I remember sitting at my desk this same time a year ago writing about none other than LEED v4. The newest version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program was to have taken effect last year, but in light of the level of feedback the organization received from thousands of entities, it instead opened up more comment periods and delayed voting on the new version.
The USGBC also initiated a beta test of LEED v4, intended to improve aspects of the program, in which more than 100 projects have participated. Fast-forward to November 2013, and the USGBC is getting ready to adopt what one LEED Accredited Professional referred to in the magazine last June as “kind of a shake-up.”
Indeed, the new version of LEED will shake things up for general contractors, demolition crews and C&D recyclers who now have to focus on not only the weight of what is being recycled but also target nonstructural materials for diversion.
According to the USGBC website, www.usgbc.org, applicants will have to produce a final report detailing all major waste streams generated, including disposal and diversion rates. After further describing the requirement, the website description for the Material & Resources Prerequisite (MRp2 on the scorecard) reads in bold letters, “Alternative daily cover (ADC) does not qualify as material diverted from disposal.”
This is one area that has been a source of controversy for the C&D recycling industry even before the USGBC decided to take a stance on the material. Common sense might tell you that if a material is used as cover at a landfill, then that material was not diverted from a landfill and, therefore, should not be included in a reported recycling rate. However, one also could argue validly that using the fines from a C&D recycling facility as ADC also prevents virgin dirt from being used in its place. You can read more about what the industry has to say about the new LEED requirement around ADC in the article, “Landfill Cover-Up,” on page 22.
For the USGBC, being “green” certainly means more than recycling concrete and steel, but it is the value of those high-volume commodities that make recycling a worthwhile endeavor for demolition firms. It also is the reason millions of tons of debris are kept out of landfills each year.
If LEED projects now put an emphasis on recycling additional materials, such as drywall or carpet, there may be some kicking and screaming at first as the industry adjusts to the new set of rules. But, as a wise person once told me, “Change is never easy, even if it is for the better.”
Perhaps LEED v4 will cause C&D recyclers to more readily accept additional materials and find new end markets for nontraditional debris coming into their facilities. It will be those firms that learn to adapt to the new environment and innovate that will come out ahead.
As the United States space program declines, gone are the crowd-captivating shuttle launches and International Space Station trips. And while other countries continue space exploration, much of the infrastructure associated with NASA’s previous efforts is being retired, restructured or demolished to make way for new facilities. At the agency’s Ames Research Center (ARC) in Mountain View, Calif., Pantano Demolition tackled the removal of four massive vacuum spheres once used in support of the facility’s hypersonic wind tunnel. It faced formidable challenges, but by using a pair of Genesis GXP 990R mobile shears, the company overcame them and redefined the phrase “heavy metal.”
Built in the late 1950s, the 3.5-foot diameter hypersonic wind tunnel at ARC was initially designed for basic aerodynamic research in the Mach 5 to Mach 10 range but then found broad use as part of the then-emerging U.S. space program. It eventually became the program’s workhorse, handling most of the atmospheric re-entry testing of the space shuttle and its ancestors.
A key component of that tunnel complex was a series of four spheres, which cooled the superheated, compressed gas used in testing. According to Ruben Hernandez, superintendent for Fresno, Calif.-based RS Morris Construction, the general contractor on the job, though the spheres were impressive in size, getting them down to a point where they could be recycled presented challenges.
“The wind tunnel facility was built in 1959 and busy almost right up to 1979, when it was decommissioned due to wear-related issues,” he says. “It has been idle since, and plans to build another facility on the site prompted the demolition. It’s ironic, but we actually took down a building adjacent to this, and I remember thinking as I looked over here that I would hate to be the company that had to take those spheres down. About seven months later, I walked into my office to find out we got that very job. Our first thought of course was: ‘What are our options?’”
Those options, it turned out, were very limited. Not only were the spheres constructed of 1-and-five-sixteenths-inch thick steel, but the steel had tempered. To simulate Mach 10 airspeeds, 10 times the speed of sound through the tunnel, compressed gas was heated to temperatures around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the melting point of steel. While the gas was markedly cooler by the time it got to the spheres, it was still extremely hot, says Hernandez.
