SC&RA instituted the award to recognize a member company that has made outstanding contributions to environmental protection, and announced the winners during closing night ceremonies of its Annual Conference in San Diego, Calif., last month. “I am pleased to report the competition drew some very strong entries,” said SC&RA Chairman Bill Stramer. “In fact, in this first year, there were two members that were so strong in various policies, programs and practices that we elected to issue two awards.”
Buckner was recognized primarily because its new headquarters simultaneously serves as a vivid demonstration of material salvage and recycling, and as a showplace for the steel erector’s trade. Designers combed the company’s boneyard for components, including old crane parts, that could be incorporated into the project.
Ultimately, 83 tons of steel—more than 40 percent of all the steel in the building—came directly from Buckner’s yard. The completed project features reconditioned columns and girders for the exposed steel frame, reused corrugated metal deck to support roofs and floors, and salvaged curved wood glue-laminated roof beams, which were overlapped to create a clerestory.
The 15-ton pedestrian bridge that links the new and existing buildings was recovered from the University of North Carolina campus, where Buckner had first installed it 30 years before. And two pieces of 15-foot girder salvaged from Clemson University’s Littlejohn Coliseum form the walls of a new conference room, which cantilevers out the front to shelter the main entrance.
The sustainable building effort grew to embrace other environmental measures, including a chip-and-tar drive, storm water bio-retention pond, and new materials with high recycled content such as Galvalume roofing, linoleum flooring and low-flow toilet fixtures. Networked roof drains supply a 15,000-gallon water cistern, which recycles grey water for use in washing vehicles and irrigating landscaping features. The new clerestory faces south to introduce ample natural light, as well as sunshine and warmth, to conserve energy use.
Additionally, Buckner embraces progressive office and workshop recycling practices, aggressive fuel storage and hazardous-materials practices, a conversion to virtually paperless management, computer-controlled thermostats, programmable lighting and basic external landscaping with minimal water requirements.
Since 1995, Skanska has been a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. All Skanska offices worldwide are registered in compliance with ISO 14001, meeting the International Organization for Standardization’s criteria for environmental management systems. Skanska was the first construction company in the Americas to be ISO14001-registered.
Skanska was recently ranked the top global leader of green building by Construction Magazine. Skanska Senior Vice President Beth Heider has been elected as a future chair of the U.S. Building Council’s Board of Directors.
Skanska USA headquarters, located in the Empire State Building in New York City, reflects the company’s belief that its longstanding commitment to green building as demonstrated in its Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification “is not only the right thing to do, but it is good business.”
Skanska capitalizes on the abundance of natural daylight entering the space from large windows at the perimeter. Lighting and occupancy sensors have been installed throughout the workspaces in conjunction with a high-efficiency lighting system. The company uses light-emitting diode (LED) task lighting at each workstation, as well as motorized shades to reduce glare. Most of the space is cooled by a pressurized raised floor air-distribution system with an air diffuser near each workstation for individual controls. Heating comes from perimeter steam convection. Carbon dioxide sensors throughout the space maintain air quality.
The building maintenance team uses all green cleaning products and receives training on properly maintaining a waterless urinal. All equipment and appliances are Energy Star rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Because of these and other practices, management representatives from the Empire State building routinely tour Skanska USA offices to showcase the space and use it as a benchmark for future tenant space requirements.
Skanska also actively participates in EPA’s SmartWay program. The company offers $100 a month to employees who purchase, own, and drive a Certified Smartway Green Vehicle. However, Skanska purposely located its offices within walking distance of mass transportation hubs and encourages employees to use bicycles, even stationing some at offices for their use.
All diesel-powered vehicles (excavators, backhoes, cranes, compressors, generators, bulldozers, and more) are powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel, and use the latest in Best Available Technology for reducing emissions. All cranes uses diesel particulate filters with a silicon carbide center body to greatly reduce particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon. Each piece of equipment undergoes a monthly environmental audit to assure it is running at peak environmental performance.