituent materials. An increasing number of parts and more permanent connections have endorsed hybrid composite systems that are difficult to take apart at end-of-life. This study outlines the existing barriers and motivations to recovery of façade materials from a semi-structured interview with several stakeholders from the façade supply-chain. Subsequently, the environmental benefits that can be achieved through façade reuse have been quantified in a model for reclamation energy of existing façade system design using a life-cycle impact assessment applied to different end-of-life scenarios. Further, experimental methods and preliminary results that evaluate ways to remove the existing technical barriers to reuse in terms of the separation of laminated glass and deboning of adhesive joints will be presented. As low-carbon and zero energy buildings (ZEBs) become more common, it is important to look for ways to improve the end-of-life opportunities for façade systems in order to avoid simply shifting the energy use in the material lifecycle and to optimise the useful lifetime of all components.