Construction debris to make way for Aspen government office mostly avoids landfill |

Construction debris to make way for Aspen government office mostly avoids landfill

Hydraulic shears takes down part of the old ACRA building for the new Aspen city offices on March 6.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

The city of Aspen avoided about 40 tons of material going into the local landfill when it tore down the old chamber of commerce building to make way for new government offices, according to officials.

With the deconstruction of the building at 427 Rio Grande Place about 95 percent done, those working on the project said they were able to divert 74 percent of the materials.

That includes 40.45 tons of materials recycled, redirected or reused, including almost 23 tons of metal and about 17 tons of brick and concrete, according to J.P. Strait, founder of Aspen Deconstruction, the environmental waste subcontractor on the project.

“We had a goal of 65 percent for diversion and we are at 74 percent,” said Brian Thomas, the project manager for Shaw Construction. “We are happy with Aspen Deconstruction. They knocked it out of the park.”

Thomas added that it took some meticulous work to take apart the building the way it was done in order to salvage the materials. Crews used a hydraulic shears to pluck everything off the top of the structure.

“It takes a lot more care and hands on deck,” he said.

It cost the city an additional $300,000 to recycle, reuse and divert the materials.

Jeff Pendarvis, the city’s capital asset director, said the project team early on identified the diversion goal and talked to Shaw in 2016 about making it happen.

Then in 2017, officials from the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center presented to Aspen City Council the challenges the landfill is facing and the amount of construction and debris waste that’s shortening its lifespan.

“So it was an easy sell,” Pendarvis said about convincing council to spend more on the deconstruction piece of the project.

But it didn’t all get diverted. Almost 30 tons of waste construction and debris waste was disposed in the landfill, according to Kathleen Wanatowicz, an information consultant on the project who works at PR Studio.

Doors and windows from the building went to 2nd Time Around Recycle Outlet in Parachute, Strait noted. Some of the metal went to Green Zone in Silt, which is a metal recycle center. Light bulbs went to Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling, a facility in Glenwood Springs.

The glass facade of the old building was able to be salvaged, as well as the brick on the building.

Strait said his crews took 30 55-pound bags of insulation to market and sold them for $13 each.

Wanatowicz said the current design standards for the project call for a “LEED gold project,” with an Aspen City Council decision still pending for the pursuit of a net-zero carbon emissions facility.

The city office building will be 37,500 square feet and will extend to Rio Grande Place and onto Galena Plaza. It will take two years to construct at a current price tag of $30 million.


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