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Boulder, Colo. Deconstructs Building, Diverting Waste from Landfills

Boulder officials and contractors are working to make the most out of the buildings deconstructed in the area. The partnership is making sure these broken-down materials are diverted away from landfills and given a new life through reuse.

May 17, 2023

1 Min Read
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Boulder, Colo. officials and contractors are working to make the most out of the buildings deconstructed in the area. The partnership is making sure these broken-down materials are diverted away from landfills and given a new life through reuse.

Recently, contractors for the City of Boulder have been gently dismantling exterior portions of the former Boulder Community Health Hospital in North Boulder. This is due in part to the deconstruction ordinance in Boulder which was passed in July of 2020.

The city’s requirement says that it covers both residential and commercial properties and that it requires 75% or more by weight of that building be recycled, reused, or go for organics management.

“What this project is all about is reusing, and that’s the key word, is reuse versus recycle,” says Mike White, who works for Boulder’s general contractor Ameresco. “All of the mortar and the brick and the concrete gets crushed to a construction grade level and fills the hole for future development of this site. So it will get compacted and reused.”

On top of the reuse ability of the deconstruction, a positive for the process is that it does not waste the past carbon energy from the original building’s construction, thus preserving the building’s embodied carbon.

“Reuse is what we want to see, and that preserves the embodied energy and the carbon within our built environment in the city," said Emily Freeman, who oversees the city’s requirements. "And we only want to see deconstruction of that entire structure when that building has reached its end useful life.”

Read the full article here.

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