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Finding New Life for Old Building Materials

Release date: 03/05/2007

Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, smith.bonnie@epa.gov, 215-814-5543

Many companies want to use green practices, but they don’t always know how to do it or they think it’s too expensive. That’s not the case in Henrico County, Va.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working with the Forest City Commercial Group to recycle almost 85,000 tons of concrete and other debris from a former manufacturing site near Richmond that is slated to become a hotel and retail complex called the Shops at White Oak Village in eastern Henrico County.

“As a partner in both the cleanup and redevelopment of this former industrial site, EPA commends Forest City Commercial Group for its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “As they work to incorporate recycling and sustainable design into their project, their efforts will result in the conservation of natural resources, the reduction of greenhouse emissions, and an increase in energy savings.”

Demolition of the former Viasystems building began about seven weeks ago following an environmental investigation and selection of a remediation plan according to EPA guidelines. Nearly 85,000 tons of concrete and metal will be recycled.

“To put it into perspective, the recycling efforts at this site are providing energy savings that would be equivalent to removing 8,491 passenger cars from the road each year,” Welsh said. “Now that’s making an impact in reducing their environmental footprint.”

Approximately 77,000 tons of concrete will be crushed on site and used for foundation, sidewalks, and structural support for the retail complex. Almost 7,500 tons of aluminum, steel, iron, copper, assorted ferrous and non-ferrous metals and electronic equipment in the old building, such as filter boxes, computer systems and transformers will be recycled through reclamation buyers around the country.

Buildings account for one-sixth of the world’s fresh water withdrawals, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its material and energy flows. EPA encourages reuse and recycling of building materials to prolong our supply of natural resources and also to save money.


“Our company is dedicated to strategically and competitively balancing environmental resources, economic objectives and social systems in the operation of its business,” said Brendan Fisher, associate project developer. “As we build the center, we will not only be recycling materials from the property, we will also make every effort to utilize indigenous resources, use environmentally preferable materials, plan efficient energy systems and adhere to other Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines. We will also help educate our vendors and tenants in building green.”

For additional information visit:
· U.S. EPA Green Buildings: http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/
· EPA Waste Wise: http://www.epa.gov/wastewise/targeted/challenge/cbuild.htm
· U.S. Green Building Council: www.usgbc.org




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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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