Upcycle House by Lendager Architects prepares for completion in Nyborg, Denmark
Later this month the first of six experimental one-family upcycled houses in Nyborg, Denmark will welcome its inhabitants. The Upcycle House project is a collaboration between Lendager Architects and the Realdania Byg foundation with the ambitious goal of being the first house build only from upcycled and environmentally sustainable materials. In Upcycle House sustainability is the primary design parameter, both environmentally and socially, and not least economically with construction cost limited to 1 million dkk (approx. $175,000).
Lendager Architects sees upcycling as the natural next step after the growing focus on the energy consumption of buildings in the operation phase. Attention is beginning to be directed towards energy and resource use in all stages of the building process: The production and transportation of materials, the building and construction phase, and when the building or parts of it have served their time. Upcycle House there has also been a 75% recorded decrease in CO2 consumption in the production phase compared to traditional building.
Upcycle House is a house build for everyday life, the daily life of the inhabitants is supported by energy and resource-efficient solutions. Natural light, rainwater harvesting, and access to grow vegetables is emphasised and the passive properties of the house are optimised to withstand the changing Scandinavian weather without spending excessive resources heating and cooling it.
The goal for Upcycle House is to demonstrate that it is possible with limited funds to build a strong CO2 reducing and publicly appealing one family house that is not meant to be a unique specimen but an alternative to regular prefab houses.
Upcycling is a step beyond recycling, the materials are not just reused, but reused in a way where value and quality is added. The upcycled construction materials have been chosen based on four indicators: CO2 reduction - relative comparison between new materials and standard material; Price; Operation and maintenance - expected lifetime and expenses/efforts for maintaining function; Accessibility - are the materials available in sufficient amounts within the timeframe
The structural core of the house is two shipping containers and recycled wood frames placed on a foundation of Screwfast helical screw piles and Tecnopor rigid insulation made from used glass bottles. The walls are insulated with old newspapers made into paper wool and clad in drywall made from recycled gypsum and Richlite facade cladding made from paper waste. Flooring is UPM profi deck, a composite of recycled plastic and wood granulate.
Furthermore old windows, bricks, battens and laths have found a new purpose in Upcycle House. The house is topped off with a roof made from trapezoidal profile sheets of recycled aluminum beer bottles. These materials all show how one of our times most plentiful resources: trash, can be reused in a myriad of ways where it ends up representing a higher value than even before the waste became waste.