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Vol. LXI, No. 4
February 20, 2009
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Building Deconstruction Earns NIH ‘Beyond Green’ Award

Bldg. 37 is shown “before” stage of debris removal Bldg. 37  after debris removal
Bldg. 36 is shown at left in its “before” stage of debris removal. The photo at right shows the site after careful deconstruction took place. The job won a “Beyond Green” award.

If you take care in crunching up old lab buildings, as NIH did with Bldg. 36 a year or so ago, you can get rewarded for it.

NIH’s Office of Research Facilities (ORF) was awarded the 2008 “Beyond Green” High-Performance Building Award by the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council for its careful “deconstruction” of Bldg. 36. In award-speak, the honor recognizes “work in integrating cost-effective methods to remove hazardous waste from other debris in laboratory renovation and demolition activities.”

Like many research and educational institutions, NIH has a large inventory of aging, obsolete laboratory facilities that now must be upgraded or replaced to meet new requirements. ORF regards its process for identifying, removing, separating and minimizing hazardous waste during renovation and deconstruction as necessary to meet new mandates for increased recycling of demolition debris. It is also good business practice to reduce environmental impacts.

The process also helps protect demolition workers and ensures that contaminants and hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead are eliminated or reduced to levels acceptable for the next use of a building, said ORF’s Ed Rau.

ORF’s procedures have been widely disseminated and are currently being adopted by several universities and government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency. They have also been included in new national standards for laboratory decommissioning published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American National Standards Institute.

NIH will be honored at a reception on Capitol Hill on Feb. 26 in conjunction with an educational briefing for lawmakers and the public.

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council is an independent, non-profit trade association in Washington, D.C., that seeks to improve the long-term performance and value of buildings through outreach, advocacy and education programs. NIHRecord Icon

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