Friday, May 05, 2006

Mark McGowan at the Gherkin

Left: Mark McGowan prepares for his two week daring-do, with a reclaimed door, plenty of foam rubber, and some reclaimed bricks (not visible). He will somersault from the Gherkin to the Salvo Fair at Knebworth

Press Release
Press call Friday 5th May 2006 10am-11am, the Gherkin, St. Marys Axe, London

An artist will somersault 40 miles over a reclaimed door and a pile
of bricks.

"Materials destroyed during demolition and refurbishment
contain enough energy to heat 10 million homes every year in the UK,"
says Thornton Kay of Salvo Llp, the reclaimed building materials
network. 'Reuse more and recycle less' is Salvo's message, and this
will be reinforced on Friday by Mark McGowan, who is to give a
demonstration of how he will go head over heels from the Gherkin in
the City of London, where the old Baltic Exchange was demolished, all
the way to Knebworth, where this year's Salvo Fair will be taking
place and where the Baltic Exchange will be offered for sale.

Everyone is promoting recycling, which uses lots of energy, but no-one is encouraging reuse which saves lots of energy. In the past ten years the amount of salvaged material reused has decreased substantially while the amount destroyed has increased enormously.

Notes for editors
1. Materials arising from demolition and refurbishment amount to 100 million tonnes a year of which roughly 2 million tonnes is reclaimed for reuse by the UK salvage trade.
2. The embodied energy of the material destroyed is enough to heat half the UK's houses, this is 12 million tonnes of carbon, or 60 million tonnes of carbonb dioxide.
3. Since 1995, billions of pounds has been poured into recycling, but nothing has been spent on encouraging reuse of reclaimed building materials.
4. Worse, is that materials that used to be landfilled ten years ago, are now crushed, chipped, composted and processed before being deposited on the ground, and this uses even more energy, for absolutely no benefit, and a huge increase in carbon emissions.
5. The UK would be better off putting whole bricks into landfill, and then in 100 years these can be mined and reused, rather than wasting energy crushing them.
6. Twelve reclaimed bricks contain the embodied energy equivalent of a gallon of petrol. The UK destroys 3 billion bricks a year from demolition and refurbishment, and UK builders use nearly the same amount of new bricks. Around 150 million bricks are rescued for reuse. Saving them is getting increasingly difficult.
7. The Baltic Exchange was carefully dismantled and moved to warehouses in Reading, sold and moved to Manchester, then resold to a business called Extreme Architecture and moved to Kent where it is today. The Baltic was delisted by John Prescott before the decision to build the Gherkin was made. No assistance has been given to increase its chance of reuse.
8. The Salvo Fair is held at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire and is open to the public on 1st and 2nd July 2006. There will be 7 acres of salvage from around the UK. On Friday 30 June construction professionals and media will meet the trade at Knebworth to discuss the issues.
9. Mark McGowan is this year's artist in residence for the Salvo Fair, and his journey from the Gherkin is scheduled to take two weeks, during which he will be celebrating salvage and denigrating recycling in unusual ways at unusual places, including outside IKEA and at St Albans cathedral.
10. The UK mainstream press (apart from The Guardian) has been very supportive of the architectural salvage trade since the 1970's. Their main market is still the private DIY sector (SalvoWEB received 13,000 visitors a day in April 2006) and niche builders. The UK salvage trade is a world leader. The UK press influences policy makers who may then look into these issues and see what can be done to reverse the increased destruction of materials for which there is such a high demand.
11. The size of the market for new construction materials is around 40 billion pounds. The market for reclaimed materials is around 400 million pounds. So reclaimed is one per cent of new by value. The salvage trade could increase its share to 5 or even 10 per cent by value, but not without outside help.
12. Surprisingly, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Greenpeace, London Remade, WRAP, English Heritage, RIBA, all heritage organisations like the Victorian Society, are unsupportive of reuse of reclaimed materials. The ODPM, Ken Livingstone and some local authorities are supportive in written policy, but none have backed this with positive help or action. Some local authorities have banned the reuse of reclaimed materials.
13. Salvo Llp is a two person partnership (father and daughter) and the Salvo fair is run by five Kay sisters and their brother. The UK salvage trade has no trade association and so had no representation to government, EU or any other level. Salvo makes no claims to represent it, but is perhaps the nearest thing it has to a trade body. Salvo runs a code for dealer to which Tessa Jowell has recommended that all salvage dealers should sign.

Mark McGowan
Salvo Fair

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