Hall Construction Sets High Bar for Recycling
not easy to clear space for and construct a building the
size of 140,000-square-foot Ford Hall without creating a
lot of waste in the process.
But that’s exactly
what Smith College did.
Of the more than 2,500 tons
of materials cleared away to create the construction site
and used to build the new facility, 96 percent was recycled.
Only 3.4 percent of materials were sent to the landfill.
“This is an extraordinary accomplishment for a building of Ford’s scope and scale,” noted
Dano Weisbord, director of environmental sustainability.
To achieve such an impressive
recycling rate, the project was approached with a comprehensive
materials re-use plan, said John Robinson, manager of capital
projects in Facilities Management, who oversaw the Ford Hall
construction. The college worked with the building contracting
company William A. Berry & Son, Inc., of Danvers, Mass., in adhering
to the plan, said Robinson.
“Our plan looked at the waste that would be generated by the construction of
the building and determined what materials could and would be recycled,” explained
Robinson. “Then we set up the process and procedures to see that it could be
The recycling plan addressed
what would be done with the materials from the demolition
of existing buildings, as well as the blacktop covering the
site landscape. Separate dumpsters were used to distinguish
between recycled materials and those that would be sent to
the landfill. Construction work was supervised with the intention
of a high recycling rate.
“Berry did a very good job carrying out the plan,” commented Robinson.
As a result,
222 tons of asphalt were recycled, 190 tons of wood, and
106 tons of metal, among other re-uses. More than 70 tons
of “scrap” materials were put to use somewhere
else on the same building project. ()
“This is important because it reduces the growth of landfills,” said Robinson, “ and
it reduces the amount of raw materials that are needed for future construction.”
Things could have gone differently.
Without such a comprehensive recycling plan, more than 50
percent of materials cleared and used for construction would
have likely ended up in the landfill, Robinson said. Even
new buildings with recycling programs typically achieve only
a percentage of 70 to 75 percent, he said.
fitting that the construction of Ford Hall was completed with a nod to environmental
sustainability. The facility is a pace setter in using sustainability initiatives
in its daily operation, such as green roofs, aggressive water management, and
passive lighting to name only a few.