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    Siiri-Liis Huttunen

  • Cultural Heritage and Conservation
  • BA
  • Trash or Treasure: Reusing and Valuing Building Materials in Estonia
  • Tutor: Triin Reidla & Triin Talk

Estonians are among the top ten countries in the world in terms of their carbon footprint. In striving for climate neutrality or simply a more sustainable way of life, there are various areas to address and numerous ideas for potential solutions. Perhaps it would be sensible to start with the sectors that have the greatest impact?

In Estonia, 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the construction sector. This percentage only reflects the usage of buildings. However, out of the energy consumption throughout a building’s life cycle, only 20% is used for heating, while the remaining 80% is attributed to the production of construction materials and construction work.

Material recycling is necessary and an obvious solution to reduce pollution and combat resource depletion. In addition to being environmentally friendly, recycled construction materials also hold historical and aesthetic value. By implementing principles of cultural heritage preservation and sustainable renovation, it is possible to address regional, societal, climate-related, and cultural heritage challenges through the construction sector.

The aim of this thesis is to explore the legal framework affecting the recycling of traditional construction materials, examine the experiences of various stakeholders in recycling, and make proposals to better facilitate this process.