College of Public Health Highlights
REcycling the rubble
Though dump trucks have been busy removing piles of debris from the demolition of the former International Center, not all that waste has gone to waste.
The demolition, which got underway in late July, is making way for the future College of Public Health Academic Building. As part of the University’s effort to attain LEED certification of the new public health facility, 75 percent of non-hazardous debris from demolition and construction will be diverted from the landfill and repurposed through recycling centers. LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, is a nationally accepted rating system for the design, construction, and operation of sustainable buildings. Recycling waste materials is one way to earn credits toward LEED certification. And, UI project managers point out, it’s simply the ‘right thing’ to do.
Prior to demolition, hazardous materials, such as asbestos and mercury-containing lighting fixtures, were abated. Salvageable parts of the International Center building were removed. The UI College of Law, which utilized the facility between 1935 and 1986, retained 1,000 clean bricks from that portion of the structure known as the Law Commons. The Friends of Historic Preservation in Iowa City saved arched windows and doorways, and decorative trim and hardware. Window air conditioners and water coolers were returned to the University.
Bricks, aluminum, copper, and steel were sorted onsite and sent to Action Recycle in Cedar Rapids, and concrete was sent to Action Recycle and S&G Recycle in Iowa City. Carpet, wood, and roof materials were analyzed for reuse but ultimately went to the landfill.
As construction continues, diverting recyclable waste will continue to be a priority as well as other sustainability practices.
“Project leaders at the College of Public Health have had many ideas and have been eager to implement various LEED principles,” said Ken Berzinski, vice president of Rohrbach Associates PC of Iowa City, one of the project’s architectural firms.