Kellogg Building Project



Niwot Ridge geophysical measurementsSeeley House and the 1982 and 1995 additions to Kellogg House were carefully deconstructed. This deconstruction process was undertaken to comply with Imperative 15: Conservation and Reuse of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Under this Imperative, the project teams must strive to reduce or eliminate the production of waste during design, construction, operation and end of life in order to conserve natural resources. Required levels of landfill diversion are as follows:MRS Station research descrip13
This blog post focuses on how the Kellogg House project has reduced the production of waste during the deconstruction phase of the project.

Normally, additions or old buildings on a project site would just be demolished with little regard for salvaging or recycling material from the building (think: giant wrecking ball hitting a building and then trucks taking the waste to a landfill to take up space indefinitely). Often this material, known as Construction and Demolition (C&D) debris, can consist of a significant percentage of materials that can be salvaged or recycled. However, according to a report published by the EPA, as of 2006, only 10% of C&D debris in the Northeast is diverted from landfills. Given that C&D debris in the Northeast totaled 12,065,582 tons in 2006, there are over 10,000,000 tons of debris going directly to landfills each year. Furthermore, because C&D debris accounts for approximately 50% (as of 2002) of the commercial solid waste stream in Massachusetts, increasing the diversion rate of C&D debris rate from landfills can make a significant contribution to decreasing the state’s landfill needs. To help promote this goal of landfill diversion, Imperative 15 of the LBC sets specific requirements for dealing with waste generated during the course of an LBC project.

In the case of the Kellogg House project, EcoBuilding Bargains, a green deconstruction company, was hired to handle the deconstruction of Seeley House and the additions to Kellogg House. A full collection of photos from the deconstruction process are available in the Deconstruction Gallery, but a few representative pictures are included in the description of the deconstruction provided below.

The deconstruction process began with EcoBuilding Bargains assessing the materials and items in Seeley House and the additions to Kellogg House. Following this assessment, the deconstruction team began removing items from the buildings, including windows, doors, and planks of wood (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Planks of wood being carefully removed from Seeley House. Source: Nicholas Whitman

Work continued to progress on the interior of the buildings, with the removal of the drywall, insulation, and flooring (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The interior of the Matt Cole Library after the removal of the drywall, insulation, and flooring. Source: Nicholas Whitman

At first, it might not have been apparent from the outside that much work was being done, but eventually EcoBuilding Bargains began removing exterior aspects of the buildings (Figure 3). The removed materials were stacked and sorted to make reuse, recycling, and salvaging easier.

Figure 3. The roof, siding, and some of the rafters have been removed from the Matt Cole Library. Source: Nicholas Whitman

As work progressed, the buildings were reduced to their frames. At this point, large chunks of the frame were removed by using various hoists and ropes to carefully lower a given chunk to the ground (Figure 4). These portions of the frame could then be easily disassembled and sorted on site.

Figure 4. Carefully removing the upper right portion of the Seeley House frame. Source: Nicholas Whitman

Following the removal of the buildings’ frames, all that remained were the foundations and basements (Figure 5). Parts from the buildings’ mechanical systems were removed and sorted, and then the foundations themselves were also removed.

Figure 5. Workers removing items from the basement of Seeley House. Source: Nicholas Whitman

Although, the deconstruction process took longer than normal demolition would have, it resulted in 94.8% of the roughly 885 tons of waste being diverted from landfills. Considering that the Northeast average for C&D debris is 10%, this rate of diversion is an outstanding achievement. Of the approximately 840 tons of recycled material, the vast majority (745 tons) was concrete and concrete masonry units. This portion of the C&D debris was crushed in preparation for reuse as road base. Of the approximately 55 tons of wood removed, 50 tons of low-quality wood were sent to Taylor Recycling in Montgomery, NY where it was shredded and turned into landscape mulch. The remaining wood was denailed and resold for use in future building projects. Approximately 24 tons of materials were directly salvaged for future projects. These materials included items such as insulation, windows, doors, light fixtures, and carpet tiles. Almost 8 tons of metal, primarily steel, were salvaged from the buildings and sent to recycling facilities. In addition, the roughly 7 tons of gypsum/drywall removed from the buildings were sent to a reprocessing plant to be turned into new gypsum/drywall. The salvage value of the material collected by EcoBuilding Bargains was directly deducted from the cost of the deconstruction.

Overall, Seeley House and the additions to Kellogg House were removed in a very environmentally friendly (and cost effective) manner. As companies like EcoBuilding Bargains become more mainstream, there is a large potential for decreasing the amount of C&D debris sent to landfills each year. As the saying goes, “One [building]’s trash is another [building]’s treasure.”