By: Marc Spiegel, Rubicon Global

Attendees at this year’s Greenbuild Conference & Expo are no strangers to the idea that construction and demolition (C&D) recycling and diversion from the landfill in your project is a cost-saving, not a cost center, if done properly.

The results speak for themselves and have been replicated on countless C&D projects over the years. But how well has this message been heard by the home and commercial property builders who have yet to put diversion at the center of their work? Better yet, how is this message being disseminated to executives who think more strategically about giving their company an upper-hand?

There is a misconception among some sectors of the general public, as well as numerous construction companies, that diverting materials away from the landfill and into recycling streams is more expensive than simply disposing of C&D waste in a landfill.

It’s my belief, however, that C&D recycling and diversion can be a cost-saving, not a cost center, for almost all C&D projects. All a project needs is the right plan, knowledge of infrastructure, and the ability to do something differently from what they have done for decades.

Recycling is a Cost-Saving

Consider LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). For a building to become LEED-certified it must use resources (many of which are nonrenewable) more efficiently than they would if they were simply trying to stick to a standard building code—and in most cases, for a building to be LEED-certified from the moment it’s completed, it must divert the vast majority of its C&D waste from the landfill and into recycling streams.

Earlier this year, State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia received LEED Gold certification after partnering with Rubicon to recycle 12,500 seats from the arena as part of a refurbishment project. The project resulted in 64 tons of recyclable material being identified.

Green buildings can have lower maintenance costs, can significantly cut down on waste, and can be better for a developer’s bottom line. This is no trivial thing.

How to Divert C&D Materials

This isn’t just true of LEED buildings. C&D recycling and diversion is a cost-saving regardless of a building or other construction project’s certification, as materials that would otherwise have been sent to landfill have a monetary value that you can leverage.

When you recycle C&D waste, the cost of recycling these materials is often less than the cost of standard disposal fees because you receive some of the value back from recycling these materials; especially valuable ones, such as aluminum, copper, and other non-ferrous metals.

To determine how you can save money on your waste disposal fees on your next C&D project (while also doing something good for the environment), get in touch with an expert and ask them how they can help you recover in your area. Typically this consists of metals, wood, concrete, and gypsum, but more can be added to this list depending on the scope of your project.

Remember, you don’t need to spend more to be a more sustainable business, and do the right thing for the environment.

About the Author: Marc Spiegel is a Co-Founder and Head of Construction & Demolition Project Solutions at Rubicon Global, a technology company born in the waste and recycling industry. You can contact Marc at marc.spiegel@rubiconglobal.com.

At Greenbuild Conference & Expo 2019 you’ll be inspired and learn about new products and programs. But ultimately, the PEOPLE of the global sustainability effort make all the difference. Each week, leading up to the event, we showcase one game-changer, profiling a speaker, supporter, sponsor, or friend of Greenbuild. 

Up next:

Josh Jacobs, LEED AP&BD&C, Director of Environmental Codes & Standards, UL Environment & Sustainability

“In our world, you can sometimes feel like Sisyphus…same rock, same hill, every day,” says Jacobs. But he remains hopeful about our future. “When you take a step back and look at the changes that have happened in building and procurement, they are monumental.” 

As part of the original International Green Construction Code’s (igCC) working group for Indoor Environmental Quality, he helped the committee understand the impact that VOC emissions can have on indoor occupants. Getting building code officials, builders, and product manufacturers to see the importance of building materials in preserving human health and that the criteria should be part of the code was one of Jacob’s greatest moments.

Jacobs gets his inspiration from people who look at what has been done and ask, “Why can’t I do this differently?” His own “green heroes” include Eric Corey Freed, the originator of concept of Prostruction and Shaun McCarthy who greened the London Olympics. 

He is also a connector. “This industry is filled with some incredibly smart people from around the globe. I try to make sure that most of the smart people I know, know each other. Listening to them and sharing ideas and concepts makes me smarter and pushes me to do better every day,” Jacob says.

Interested in being profiled in our Voices of Greenbuild series? Please contact us!

Atlanta has been called “a dark horse of sustainability.” A mere three years ago it was selected from among 1,000 submissions to be part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. In 2018 alone, more than 11 million gross square feet of space achieved LEED certification in the state of Georgia. Now, Atlanta not only has its own strategy for sustainability but has been chosen as the 2019 site for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo 2019.

Atlanta’s  goal of powering the city with 100 percent clean energy by 2035 is ambitious, and the businesses and developers in the city (which is expected to grow from 6M to 8M people by 2040) are up for the challenge. To help that effort along, more than 10K sustainability professionals will be converging in the city this fall at Greenbuild 2019 to share ideas, inspiration, and new solutions.

 

Here’s what you can expect to find in Atlanta in November:

It Begins at the Airport

More than 103 million people pass through the airport each year. From its own solar production facility to LED runway lights to its Sustainable Food Court Initiative, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport(R) is soaring in its efforts to maintain a more sustainable environment. Among the first international airports to engage in an initiative like this, it uses specialized software to manage utility performance for all its assets.

It was, in fact, the first airport in the world to earn pre-certification under the LEED for Communities program, which tracks energy, water, waste, transportation, and the human experience, including education, prosperity, equability, and health and safety. As we noted in the first part of the series, health (both individual and community) is playing a bigger role in the definition of sustainability — this year and beyond.

Welcome to One of the Greenest Cities in America

Atlanta is now in its fifth year of the Better Buildings Challenge, and is reporting impressive results — both in terms of progress in energy-efficiency and the economic health of its population.

Fast Green Fact: Atlanta is in the top 20 in the Locavore Index for its commitment to healthy food.

