Recycling Challenge: Construction Waste


Building-related construction and demolition waste totals approximately 170 million tons per year, roughly two-thirds of all non-industrial solid waste generation in the U.S.


Total annual construction and demolition waste (“C&D waste” in the biz) equates to 3.2 pounds of building-related materials per person in the U.S., per day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 52 percent of this ends up in a landfill. Sources of building-related C&D debris in the waste stream include demolition (approximately 48 percent of the annual waste stream), renovation (44 percent) and new construction (8 percent). It is economically viable to recycle the majority of this waste, as the cost to transport and dispose of C&D waste can be more than 2 percent of a project’s cost.

Read More

Energy: Cooler Heads

For energy savings, cool roofs are a no-brainer 
by Samantha Wittchen

The roof is no longer on fire. First there was the Mayor’s “Coolest Block” Contest, offering Philadelphians the chance to win an energy-saving cool roof and other energy efficiency upgrades from the city for every house on their block. Then there was City Council’s Earth Day passage of Councilman Jim Kenney’s legislation requiring reflective (cool) roofs on all new commercial and residential low-slope roofs.
Read More

Cover Story: Second Life

A recently-renovated Glenside home showcases salvage's potentialWhen her family moved from Paoli to Glenside, Fran Crotty knew she wanted to do a green remodel using as much salvaged material as possible. It was also essential that the renovation blend in with the historic character of the home.  

Read More

Design: Dyeing for Reuse

Old factories and warehouses get a green retrofit
by Christopher Wink

For five generations and 140 years, the Globe Dye Works dyed and wound yarn, and employed hundreds at its peak. In 2005, unable to continue fighting the globalization and outsourcing that moved other businesses, Globe closed, ending another vestige of Philadelphia’s past as the Workshop of the World.
Read More

Transitioning Town

North Philly changes before our eyes
by Will Dean with additional reporting by Dana Henry

When you think about a sustainable city, what does it look like? Whether it’s a futuristic, shiny sci-fi wonderland or a green treehouse-like Ewok village, you probably don’t think of North Philly. With it’s abandoned industrial buildings and bad reputation for drugs and crime, it doesn’t seem like the place where a bright new future full of efficient gadgets and green spaces will emerge. That kind of thinking is a barrier, though, because it’s exactly in those kinds of places that local sustainability can emerge, and on February 4 the Fishtown, East Kensington and Old Richmond sections of North Philly made a step towards becoming the most sustainable section of the city, and perhaps even the country.
Read More