Sundeck project goes `green’
The old Sundeck on Aspen Mountain will soon be gone, but not forgotten.The wood paneling that skiers now rest their weary bones againstwill end up as compost that helps Roaring Fork Valley gardensgrow.The sturdy beams that now dominate the interior will save somelucky home builders of humble means a small fortune in materialcosts.Tables and chairs that now accommodate diners will find theirway into reception rooms of local nonprofits.Virtually everything at the old structure will be recycled, ifthe Aspen Skiing Co. can pull off ambitious plans when demolitionstarts April 5.”We don’t want to just toss everything into the trucks and thenthrow it into the landfill,” said John Sale, a landscape architectin the Skico’s planning department.So the fixtures will be picked over by the Skico’s food and beveragedepartment to see if they can be used in the new Sundeck or othermountain restaurants. Anything remaining will be offered to otherSkico departments and eventually to the public, according to Sale.That’s the easy part. Demolition crews will salvage anything thatseems reusable – and a lot of things that would be regarded astrash at other projects, according to Chris Lane, Skico directorof environmental affairs.”When you talk about recycling a building, people laugh,” Lanesaid. “They say `We’re going to throw it in the landfill. That’sthe way it is done.'”But Lane and his colleagues in the Skico’s planning and environmentaldepartment have teamed with architects Cottle, Graybeal and Yaw,consultants from Rocky Mountain Institute and Shaw Constructionto come up with a “greener” plan.Sale said the plan is to find new or recycled uses for everythingbut the insulation, carpet and single-pane windows.The sheet rock and wood materials that aren’t salvageable willbe chewed up at the site by a large machine called a tub grinder.That material will be hauled to the landfill and used as a primarycomponent of Pitkin County’s composting program.By breaking down the wood and other construction debris on AspenMountain, the Skico will achieve a 5-to-1 reduction in the volumeof material heading to the landfill, said Lane. It also reducesthe tipping fees the Skico will face at the landfill, which runat $21 per cubic yard.On the return trips from the landfill to Aspen Mountain, the truckswill haul two-year-old compost for use in revegetating the newSundeck site for native grasses and wildflowers.The green plan will carry over from the demolition of the 12,600-square-footstructure to construction of the new 22,000-square-foot Sundeckand Aspen Mountain Club.The architects and Skico design staff are already planning several”green” components for the new building, such as energy-efficientwindows, low-flow water fixtures and sturdy decking material madefrom recycled materials like plastic grocery bags.After much of the design was done, Lane became interested in makingthe new Sundeck even more of a model project in environmentalconstruction. The project was one of only 25 buildings in thecountry accepted in a special environmental program administeredby the U.S. Green Building Council.This program rates buildings on a variety characteristics, fromusing environmentally-sensitive building materials, to incorporatingwaste and demolition recycling, to protecting the ozone layerand implementing an indoor air-quality program.To help meet the goals, no smoking will be allowed anywhere butin the private Aspen Mountain Club’s bar room. In addition, therewill be a special air filtration system to make sure smoke fromthat bar room doesn’t permeate materials throughout the new structure.Project manager Gerd Van Moorsel estimated that planning and implementingextra “green” components will add $100,000 to the $12 millionproject. But the expense will eventually be offset by energy savingsand other factors.Not all the Green Building Council’s criteria will be met, Laneacknowledged. “Points” are rewarded for bringing more than 20percent of building materials from 300 miles or less. The Skicocan only find 18 percent of the materials within that range, accordingto Lane.The Skico will also have a snow-melt system on part of an outdoordeck.Overall, Lane said, the destruction and construction of the Sundeckis anticipated to be a model project for the ski industry.
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