Printer Friendly

Back to school: green building on UNC-Charlotte's campus teaches lessons in C&D recycling.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is situated north west of Charlotte, N.C. The university officially became part of the University North Carolina system in 1964 and has grown year after year. With a current population of 21,000 students, staff and faculty, UNC Charlotte has undergone, and continues to undergo, an aggressive expansion program that is a reflection of the city of Charlotte itself.

UNC Charlotte has an award winning recycling program, spearheaded by the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWR&R) within the university's Facilities Management department. The OWR&R is constantly looking to recycle more materials generated on campus, so it was a logical step to set up a program to recycle construction and demolition debris generated on campus. This article looks at the implementation of this program and specifically discusses how the barriers to implementation were overcome.


The OWR&R recycles more than 30 different materials. Since there was no consistent tracking of weights, construction and demolition material was recycled on an ad hoc basis. The various types of materials were sent for recycling as opposed to being landfilled; and there were no specifications for external contractors to adhere to. Against this backdrop, it was decided that a formal construction and demolition recycling program should be established. This allowed the university to achieve a goal of diverting 35 percent of all C&D debris from landfill. (This program concentrates on new construction projects, as opposed to the remodeling of existing facilities.)

The first step was to write a set of specifications that could be included in all project documentation. To develop these specifications, the Triangle J Council of Government's ( wastspec.htm) model waste specifications were used as a template to create a usable set of specs for the university.

Once the specifications were written and inserted into the UNCC design guidelines documents, I assumed that smooth sailing was ahead where all I had to do was monitor the system I had put in place. This was a very naive assumption.


I attended my first pre-construction meeting, expecting to be on the agenda to discuss the university's specifications with the external contractors. Instead, I found that no one knew what I was talking about. Additionally, the specifications had not been picked up from the design manual and included in the project documentation. As I mentioned, I was very naive in my expectations.

So in essence, I was at square one with a set of written specifications and not much else. The specifications were not being picked up in the design review process and there was no internal ownership to ensure the specifications became an integral part of this process.

I then did something that I should have done prior to writing the specifications. I decided to embark on a round of discussions with the internal and external parties who might become involved in this process. They included UNC project managers, senior management within facilities, contractors and designers. The aim of these discussions was to understand what the perceived barriers to implementing a C&D recycling program may be. The typical responses were:

* This will add time to project completion

* This will cost us too much

* Our project sites are too small to have multiple roll-offs

* Contractors will not bid on projects

* We have too much to do

* This is not in the interest of the university

* Low tipping fees $25 per ton

* Little or no legislation for owner, contractor to recycle

* Relatively immature market.

So I now knew what issues I had to overcome in order to implement an effective recycling program.


Having the knowledge of the perceived barriers to the implementation of the C&D recycling program, I was able to develop an effective strategy to overcome the barriers and truly begin the implementation process.

The aim of the strategy was to develop a shared ownership of the C&D recycling program from both internal and external stakeholders. I felt this would lead to a greater sense of responsibility toward achieving the stated goals of the program. The strategy had (and has, as this is a continuing process) seven components to it. These are:

* Education: It was evident that many of the stakeholders did not understand the mechanics of C&D recycling i.e. site set up, material recycling opportunities, labor and time issues and accrued benefits (saved tipping fees, income generation, health and safety issues, site aesthetics, important on a campus with visiting parents and other dignitaries).

* Stakeholder communication: It is paramount that communication among the various stakeholders in the process is facilitated so that everyone is aware of, and works toward, the collective goal.

* Building consensus: The stakeholder communication process enabled the building of a consensus position, acknowledging that C&D recycling is important to the university, and that all parties have a responsibility and duty to ensure the program succeeded.

* Rewriting the specifications: I had to rewrite the specifications, to be more acceptable to all parties involved. This meant giving up on some key aspects of the program, such as setting an initial goal of diverting 50 percent of debris from landfill. But the main focus was to establish a program, observe successes, so in the future the waste diversion goal may be increased.

* Following the process through: This was primarily about being involved in the design review process, schematic design, design documentation and project documentation and making sure the recycling specifications were addressed in all these distinct parts of the review process and if the specifications dropped out of the review process making sure they were reinserted.

* Push, Push, Push--do not give up.

* It took 18 months from the writing of the specifications to get waste specifications into project one.


As of the writing, initial signs are showing solid results. Seven construction projects on campus are reporting to the specifications, and over the last 12 months, C&D recycling has increased 133 percent. The most telling sign, though, is that I am now being asked to be a part of the planning design process, and contractor feedback is positive. Also, approval has been given to increase the recycling goal to divert 50 percent of debris from landfill.

Virginia County Approves Green Building Legislation.

The Montgomery (Virginia) County Council has approved legislation that requires certain green building features for public and private construction in the county, according to a report in the Washington Business Journal (Arlington, Va.).

The regulations require that county-built or funded nonresidential buildings achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating and that private nonresidential or multi-family buildings achieve LEED certification.

Buildings covered by the legislation include newly constructed or modified nonresidential or multi-family residential buildings with at least 10,000 square feet of floor area, according to the report.

More information is available at www.montva. com.

Green Convenience Store Opens

The Pantry Inc. announced the opening of the first convenience store in the United States to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

In building the new store, which opened earlier this month in Gainesville, Fla., The Pantry used as many materials as possible from the demolition of the car dealership previously on the site. Material that could not be reused was separated and recycled to keep it out of the landfill. Only low-toxin materials were used in the construction, and the store features extensive day-lighting and low-voltage fluorescent light fixtures. The landscaping uses native and adaptive Florida plants, which will not need irrigation after they are established.

"We are very pleased to unveil this innovative new store design, which we developed in conjunction with academics at the University of Florida," says Peter Sodini, chairman and CEO of The Pantry. "While our construction costs were about 15 percent more than they would have been using traditional methods, our payback should be quick because we will be using 25 percent less energy than a conventional built store. This is a model for the convenience store industry, and we plan to integrate as many elements of this project as possible into our standard designs as we accelerate our new store construction efforts over the next couple of years."

The author is the UNC Charlotte construction and demolition recycling administrator and can be contacted at
COPYRIGHT 2007 G.I.E. Media, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Jones, David
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:Standout performance: B&B Wrecking concentrates on delivering high C&D recycling rates to stand out in a crowded market.
Next Article:Window shopping: retail reuse stores provide an outlet for material from deconstruction projects.

Related Articles
Sustainability 101.
Students give school chance to come clean.
Behind the green machine: sustainability is socially responsible and economically viable.
Seeing green: corporate America is starting to catch on to the green building trend.
Higher education sustainability stars.
Cool school: check out the most Earth-friendly middle school in the country.
ULI class action showcases benefits of school's design.
Thinking green: Warren Wilson moves to the head of the class: explore the college's green side with Michelle Keenan.
DuChateau's studies translate into a career.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters