Skico, partners demolish myths and a building
The Aspen Skiing Co. and a couple of contractors demolished some myths about construction recycling this summer while they demolished a building in Snowmass Village.
The Skico teamed with general contractor R.A. Nelson and Associates and subcontractor Alpine Demolition to recycle roughly 88 percent of the materials in the Snowmass Lodge and Club building and foundation.
That figure far exceeds what’s considered typical in the construction industry on those rare occasions when recycling actually takes place. And the job proves that recycling can be worth the extra time and up-front costs it requires.
Jim Gochis, owner of Alpine Demolition, said 30 to 40 percent of old buildings can be recycled fairly easily. Rarely does an owner take the time necessary to recycle 50 percent of the materials.
He was ecstatic that the Skico and R.A. Nelson gave him the time to show what could be done with the Snowmass Village building.
“This is the future of the demolition business,” said Gochis, whose firm is based in Arvada. “This has been the highest percentage of recycling I’ve been able to do.”
The Skico’s John Sale, a landscape architect who is the company’s liaison to the contractors, said being able to recycle 88 percent of the 6,810 cubic yards of crushed building material is phenomenal.
“Jim showed me what you could do with a lot of time,” said Sale. “To summarize it, I would say it’s a total success.” Wood reduction critical The key to the high recycling percentage was the reduction of 4,251 cubic yards of wood. Nearly all of it was pulverized by Alpine Demolition’s tumble grinder and turned into mulch that was taken to the Pitkin County landfill. It will eventually be reused as mulch.
The wood was reduced by a 5-to-1 ratio. The 4,251 cubic yards were reduced to 800 cubic yards.
The Skico’s summary of the project shows a total of 649 cubic yards of building materials were recycled; another 400 cubic yards of rock and fill were reused; 60 cubic yards of steel and wood beams were reused; and 610 cubic yards of salvageable materials were removed and sold.
In total, nearly 6,000 cubic yards of material were diverted from the landfill.
Captured for reuse through the recycling effort were: 210 cubic yards of concrete, which were crushed and are being used as fill at the site; 380 cubic yards of miscellaneous steel; 3,200 pounds of copper pipe and 800 pounds of aluminum pipe; three 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.
The Skico also held a salvage sale at Buttermilk where the public was offered everything from interior and exterior doors to carpeting. Sale estimated the sale, which included light and plumbing fixtures, saved another 610 cubic yards of trash getting hauled to the landfill. 12 percent garbage Only 12 percent of the crushed materials, or 840 cubic yards, were hauled to the dump as garbage, according to Sale’s calculations.
The Skico paid $11,592 to dump the garbage in a landfill near Gypsum, he said. The “tip fee” charged there was $13.80 per cubic yard.
If all 6,810 cubic yards had been taken, with no recycling, it would have cost nearly $94,000.
Expenses would have been even higher at the Pitkin County landfill, where the tip fee is $21 per cubic yard.
The demolition was more costly because Gochis needed more time to recycle properly. He figured his crew needed about another 10 to 14 days beyond the time needed for a “normal” recycling effort.
Alpine Demolition’s first step was to remove all the steel from the structure. The crew then stripped out everything that was salvageable for reuse, such as the doors, carpeting and fixtures.
The building was then collapsed and the crews went in and segregated materials from each floor.
Gochis said nearly all the wood could be fed to his grinder. He used it for about 26 hours on the project. Model for industry, valley Chris Lane, Skico director of environmental affairs, said it’s his hope that the company uses the Snowmass Lodge and Club work as a model for future demolition.
Much of the Sundeck Restaurant was also recycled when it was torn down earlier this summer. Sale estimated about 60 to 70 percent of that building was diverted from the waste stream.
Lane hopes the recycling projects earn recognition within the ski industry – not for the sake of recognition but to spur more ski area operators to take similar steps.
The project, he said, could also hopefully serve as a model for the entire construction industry in the valley. Teardowns and remodelings are typical of residential projects in the Aspen area.
Because of Pitkin County’s relatively high tip fees, much of the construction debris produced in the upper valley gets hauled elsewhere. About 3,500 cubic yards of construction debris, drywall and concrete come into the landfill in an average month, according to staff estimates.
In other words, the amount the Skico diverted from the landfill is equal to the amount dumped every seven weeks or so.
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