“It’s believed the continual high-temperature heating and subsequent cooling of the spheres caused the steel to temper,” says Hernandez. “It was definitely the toughest material we’ve ever encountered. We’d worked with Pantano Demolition in the past, and they were confident they could bring the tools to get the job done, so we subcontracted that portion to them.”
Plan of Attack
Each of the four spheres at ARC’s tunnel complex was 75 feet in diameter and 85 feet tall. It was determined that the best plan of attack for bringing the spheres down to ground level for processing was to attach cables to two of each of the sphere’s 12 legs and “trip” them. The processing, according to Giuseppe Pantano, the Fresno, Calif.-based demo firm’s owner, could then only be done with a large mobile shear.
“We looked at what we were getting into and knew immediately that this was not going to be a standard job; the material was just too hearty,” he says. “However, we’d been working with Bejac Corp., our local Link-Belt dealer, for a while, and I knew they were also handling shears from Genesis Attachments. We talked to them about what we were facing and made arrangements to outfit a Link-Belt 800 LX with a Genesis GXP 990R. We were looking at a fairly aggressive 16-week window to get things done but confident this was the best plan of action and started in early January.”
That early work was complicated by additional piping and other tunnel-related infrastructure that made the work site extremely congested. According to Pantano, just getting the first sphere down took a good deal of planning, and each subsequent sphere presented additional concerns, such as nearby traffic and an active gas manifold. “It got better as we started removing material,” he says, “but at the beginning, there was hardly room to turn the machine around.”
The Right Move
To gain an access point when processing a normal vessel such as a storage tank, shear operators generally use the attachment’s piercing tip to punch through the material and then process from there. The nature of the steel Pantano encountered at ARC, however, eliminated that method as an option.
“For us to cut with the shear, we had to first have a square section abated, then torched out so we could get the shear in,” he says. “We actually had the torchers do the entry cuts for all the spheres at once, then spot weld them shut again until we were ready to start on each one. At that point, I was able to just poke it with the tip of the shear to knock it inward and start cutting. Seeing how long it took just to torch those sections, anywhere from five hours for a smaller opening to two days for a larger one, reassured us that we’d made the right decision in going with the Genesis mobile shear.”
Because material had to be cut to a size where it would fit inside a standard scrap trailer, Pantano sheared to 8-foot and shorter lengths. But getting scrap to the scrap yard roughly 45 miles away was hindered by heavy area traffic, and the trucks were often only able to make two trips per day. Also, because the material was so dense, the loads had to be smaller.
“I had more than one instance where I put two good-sized pieces in the truck, and it was maxed out,” he says. “And, because of on-site congestion, we didn’t have the luxury of setting material aside for later. It got crazy at times, but we managed.”
Doubling the Effort
In addition to the spheres themselves, Pantano also processed the supporting legs and crossbeams as well as piping connected to the tunnel’s aftercooler and several other components on site. All told, Pantano estimates workers sheared and recycled about 2,500 tons of steel from the job. Midway through the project, to offset some unscheduled delays, Pantano contracted with Bejac for a second GXP 990R mobile shear, again on a Link-Belt 800LX.
“Bejac is an excellent dealer and was there for us whenever we had any issues,” he says. “So when we decided to add the second machine and Genesis shear, they stepped up to the plate and made it happen. So much of this job was driven by how tough the material was, and, in that regard, the Genesis shears were a lifesaver. I’ve used mobile shears before in building demolitions, so I know what they can do. But even a building’s I-beams are no match for what we were processing here. This was another world entirely.”
Looking back at how long it took to torch the four access points, Pantano estimates the job would have taken the better part of a year without the shear.
“Obviously that wouldn’t have worked for anyone,” says Pantano. “I was truly amazed at what that shear could do. At the outset, when I saw what we were up against, I thought: ‘No way.’ Turns out, there definitely was a way.”
Demolition at the ARC site wrapped up in late April, and plans to construct a new arc-jet tunnel complex at the same location are already in the works.
This article was submitted on behalf of Genesis Attachments, Superior, Wis.
Brick recycling and crushing is not your normal commodity business. While no recycler would turn down an aluminum can because it had contained Pepsi rather than Budweiser, brick buyers are a very picky lot. Color, age, size and a variety of factors can determine whether a brick is worth a buck or next to nothing and headed for the crusher.
