Armstrong works with recyclers on hotel ceiling project

Armstrong works with recyclers on hotel ceiling project

Chicago’s BreakThru Demolition and Independent Recycling Services recycle 110 tons of ceiling panels through Armstrong program.

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January 26, 2016
CDR Staff
Demolition Green Building Recycling Projects

BreakThru Demolition, Lombard, Illinois, and Independent Recycling Services, Chicago, have worked together to help a downtown Chicago hotel developer divert 110 tons of old ceiling tiles from the landfill via the Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program.

When converting an 18-story office building into a Conrad Hotel in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood, developer CBRE Development Services wanted the renovation project to meet the requirements for U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

During renovation, the interior of the 228,000 square foot building would be completely gutted and rebuilt into a 284-room Conrad Hotel. Targeting the LEED credit for construction waste management, the developer needed to devise a plan for diverting most of the construction and demolition debris away from landfills.

A large fraction of the construction waste consisted of used ceiling panels that would be removed from the building during demolition. Tapping into its existing partnership with Armstrong through the FUSION preferred vendor program, CBRE was able to recycle the old ceiling panels through the Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program.

The program enables commercial building owners and contractors to salvage ceiling panels removed during demolition and renovation projects and return them to the nearest Armstrong plant as an alternative to landfill disposal. Armstrong uses the reclaimed ceilings to make new ceiling panels in a closed-loop manufacturing process. The new panels contain among the highest levels of post-consumer recycled content in the ceiling industry.

The demolition crew placed the salvaged ceiling panels in containers provided by Independent Recycling Services, an Armstrong recycling partner in Chicago. When the containers were full, the recycling contractor transported them back to its facility, where the ceiling panels were baled, shrink-wrapped and made ready for pickup by Armstrong.

“This process with Armstrong and Independent Recycling was as easy as our regular demolition,” says Brian Duddy of BreakThru Demolition. “We just removed the ceiling panels, loaded them in the designated dumpster and they were taken away. Nothing additional needed to be done.” The streamlined process enabled the demolition crew to remove the used ceilings from 12 of the 18 floors in one week, according to Duddy.

“It’s very orderly and organized to get the ceiling panels off the floor and down into a waste disposal container,” says Brian Baldock, project manager for Clayco, the Chicago-based general contractor. “It increases our safety on the job and we are a very safety conscious company.”

By the time the demolition was complete, the developer had sent 220,000 square feet of old ceiling panels back to Armstrong for recycling, diverting about 110 tons of construction waste – the equivalent of about 11,000 tires -- from the landfill.

In addition to earning the LEED credit for construction waste management, participating in the program saved the developer up to 30 percent on container costs and landfill fees. “The key benefit to any waste diversion is cost savings,” says CBRE Development Director Michael Tobin. “It’s a long-term value that allows us to save money on demolition, but it’s also nice for the environment.”