The Atlanta Mayor’s office has outlined nine key projects as part of the city’s ongoing sustainability commitment. The Office of Resilience commits that “through action-oriented policies, Atlanta continues to update its city infrastructure to align with these values and become a region that works for its residents, as well as a model for cities globally.”

Atlanta is home to many corporate headquarters. Home Depot, one of Greenbuild’s sponsors, has made a company-wide commitment to sustainability. Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Invesco, and Newell Rubbermaid have all also been heralded for their commitment to a better planet.

Part of the national Target Cities program, Atlanta’s Eco-District has made a commitment to educating its midtown community about sustainable living practices. These new models of urban development and certification process are intended to “spark a movement of urbanists committed to using a governance and performance framework for district and neighborhood-scale redevelopment.”

Fast Green Fact: Georgia Tech offers a fully-integrated Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS)  curriculum and the state’s first Master’s program in Sustainability

Touchdown! Football season has begun, which reminds us of “the most sustainable Super Bowl ever.” Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium was the first professional sports stadium in the world to earn LEED Platinum Certification, scoring an impressive 88 points. The Green Sports Alliance declared that this Atlanta-based icon and its practices “brings sustainability to the forefront of sports.“  

Fast Green Fact: Serenbe, an experimental green community outside of Atlanta, has been thriving for more than 15 years and is home to 600 residents

The Event

The organizers of Greenbuild made a firm commitment to “walking the talk” when bringing a conference of this magnitude to a new city. The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) earned its LEED Gold Certification. This 4 million square foot facility tackled a variety of challenges and has become a model for convention centers nationally. We work closely with the U.S. Green Building Council and its Georgia chapter to engage the local business community in the event, along with national game-changers and leaders.  Last year, 66 percent of event attendees made at least one pledge about their own role in making the Expo itself more sustainable. An impressive 28,000 pledges were made.

Greenbuild organizers set goals for various aspects of conference production — from transportation to and from the convention center, to display production, to the handling of waste and food. Following last year’s event in Chicago, the organizers issued a comprehensive Sustainability Report, measuring every aspect of Greenbuild. Because this annual event is, in effect, its own community, Informa (the organizers) hold themselves to high standards, as if they were a city-within-a-city. The 2018 KPIs will be the stats to beat as we head into 2019.

Atlanta Welcomes You

From a global perspective to local community game-changers, Greenbuild 2019 will give sustainability professionals insights into our industry from a variety of perspectives. You’ll discover why Atlanta is rapidly becoming the epicenter of sustainable innovation in the South.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

At Greenbuild Conference & Expo 2019 you’ll be inspired and learn about new products and programs. But ultimately, the PEOPLE of the global sustainability effort make all the difference. Each week, leading up to the event, we’ll be showcasing one game-changer, profiling a speaker, supporter, sponsor, or friend of Greenbuild. 

George Bandy, Jr. Chief Sustainability Officer, Mohawk Flooring North America, has a passion for the environment that dates back to his early youth. He was inspired by his grandmother, who “taught the discipline of being in touch with nature.”

Bandy’s inquisitiveness prompted him to study and minor in environmental business as an undergrad.

In the 1980s Bandy met Paul Hawken, environmentalist and author. Bandy was so inspired by the meeting, he went on to immerse himself in The Natural Step and ultimately became the first Sustainability Officer at the University of Texas at Houston, during a time when that position was first emerging.

In the years since then, sustainability in the business world has been trying to “earn its justification.” But he sees a massive shift over that time from evaluation of products and measurement of energy saving to environmental impacts on health and wellness — worker productivity, and the health of people inside spaces — not just building methods and materials. “People are looking more closely at the social impacts of sustainability.”

Bandy also believes that customers — both consumer and business-to-business are demanding more from the people they work with and ask different questions. “Their knowledge level is immense,” he says.

“How you treat your employees and how you engage with communities is as important as the products you make.”

Last year, Bandy was the recipient of the prestigious Leadership Award by the U.S. Green Building Council (USCBC). Mohawk continues to make a significant commitment to the health and wellness of its workers and community.

Communication is also a key part of sustainability, believes Bandy. “Evolving an organization to one that is truly committed, you need to learn to speak multiple languages. If you’re selling to a CFO, for example, you need to connect sustainability to long-term cost savings or the stock price.”

Bandy believes that ultimately we need to make sustainability more relevant and personal to consumers, business decision-makers, and employees. “People will learn better, perform better, and help their company thrive if their environments are healthier.”

Don’t miss Bandy speak at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo taking place November 19-22, 2019 in Atlanta Georgia. Learn more and register here.

Interested in being profiled in our Voices of Greenbuild series? Please contact us!

As we prepare for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo 2019, we can’t help but reflect on how our industry has changed.

Sustainable building and development has evolved from what was once viewed as a fad to a global imperative, with an impact on health and wellness as well as the economic growth of communities, cities, our country, and ultimately our planet.

Engaging buyers and influencers of green building solutions involves relationship cultivation and trust.

Download our whitepaper to master the strategies behind sustainable design, building, and construction.

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Each year, thousands of green building professionals from across the globe unite to learn,
share, and inspire – with the goal of advancing the green building movement. While we work
diligently to engage our vendors behind the scenes to make the show more sustainable, there
is always an opportunity to create more meaningful engagement with all of our stakeholders.

ACTIONS

• This year Greenbuild partnered with Waste Management to help us engage and train our
amazing volunteers about the waste management process. Through back-of-house tours and
daily training, our volunteers were well versed in “Trash Talk.”

• Before arriving on-site, 66% of attendees pledged to take at least one of the actions in our
pledge options, suggestions for sustainable actions tailored to the host city and the show.
Additionally, thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and Greenbuild participants made their
pledges onsite at our Sustainability Hub.

• In an effort to make our pledges a bit more meaningful, we coordinated with the local host
committee to include

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.