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Construction Waste Management Recap

by Chad Ludeman on March 26, 2010 · 4 comments

in 100k project,LEED

I’m not sure how we’ve forgotten to post on the Construction Waste Management done for LEED for Homes on the 100K House project? Let’s do a little recap here for all those interested. First we will briefly go over the LEED requirements and credits, and then we’ll take a look at the methods we used and the results.

LEED for Homes Waste Management Requirements

Prerequisites – Construction Waste Management Planning

  1. Investigate and document local options for waste diversion from landfills including cardboard packaging and beverage containers the end up on the site.
  2. Document the diversion rate for construction waste. Separate demo from new construction portions of a project if applicable.

Credits – Construction Waste Reduction

Reduce or divert waste from landfills to a level below the industry norm via either of the two options below:

  1. Reduce construction waste – Generate 2.5 pounds (0.016 cubic yards) or less of net waste per square foot of conditioned floor area. See chart below for score.
  2. Increase waste diversion – Divert 25% or more of the total materials taken off the construction site from landfills. See chart below for score.


100K House Construction Waste Management Results

We decided to go with the second method of verifying our diversion rate in order to gain our points in this section of LEED for Homes. It’s actually quite easy in Philly to do this thanks to a company conveniently named Construction Waste Management. All of the charts and pics that follow in this post are courtesy of CWM’s final report to us.

The beauty of this company and others like it across the country is that nothing changes on the site for the contractors. They deliver a standard dumpster to your site, you throw your trash it in like normal and they come take it away when it’s full. They then take the cans to an offsite location where they sort all of the material that can be recycled before sending off the remaining trash to the landfill. They even send you a lovely record of all of you dumpsters used per project which is exactly what the LEED folks are looking for in terms of verification for these points.

Here is our summary chart from Construction Waste Management:

This chart represents the aggregate total from three cans we used on the 100K House project. Since we diverted over 75% of our waste from landfils, we earned 2.5 points for this section in LEED. That’s just half a point from the maximum 3.0 points that can be earned for diverting over 88% of your waste. Not bad and I think a full point higher than we accounted for in our initial LEED checklist.

Construction Waste Management Images

To finish up this post, we thought you guys and gals might enjoy a more detailed look into the Construction Waste Management company’s operations. There are many similar companies sprouting up all over the country and their rates are often lower than traditional waste companies as they have an extra stream of income from selling the recycled materials they claim from construction sites. So it’s greener and cheaper! That looks nice in print.

Example of a dumpster being emptied for sorting offsite at CWM
Wood is sorted and made into mulch
Plastic is baled and sent to a recycling center
Steel is stockpiled and then shredded
Cardboard is recovered, baled and sent off to be recycled
Drywall scraps are pulverized

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris Russell March 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Out of curiosity, by what % did the cost change for the landfill diversion?

2 hassen March 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Nice post, Chad! So much great info. I was going to write about it on my blog at but this is much better than anything I could have written. Instead, I’ll send readers your way…


3 Mike March 29, 2010 at 11:02 am

Those are 2.5 hard-earned LEED points. Congratulations!

4 Kris December 11, 2010 at 4:46 am

Great post. Our project has had so little waste that we have chosen to process without a dumpster on site at all. We have sorted out all recyclables and sent them through our normal community recycling pickup. Most of the foam panel scraps have been used as filler insulation in various parts of the project. All wood waste has been repurposed or used as a heat source or chipped on site as mulch. The biggest waste source has been the tubes from the mastic, caulk and foam for doing the SIP panels and from the fast food wrappers from the subcontractors…LOL. Our steel roof was rolled out on site so there was almost zero waste. Our siding contractor freaked out when there was no dumpster so he ordered a 6 yard one. He only filled the bottom 4th of it and that included the big pallet from the materials which we ended up taking to use for firewood storage. We expect some sheet rock scraps but I plan to grind that up for garden use (keeps pests away from plants).

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