A dilapidated pre-Civil War Creole home in Treme built by one of the city’s first brass band leaders in the 1850s has been torn down to the chagrin of preservationists who’ve warned that the city is losing a chunk of its architectural and musical heritage in the rush to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
On Friday, wrecking crews demolished a two-story Creole cottage built by Charles Jaeger, a German immigrant who became a major band leader in New Orleans during the antebellum years and after the Civil War. Brass band music, considered a progenitor of jazz, became popular in New Orleans after the Civil War. Brass bands still play pivotal roles in New Orleans culture.
“Another historic music landmark bites the dust in New Orleans,” said Jack Stewart, a New Orleans music historian and preservationist.
The broken down and abandoned building was standing in the way of expansion plans for St. Peter Claver, a growing Roman Catholic church and school.
The Creole plantation-house style house, which had a gallery running around it, was in bad shape with one side buckling and its wooden frame was eaten up by termites and decay, contractors said. Despite its derelict state, preservationists and city officials had hoped to save the building. Those efforts did not pan out because of a lack of money and time.
“We knew we were working with a tough timeline from the beginning,” said Michelle Kimball of the Preservation Resource Center, a group whose mission is to save old buildings. “We explored every alternative: moving the house, deconstructing it, salvaging. We would have loved to have seen the building saved.”
She said it was one of the oldest buildings in Treme, a historic neighborhood where a society of free blacks flourished in the 1800s after the arrival of thousands of refugees from the Haitian Revolution. The house of Jaeger was located on North Roman Street in the upper portion of Treme.
Charles Chamberlain, museum historian for the Louisiana State Museum, said the building was a rare example of Creole architecture in the United States.
“Creole architecture is unique within the United States. It is a French style of architecture that is really indigenous to the lower Mississippi valley — and that’s it,” he said. “Any Creole architecture that we have should be preserved. Most Creole cottages are single story, and this is a two-story Creole cottage, which makes it extra cool in my opinion.”
Jaeger, a cornet player, moved to New Orleans in the 1840s and became a band leader. Stewart said he led several bands, including white, black and integrated groups. Jaeger died at age 52 in the early 1870s.
“He was almost like the official city brass band leader,” Stewart said. “He was an all-around musician.”
Since Katrina, numerous homes and music halls that incubated New Orleans’ musical art forms have disappeared in large part because of the city’s zeal to eliminate eyesores and tackle the longstanding problem of blighted property. After taking office in 2010, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he wanted to eliminate 10,000 blighted properties in three years.
But the effort has been criticized by preservationists for not taking enough care to preserve the city’s history. For example, the city unwittingly approved the demolition of the childhood home of jazz great Sidney Bechet in late 2010.
Since the 2005 storm, the city also has lost the Halfway House, a venue that had been turned into a pesticide business and later damaged by fire, the Gallo and Dixie theaters and the Naval Brigade Hall. The homes of several jazz musicians — including Louis Nelson, Willie Guitar, Ed Garland, Danny Barker and Buddy Bolden — have been torn down or fallen into disrepair since Katrina.
New Orleans has a long track record of tearing down historic buildings associated with jazz. The most glaring example was the demolition of Louis Armstrong’s childhood home on Jane Alley in the 1960s to make way for the city’s prison.
Today’s poopy diaper, tomorrow’s recycled roof shingle
Recycling company Knowaste plans to open 5 factories in the U.K. that will transform used diapers, incontinence and feminine hygiene products into green home building materials such as shingles and siding.
Singapore’s National Environment Agency says it’s a waste not to use more waste in building materials. Photo: renewcanada.net
Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) is urging the local construction industry to use more recycled and waste materials as building material, which can come from existing buildings set to be demolished as well as other sources.
Speaking to Eco-Business on the sidelines of the International Green Building Conference (IGBC), NEA’s manager of waste and resources management, Carrie Wong, said the agency has been discussing how to promote the use of recycled and waste materials with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and other agencies.
“We are also looking at other materials such as copper slag, which is generated from the marine industry, as well as incineration ash to see how we can make use of it as construction material,” said Ms Wong. Currently, some of the industry players are practicing similar innovation but Ms Wong is hoping for waste materials to feature in more aspects of construction and play a bigger role in new buildings.