Yet a recycler with a bit of patience and a half-hour on the phone can turn a tipping-fee expense into a revenue-generating project.
A recycler in Milwaukee who has the hard-to-find cream-colored bricks from a building erected before 1900 is sitting on a small windfall. The clay deposits used to fire those bricks were depleted by 1900, and a good quality brick from a 1920s-era building is almost a collector’s item. Such brick will go for $1 each in lots as small as 100 bricks. Even in quantity, a recycler can expect at least 75 cents per brick. The same goes for Louisiana hard red brick that is typically found in the historic districts of New Orleans.
Not so valuable—in fact, comparatively worthless—is face brick or the newer post-1970s brick with holes in it.
“It is not a simple commodity,” explains Tom Svoboda, Vintage Brick Salvage, Rockford, Ill.
If a brick is old, natural clay or natural shale-fired brick, it will fetch a better price than most others.
“Old, solid brick was naturally mined and fired,” Svoboda notes. Today, because of environmental considerations, such material no longer is made, thus, the value of the old bricks.
Color and condition count. Age is not usually a factor, as long as the brick qualifies on other counts.
Not every area is a gold mine. “We find that the value of recycled bricks is relatively low compared to the time and labor expense needed to sort, clean and palletize the material,” says John Costello from Costello Dismantling, West Wareham, Mass.
Costello says the average labor cost in the Northeast typically makes the prospect marginally cost-effective at best. “The market for used bricks seems to be not as strong in the Northeast as it is in other parts of the country, so while markets exist for the product, transportation to market can be very costly,” he adds.
Pricing of bricks, commercially, is usually on a per-thousand basis. Sometimes, especially for rare or high-demand product, it is priced per-brick. In the Chicago area, good brick is going for $50 to $80 per pallet with the seller stacking. The price per brick might be 20 to 23 cents.
A deep red brick in St. Louis will fetch 40 cents, while it might bring only 32 to 35 cents in Chicago. The reason is not shipping cost; rather, it is local market conditions and supply-and-demand factors. “Dark red brick gets more money,” Svoboda says.
Not all brick is processed whole. There is a decent market for crushed brick. In this case, shale brick is better than clay-based brick since it is a harder ceramic. Brick dust is in demand for sports stadiums. Brick dust still is a component material for baseball infields.
Several factors go into assessing whether bricks might be eligible for reselling rather than crushing.
“The type of brick, the volume of brick available, the condition of the brick and the area you have to work with on the demolition site are all factors to consider when salvaging the brick for resale,” says Rick Declercq of Green Valley Recycling (GVR), London, Ontario. “The volumes we get at GVR are smaller loads and usually mixed with other demolition materials.”
So, GVR crushes the brick it receives into a granular material for use as a base in parking lots, pathways, roadways or as a general fill.
Costello says his firm typically crushes brick for use as nonstructural backfill, so color is not an issue. “It could be for landscaping products, certainly,” he says, adding that brick dust and chips are popular landscaping products.
Fisher Topsoil & Landscape Supplies in London, Ontario, carries a complete line of crushed product. Most of the crushed material goes into landscaping. “We go through a lot of it,” says Henry Giesbrecht of Fisher Topsoil.
Clean product is a must. “For crushers that are crushing brick for use as landscape products, you would always be removing all other demolition/construction debris that would contaminate the finished product,” Declercq says. “For our granular crushing processing, we remove any demolition/construction debris, such as metals, paper, wood or plastics.”
Lack of contaminants is one of the selling points for GVR’s granular product. GVR says it tries to assure there are sufficient fines in the material so it can be compacted properly and with ease. GVR’s granular product does not require color separation.
“We crush all brick into a granular for use as a granular base,” Declercq says. “However,” he notes, “Some landscape centers have different colored crushed brick that are used as a cover material on landscape areas.”
GVR usually does not use a screen for its granular product. “If you are making a colored crushed brick cover for landscape areas, a minimum of three decks would be required if you want to do it in one pass,” Declercq says.
“The dimensions of a brick make it so they can often slip through the jaws of our jaw crusher whole,” Costello says. “An impacter has better results when crushing brick.”
Importance of Color
“Color makes a difference,” Svoboda says. Eleven years ago when he started in business, he says he could not sell a yellow brick to save his life. Today, yellow Chicago brick is a viable commodity.
