The Lifecycle Building Center is a new nonprofit which sells salvaged building materials to the public and reinvests the proceeds back into the community through green building education/job training programs. The LBC warehouse is located at 1116 Murphy Avenue in Atlanta and the organization is currently an all-volunteer effort. A renovation project for the warehouse is underway through Perkins+Will’s Social Responsibility Initiative, and the project is also pursuing the Living Building Challenge. The LBC is currently salvaging building materials from the Centers for Disease Control’s Building 1, an 8‐story structure built in the 1950s, scheduled for demolition in December, coordinated with IFMA member Joanne Cole.
A review of Georgia’s 2010 Statewide Construction and Demolition Debris Characterization Study reveals the staggering scope of resources which are discarded each year. Within a 12 month period, Georgia threw away 2,952,123 tons of wood, gypsum wallboard, metal, asphalt shingles, concrete, sand, and brick. It is estimated that reusable building materials comprise approximately 5% of total solid waste produced. In 2009, Georgia produced 14.6 million tons of waste, which translates to 730,000 tons of reusable material thrown away in one year. At an estimated average value of $2500 per ton, Georgia’s waste stream alone has the potential to generate 1.8 billion dollars in revenue annually through the reuse of materials which are routinely thrown away.
Financial analysis aside, the environmental impacts of material reuse are equally profound. The reuse of salvaged building materials reduces our need to extract raw materials, reduces the amount of water and energy consumed to produce new materials, and keeps material out of our landfills. Keeping reclaimed materials within the community from which they are extracted also reduces the amount of fuel consumed and greenhouse gas emissions produced in association with material transportation and also retains economic resources within local communities.
My personal interest in building material reuse was sparked in 2009 during the renovation of Perkins+Will’s new office location in Midtown Atlanta. Instead of trashing the interior finishes/fixtures/furnishings within the existing building we purchased, we salvaged and donated 62 tons of materials to 19 different organizations. A group of people who were involved in this effort came together in 2010 to form the Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) movement.
The goals of the LBC are to reduce C&D waste disposal, provide programs that enhance resource efficiency in the built environment, and improve access to educational and experiential resources needed to raise market demand for green building goods and services. The heart of the LBC concept is the establishment of a large‐scale used building materials retail facility that sells or otherwise directs collected material to the general public in lieu of disposal. The sales revenue, foot traffic, and operational behavior of the facility are leveraged to enact the LBC mission and creatively serve the community at large.
The LBC will also help Atlanta reduce its solid waste, provide residents with access to low‐cost building materials as well as the skills needed for higher-paying jobs, improve the energy‐efficiency of Atlanta’s housing stock and help the Atlanta community learn more about the benefits of material reuse. Atlanta’s construction industry will financially benefit through access to low‐cost materials and reduced tipping fees. Nonprofits will benefit from having access to low/no‐cost building materials. Additionally, local artists will be supported by creative outreach programs and the provision of a vibrant community center.
More information about the LBC can be found at www.lifecyclebuildingcenter.org. Several people have donated countless hours and a wide range of skills toward this cause. Over $140,000 in professional services have been donated and pledged to the project but, despite this outpouring of support, there is still a great deal of work left to be done. You can help as a volunteer, an advisor, or through a financial, material or equipment donation. We are striving to demonstrate that, when passionate people collectively organize and work together, they can transform their communities. Your support, in any capacity, will help us prove it in Atlanta.
Current needs include:
- volunteers (both for salvaging/palletizing/loading materials at CDC & for unloading/organizing at LBC warehouse)
- equipment (pallets, pallet jacks, forklifts, trucks for hauling materials)
- help brokering salvaged materials (raised access flooring, solid oak cabinets, pavers, aluminum storefront, HVAC equipment, polished travertine wall panels, electrical equipment, battery bank, stainless steel toilet partitions/accessories, cable trays, light fixtures, file cabinets)
Anyone interested in volunteering at CDC, providing equipment, or acquiring salvaged materials may contact Shannon Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Written by By Shannon Goodman, Perkins+Will