However, some experts point out, changing the mindsets of Singaporeans who may frown on living or working in a building made out of waste materials might be a challenge.
But the NEA says it is hoping that with further education and awareness, more people will be receptive to the idea.
“Singaporeans are becoming more well-traveled and if such practices have been accepted overseas, maybe we have a chance,” noted Ms Wong.
However, executive director of Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS), Yvonne Soh, believes more legislation might be needed to push the idea forward.
“Legislation provides a level-playing field, so you can compete on equal ground with natural materials,” said Ms Soh.
She observed that some developers in Singapore are already using more waste and recycled materials for construction but that they don’t readily publicise this as they are careful when it comes to their branding.
So, while developers are wary of making it known that they are using recycled materials, they are well aware of the cost benefits.
And these are huge savings, according to scientific director Dirk Hebel of the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, who said that using waste materials could lead to a 90 per cent savings in the Ethiopian construction sector. And he believes such savings are possible elsewhere too.
“Singapore has a long history of making sure affordable housing is available for the people. If we can construct cheaper houses here in Singapore, there would be more benefits for residents, such as cheaper rents, and housing prices could potentially drop as well. And maybe there could be a better living experience,” he added.
Mr Hebel will be joining a new Singapore-Swiss research facility called the Future Cities Laboratory. It will conduct studies on sustainable urban development. This relates to how modern city structures can be environmentally sustainable as well as cost efficient.
He also firmly believes that a country should try to use as much local material as possible rather than relying on imports when it comes to construction purposes.
Even for a country like Singapore which depends vastly on imported materials for construction, Mr Hebel said research holds the key for solutions.
“Could we for example think of a new concrete mix which in the end does not contain cement any more, but maybe contains more ash from the burning of waste and rubbish here in Singapore? We could also perhaps come up with a new type of concrete that doesn’t need steel – but we can maybe reinforce concrete using bamboo technology instead, which is cheaper.”
Experts on the closing day of the IGBC in Singapore agreed that innovative research ideas such as these, coupled with legislation and education, is indeed the way to go for the proper use of waste materials in the construction sector.
Eco-Business.com’s coverage of the International Green Building Conference 2011 is brought to you by City Developments Limited.
For other news from Singapore Green Building Week, including the International Green Building Conference 2011 and Bex Asia 2011, click here.
Firefighters work to smother a blaze at the landfill.
PIGEON FORGE — A fire Friday evening at the landfill on Ridge Road spread quickly over a couple acres of construction and demolition waste, but fortunately never threatened structures or surrounding woods.With the help of a bulldozer operated by a Sevier Solid Waste employee, crews from five fire departments were able to quickly knock the blaze down, leaving a large cloud of thick smoke the only problem. In dealing with that, Emergency Management Director John Mathews issued his first reverse 911, a system that calls people in the area of an emergency to give them warning.”My main concern out of all of this is the smoke,” Pigeon Forge Fire Department Chief Tony Watson said. “Its not something we want spreading, since weve got those construction materials burning in there, so weve got to control it.”While neither Watson nor Mathews expected the haze to cause serious environmental or health problems, they wanted to issue a warning for residents who live near the landfill out of “an abundance of caution,” Watson said.
Reusing, and Diversifying
Upcycling can be a boon to existing businesses as well. For Hammer & Hand, a Portland, Ore., design-build construction firm, upcycling became a jobs-saving revenue stream during the recession. It began a decade ago, when co-founder and president Sam Hagerman quit using dumpsters.
“I was writing the garbage man a $10,000 check every month, and I realized that could support a living wage and a half,” he says. So he bought a truck and started an in-house recycling system in the yard of the office building (which boasts flooring made from recycled bleacher seats).
From then on, Hagerman took reusable parts from construction sites–framing components, light fixtures, appliances and lumber. “I realized we could get a beautiful pile of lumber for free,” he says, “and turn around and add value to it.”
When the construction industry got a walloping in 2008, Hagerman weathered the downturn by entering the upcycled furniture market, along with the home energy and the handyman business. “We saved the jobs of 40 people,” he says. “We got creative by necessity, but we changed our business because it also makes financial sense.”