“Orange is a bad word,” he continues. But red-orange is OK in today’s market.
In a city like Detroit—where it seems they are tearing down half of the city—there is a hard, natural clay brick with rather homogenous color. Given that the supply is enormous and the coloring is not too interesting for projects, the brick is not very valuable.
Costello finds that dark red, waterstruck bricks are the most desirable. “Salmon-colored brick or inner-course backer bricks are not desirable and have a limited resale market,” he says.
“Anything that looks too homogenous will not sell,” Svoboda says. “You need a little variation in shade.”
Landscaping applications are a different story, however. “Individuals buying crushed brick for landscaping purposes are likely looking for uniform color, sizing and that there are no contaminants,” says Declercq.
Shipping brick is not a trivial concern when it comes to bricks. Keep in mind that a solid, hard, red brick will weigh more than other bricks—especially today’s bricks that are produced with hollow cores.
A buyer of bricks for reuse will be concerned about how well the brick will clean. That refers to removing the mortar that was used in construction to keep the bricks in place. A hard mortar is quite difficult to clean.
Whether lime- or cement-based mortar was used and the quality and color of the brick are major factors affecting reuse, according to Costello.
While he says cement-based mortar is extremely hard to clean from the brick, old lime mortars tend to fall apart as the building is knocked down.
Vintage Brick Salvage avoids painted brick, mainly because of the potential for lead contamination. That, however, does not mean the brick is totally unusable in some reclamation projects.
“Bricks from a building that was painted still have one good side,” Svoboda notes. Simply flipping them around will make them usable. However, for interior decorating use as tile, a painted brick is of little use. “I want to see two good sides on every brick,” Svoboda says in that case.
Other companies are looking at expanding into the market. “We are in the discussion stage right now,” says Colby Karr, operations manager at Silver Creek Materials (SCM), Fort Worth, Texas. SCM is a combined recycling and mining operation. Most of the material SCM handles is concrete, not brick, but Karr sees potential with bricks. “We see all of this raw material and think that there has to be a market out there,” he says.
“Unfortunately, a lot of stuff gets dumped,” Svoboda says. “Too much of it is wasted.”
Svoboda says 2014 should be a good year for bricks. “The market seems decent. Demand is not outstripping supply. Everything is about even,” he says.
Whatever the market, Costello says uniform color, lack of contaminants and uniform sizing are important for a marketable product.
The author is a freelance writer living in the Cleveland area. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since Construction & Demolition Recycling last published its list of asphalt shingle recyclers in 2011, some of the listed companies have backed away from the business or, unfortunately, are no longer in business at all.
However, other companies have spent the past two years solidifying or expanding their shingle processing operations and also have watched as new competitors have arrived on the scene in their geographic regions.
Comparisons between the accompanying list of asphalt shingle recyclers and the one that was published in 2011 reveal that some of the names have changed and the total number of shingle recycling locations has fallen in two years.
Some of the rising and falling fortunes of shingle recyclers vary by state and region, and some also are tied to wider overall economic trends.
Bill Turley, executive director of the Construction and Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), Aurora, Ill., says investments in shingle processing can still vary greatly from state to state.
“We have seen places in the country where shingle recyclers have done well but others where activity has tapered off,” says Turley, who was preparing for CDRA’s Asphalt Shingle Recycling Forum in Denver in early November 2013.
The single largest state in the U.S., California, is a long way from having the largest roster of shingle recyclers on the 2013 list. However, Turley says he believes the Golden State may soon see an increase in asphalt shingle recycling. “California is just starting to get a little more active, and the state is developing a spec [to use processed shingles in roadway applications]. I expect to see shingle processing do better there in the future,” Turley comments.
The existence of a recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) specification can help build momentum for the use of processed asphalt shingles by paving companies and the highway and streets departments who are reviewing project bids.
|Click the image above to see the full list of Shingle Recyclers|
While shingle recycling appears to have room to grow in California, in some other regions of the United States, processing capacity may have exceeded end-market demand.
A spokeswoman at one recycling company in Missouri that appeared on the 2011 Asphalt Shingle Recyclers list says her company no longer accepts shingles for processing. “We have a good sized stockpile and no one to sell them to,” she remarks.
