As people around the country become more mindful of living a sustainable lifestyle, there is an increasing emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of renovation and new construction. Construction and demolition (C&D) debris recycling is one of the most important parts of making this a reality. When the Aspen Skiing Company began a demolition project in Snowmass Village, CO, it decided to institute a “deconstruction” program — reversing the building process and removing and sorting reusable items instead of sending the waste to the landfill. The company teamed with Colorado-based general contractor R.A. Nelson & Associates and subcontractor Alpine Demolition to recycle roughly 88% of the materials in the Snowmass Lodge and Club building and foundation. To put that into perspective, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) awards one point for a recycling rate of 50%; a second for a recycling rate of 75%. Some waste reduction and recycling plans like returning wastes to the job site in new products can also qualify for additional points. These are among the simplest and easily among the most cost-effective LEED points to earn. In total, nearly 6,000 cubic yards of material were diverted from the landfill. As reported in The Aspen Times, the project was able to capture the following for reuse:
  • 210 cubic yards of concrete, which was crushed and used as fill at the site;
  • 380 cubic yards of miscellaneous steel;
  • 3,200 pounds of copper pipe and 800 pounds of aluminum pipe;
  • 3 cubic yards of wire; and
  • 10 cubic yards of miscellaneous material.
In addition, 45 cubic yards of wood beams and 15 cubic yards of steel beams were pulled from the project and saved for use in other construction projects. They also held a salvage sale at nearby Buttermilk mountain, where the public was offered everything from interior and exterior doors to carpeting. They estimated the sale, which included light and plumbing fixtures, saved another 610 cubic yards of trash from being hauled to the landfill, according to The Aspen Times. As more architects, engineers and contractors become aware of the benefits of recycling C&D materials, we all will reap the benefits.