Demolishing tall buildings is typically a loud and messy process that produces a lot of dust and not a lot of building materials that can be salvaged. But Japan’s Taisei Corporation is pioneering a new technique that preserves building materials and actually generates energy from the demolition process. The process, known as Ecological Reproduction System (Tecorep), uses huge jacks and an energy-generating crane to dismantle high-rises from the inside. Hit the jump to watch a time-lapse video of Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka slowly recede from the skyline.

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Some of the most common demolition techniques used around the world include the use of wrecking balls, explosives and jackhammers—all of which are very noisy and disruptive, not to mention wasteful. But this new technique employed in Tokyo is much more environmentally-friendly. Although the Taisei Corporation has tested the technique before, it is gaining wide recognition for using it to demolish the 460-foot-tall Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

First, everything in the building that can be removed is taken out. Then, beams and concrete in the floors are dismantled, and they’re taken down to the ground by a crane that harvests energyfrom descending. Giant jacks are used to keep the floors in place as structural elements are dismantled, which are then lowered.

The building looks roughly the same from the outside throughout the process—even as the jacks are lowered and the building begins to shrink, it still keeps its roof.  The novel demolition technique is believed to reduce dust by 90 percent, while also reducing the noise pollution caused by standard demolition techniques. But best of all, because Tecorep uses renewable energy to power its operations it reduces carbon emissions by about 85 percent.

via PopSci and Wired

Lead image by Flickr user Joe Jones