“I’ve heard of places not taking more shingles in because they are full up,” agrees Turley. “It ebbs and flows.”
One of the hurdles asphalt shingle processors are facing involves competing with recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) as feedstock in asphalt hot-mix plants, Turley says.
“There are large piles of RAP around the country,” says Turley. He adds that contractors “have to get rid of that material, especially when it is generated on government projects.”
Thus, a paving contractor may remove and “mill up 100 percent of an old county roadway or state highway, but often the contractor only uses 10 to 20 percent on site,” says Turley.
Establishing specifications for RAS will remain a CDRA priority, according to Turley, who notes that the association maintains an information clearinghouse for advocates and champions of shingle recycling at its www.shinglerecycling.org website.
The website lists the following states as allowing up to 5 percent manufacturers’ scrap RAS to be used:
- New Jersey;
- North Carolina; and
Also, Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications allow for up to a “certain percentage of recycled material.” As well, Turley says the CDRA is promoting the use of RAS in highway base courses to expand the end market for processed shingles.
In most of the states where RAS has gained approval, state DOTs and paving contractors alike are more willing to use manufacturers’ shingle scrap rather than tear-off shingles. The primary fear with tear-off shingles continues to be the existence of roofing nails in the tear-off stream.
A Central Location
For nearly a decade, the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) has maintained the www.shinglerecycling.org website as a resource for those wanting to know more about the state of the recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) sector.
The website also includes a database of shingle recyclers and processors (searchable by state) as well as information on state department of transportation contacts and links to applicable research reports.
The website’s Environmental Regulations section also offers links to state regulatory contacts as well as a case study of how Commercial Recycling Systems of Scarborough, Maine, worked with state agencies to promote asphalt shingle recycling.
Summaries of research projects in two states, Minnesota and Missouri, also are hosted on the site. Each of these studies considered the viability of using tear-off shingles in recycling applications.
The CDRA’s Turley says responsible scrap shingle processors can overcome this perceived quality problem with one essential step. “That’s why God made magnets,” he quips regarding the removal of nails from the tear-off shingle stream.
“The good recyclers have learned how to clean up their material to the point where it meets the specification,” Turley continues. “We really don’t see a problem with nail contamination.”
More so than the processing limitations, Turley and the CDRA are concerned about “sham recyclers” who charge a tipping fee to collect asphalt shingles for recycling but then either fail to process the materials or begin to process them but never cultivate end markets. In either case, the full recycling loop is never closed, and an environmental hazard is created in the form of a stockpile.
One recent example of this occurred near Knoxville, Tenn., where in 2011 a company called Greenphalt Recycling set up shop to accept scrapped shingles.
According to the website of Knoxville TV station WBIR, www.wbir.com, the owners of that company “skipped town with thousands of dollars in [tip] fees and left a big mess behind.”
Subsequently, the city of Knoxville has contracted with Mark Hinton, owner of River Road Shingle Recycling, Louisville, Ky., to send in a crew to process the stockpile and market the resulting materials.
Hinton estimated some 28,000 cubic yards of shingles were abandoned at the site; but, according to WBIR, he has committed to grind through the entire amount and clear the site by the end of 2013. “By the end of this year, the site will be level and clear as if nothing was here,” he told the TV station.
Once the stockpile is clear, Hinton says he plans to maintain a presence in the Knoxville market as Knoxville Shingle Recycling, thus providing one of the new company names appearing on the 2013 version of the Asphalt Shingle Recyclers list.
The author is editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be contacted at email@example.com. Managing Editor Kristin Smith also helped assemble and verify information for the list.
Is our list incomplete?
If you work for or know of a company that processes asphalt shingles for recycling that is not on this list, please let us know. We will make sure to let our readers know about your company through an update printed in an upcoming issue. Please contact Editor Brian Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about our oversight.
|// Scrap Iron RMDAS
No. 1 Heavy Melt Steel Pricing
(Per Gross Ton for No. 1 HMS scrap)
// Stone and Aggregate Pricing
U.S. manufacturers used nearly 1.6 billion pounds of recycled glass to produce residential, commercial, industrial and air handling thermal and acoustical insulation in 2012. [Source: North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA)]