A Living Building Project Journey, Part-16
Construction Updates from the Site 2: Salvaged Materials
Using salvaged materials on a project requires careful planning and coordination in terms of designing around, identifying, procuring and storing such materials. Because this is not an industry standard practice yet, it can seem daunting to project teams already pressed for time and budget. When successfully executed, material reuse can demonstrate benefits in terms of waste diversion, embodied carbon and the actual cost of construction materials and products.
As one of the most rigorous proven performance frameworks for buildings, the Living Building Challenge has many standards to be followed. One of these is the Net Positive Waste Imperative of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which stipulates that ‘all projects must feature at least one salvaged material per 5,380 square feet of gross building area or be an adaptive reuse of an existing structure.’
For new construction, such as The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech, this means that the project must use at least seven different salvaged materials. The project is currently on track to meet and exceed this requirement and is incorporating some innovative strategies. In this post, we share examples of salvaged materials being used in the project; where they were acquired; and how they are being employed.
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design will use the following salvaged materials:
- Nail-laminated decks
- Slate tile
- Granite curbs
- Storm felled oak
The roof and floor decks of the project will contain nail-laminated panels that are a combination of 2x6s and 2x4s. The 2x6s are structural while the 2x4s are spacers. All the 2x6s are new and come with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain of custody documentation, which shows the path taken by products from the forest to the point of the product’s sale with an FSC claim and/or it is finished and FSC labeled, from a mill in Alabama.
Approximately 25% of the 2x4s are salvaged wood from dismantled movie sets and are exempt from FSC certification requirements. The construction manager, Skanska, is self-performing the assembly of these nail-laminated decks in a warehouse near the project site. For more detail on this aspect, read The Kendeda Fund Living Building Chronicle’s post from December 2017.
The roof of the Alumni Association building at Georgia Tech was replaced after more than 70 years of use. The slate tiles are still in good shape. At the time of demolition, bins were made to fit the lifts used by the construction crew to access the roof. Having bins close at hand made saving the tiles easier for the crew. The Skanska team will cut the slate to size and use it to tile the walls in the bathrooms and shower rooms.
The Georgia Archives Building was recently razed through a controlled implosion to make way for the new Georgia State Supreme Court. The demolition schedule allowed an opportunity to salvage and collect materials. These Stone Mountain granite curbs have found a home and will be used as the curb that surrounds the constructed wetland – a part of the treatment system for the greywater.
Tech Tower on the Georgia Tech campus, which began construction in 1887, is one of two original buildings that made up the then Georgia School of Technology. In 2016, it went through a full interior renovation that included removing the exterior metal fire stairs to be replaced with an interior fire stair. As part of this process, four floors with original heart pine joists were removed and saved. They will be used as the stair treads at The Kendeda Building.
Georgia Tech implemented a storm-fallen tree recovery plan to collect trees. The team reviewed the inventory and milled white oak, black oak and water oak for The Kendeda Building. The wood, which has been air-dryed for one year, will be kiln-dryed and processed for use as live-edge slab counter tops and benches.
Construction lunch tables, salvaged from a project for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, are located adjacent to the construction trailer. While this isn’t one of the seven salvaged materials, the repurposing of these tables certainly fits the spirit of the team effort to maximize salvaged materials use and reduce waste.
The project team has been working with the Lifecycle Building Center in Atlanta, which has been facilitating the use of salvaged materials on this project. This community-based organization has a warehouse that directly assists the general public by identifying and implementing best practice green building-related concepts. Since 2011 it has diverted more than 3.8 million pounds of building materials from landfills and saved the community more than $2.4 million through deep discounts on material purchases, avoided disposal costs and the donation of free building materials to over 155 nonprofit organizations, community groups and faith-based organizations.
Funded through a private grant from The Kendeda Fund, The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech is expected to become a Living Building Challenge 3.1 certified facility – the built environment's most rigorous and ambitious performance standard. The project’s design and build partners include architects Lord Aeck Sargent in collaboration with The Miller Hull Partnership, construction manager Skanska and design team consultants: Newcomb & Boyd, PAE Consulting Engineers, Uzun + Case, Biohabitats, Andropogon and Long Engineering.
Want to learn more? The team is leading site tours on Thursdays at 3 pm. Sign up here.