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Environmental awareness

Nominated by structural engineer Stephen Morley.

Today, a surprising amount of recycling takes place on almost every site.

Environmental awareness is continuing to grow in a more holistic way and today a surprising amount of recycling is taking place on almost every site.

Before, there was a lack of awareness in seeing the value in what was carted away for landfill. Thankfully now there has been a change in climate – driven by economics – so that on site, soils are often retained, improved or cleaned and capped instead of being sent to the tip.

Elsewhere new uses are found for byproducts, such as blast furnace and power station waste, now used in concrete. There is also the use of recycled paper and glass in insulation, to still one of the most recycled materials of all – steel found in the building frame and cladding.

But there is still a long way to go as steel components are still not often reused in their original state. Columns and beams are instead melted down and new components made.

We do well with bricks – in fact older bricks have a greater value and you wouldn’t ever imagine crushing them down and heating them back up into blocks.

It is time to raise the bar on the proportion of recycled materials used to promote further developments in this field; it would be a better environment all round if a large proportion of our waste were to be encapsulated in useful products in our shelters for the future.”

Stephen Morley is a stadium designer and long span specialist having designed Wembley Stadium, Stadium Australia, the new moving roof for Wimbledon’s Centre Court, and many of the 2004 Athens Olympic venues. He is the International Olympic Committees’ structures advisor