Recycling Construction Waste a Success for St. Louis Builder
With a little advance planning and the assistance of a St. Louis-area recycling company, Matt Belcher of Belcher Homes in Wildwood, Mo., last year diverted from area landfills almost 400 tons of concrete, masonry, framing and other demolition debris from his new home construction and renovation jobs.
And he expects to increase that volume. “Each time, we try to get a little more. Practice makes perfect,” he said.
As a green builder, when Belcher wanted to explore the feasibility of deconstructing homes on infill lots rather than razing them, he went for advice to a friend who was employed by Eco Recycling. That company started out primarily as a concrete crushing business, working with road construction crews on local highway renovation projects, but has since expanded its business into residential recycling.
“Whenever we were going to take a home down I would call him, and he would meet me at the site and advise me on what we could try to recycle,” Belcher recalled.
In his first project, Belcher was able to recycle 30% of the demolished building. In his latest home, he saved 80% — aided by the expanded list of materials that Eco Recycling is able to accept for recycling and resale — and the fact that the company can do most of it onsite.
They’ve got it down to a system now, Belcher explained. First, Belcher’s crews remove the appliances, pipes, doors and cabinetry and other materials that can be salvaged for other uses or sold for scrap. For the latest project, Belcher wanted to reuse as many of the doors in the old house as possible for the new house he was building for the existing property’s owners — partly to honor the wishes of the owners’ little girl, who was nervous about the idea of her home being demolished, he said.
“The biggest thing was their daughter — she was a little apprehensive about tearing the house down, and she wanted her old bedroom door on her new bedroom,” Belcher said. “We took it off and wrapped it in bubble wrap to protect it while it was in storage.”
The cabinets were also saved to be used as storage in the garage of the new house, Belcher said.
Then, using a bulldozer with an articulated thumb on the bucket, Belcher crushed the remainder of the home into the foundation and loaded the contents into dumpsters, which were transported to Eco Recycle to be separated for future use.
“The concrete gets crushed and is used for aggregate or fill,” he said. “In fact, I haven’t bought a load of aggregate for a couple years now.” Instead, Belcher said he uses the recycled material from his job sites. Masonry and brickwork are also crushed and sold, while unusable framing is shredded for mulch and old window glass crushed and recycled.
Now that Belcher has experience in reusing and recycling, the costs involved in taking the time to remove salvageable materials “is about exactly the same,” as hiring a demolition company, he said. “There is no increase to the client’s budget.”
However, there is added customer satisfaction, Belcher said. “Our terrific clients allow us to continually improve the way we do business,” he said.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
‘National Green Building Standard’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“The National Green Building Standard,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides “green” practices that can be incorporated into multifamily and single-family new home construction, home remodeling and additions and site development.
The standard covers lot design, resource, energy and water efficiency; indoor environment quality; and owner education.
Currently the first and only ANSI-approved green building rating system, the National Green Building Standard is the benchmark for green homes.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here.
The Future of Residential Construction Is Green
The Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes using cost-effective and affordable options.
Earning the CGP demonstrates to clients and peers your commitment to the best and latest in green building practices and techniques. More than 1,000 people have earned the CGPdesignation to date.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/CGPinfo.
Attend the National Green Building Conference in Dallas
Attend the 2009 National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 10-13 to learn more about the critical paths to green building, and to participate in interactive sessions and be part of the driving force for the green building and remodeling markets.
For more information and to sign up to be notified when registration opens, visit www.nahb.org/GreenBuildingConference.
‘Building Greener Neighborhoods’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Building Greener Neighborhoods,” available through Digital Delivery at BuilderBooks.com, shows those involved in building new communities the advantages and rewards of saving, planting and transplanting more trees in their developments.
The examples are drawn from decades of experience of land developers, home builders and urban foresters.
To download this publication in a PDF format, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
‘Profit from Building Green’ Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Profit from Building Green — Award-Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes,” available through BuilderBooks.com, showcases what energy conscious award-winning builders are doing, provides innovative energy-efficient features and covers successful techniques for building this niche market.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.