If there is a downside to upcycling, Hagerman says, it’s the inefficiencies related to organizing, moving and storing the supply. Regardless of how cheap any reclaimed materials are, they can represent a huge waste of energy and time if you don’t already have a purpose in mind when you take possession of them. Plus, there’s the danger of running out. “You can’t develop a line of something, because there’s no guaranteed way to get more of the material,” he says.
In addition to the economics of construction and demolition (C&D) materials recycling having improved, state legislation and local ordinances also have driven more C&D recycling. That was part of the message from panelists at a session on C&D recycling at Wastecon, the annual convention of SWANA (the Solid Waste Association of North America).
Speaker Richard Ludt of Interior Removal Specialist Inc. (IRS), South Gate, Calif., noted how a number of ordinances enacted in Southern California have affected C&D scrap diversion flows in his market region.
Reacting to California Assembly Bill 939, which was passed in 1989 with the goal of increasing landfill diversion to 50 percent, municipalities enacted a variety of ordinances affecting C&D materials, Ludt said.
Ludt said some communities have required contractors to pay a deposit that will not be returned until their project is finished and they can prove they reached a specified landfill diversion or recycling rate. Such arrangements were not always well received by contractors and also tended to create extensive recordkeeping and accounting systems for the municipalities.
Ludt praised the city of Los Angeles for creating “possibly the simplest C&D ordinance I have seen.” In Los Angeles, C&D materials must be taken to certified facilities that have been audited and approved by the city. “They reach their desired recycling percentage by permitting [facilities] carefully,” said Ludt. “Builders like it because there is no deposit and city staff like it because there is no tracking of deposit payments.”
Speaker Miriam Zimms of Kessler Consulting Inc., Tampa, Fla., provided an overview of C&D recycling in several regions where municipalities or solid waste districts have tried approaches to spur recycling.
In King County, Wash., Zimms said agencies there are providing considerable technical support, have streamlined the permitting process and offer grants tied to “green building” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects. These initiatives have been enough to boost the C&D materials landfill diversion rate to 83 percent in King County, according to Zimms.
Metro Portland, Ore., is another region where LEED projects are abundant, and in fact new Metro Portland government buildings are required to seek LEED certification, said Zimms. Builders in the region are mandated to recycle 75 percent of their scrap materials, although Zimms said only 45 percent of projects may be in compliance with this mandate.
In her home state of Florida, Zimms said C&D recycling has grown to the point where there are now more than 120 C&D recycling facilities in the Sunshine State, although Florida’s overall C&D materials diversion percentage may be no greater than about 27 percent.
Wastecon 2011 was Aug. 23-25 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.
Heavy machinery for Stark Excavating dug into the basement area of the former Sheean Library at Illinois Wesleyan University, Tuesday, August 16, 2011. Materials from the demolition are being recycled. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)
In razing its old library, Illinois Wesleyan University didn’t just send a bunch of crumbled rock to a landfill. Most building materials were salvaged for reuse and some, in fact, will play a part in the university’s future.
Stark Excavating crews, handling the demolition of the former Sheean Library, have spent July and August separating metals and concrete masonry as they knock down the sturdy 45-year-old structure.
Much of the crushed concrete will create a “lay-down yard” for a new classroom building, creating a graveled space for equipment storage and other uses.
A construction date for the new building won’t be set until fund-raising is complete.
“Almost none of (Sheean) goes into the garbage,” said Stark spokesman Garry Moore, explaining it’s become the norm in the past two decades to try to recycle materials in commercial demolitions. “Recycling is really something our whole society needs to be doing.”
Illinois Wesleyan leaders agree, and say the project is an application of the school’s sustainability
focus. Sheean closed when Ames Library opened in January 2002.
“It’s just good practice. It’s a common courtesy anymore to recycle,” said IWU physical plant director Bud Jorgenson. “The easy way out would be to just throw it all away. But that’s not right.”
Culling mercury, glass
Other materials, such as fluorescent lamps, are sent to specialists who cull reusable mercury and glass, Jorgenson said.
Recycling Sheean’s building materials helps IWU meet construction standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, he said.
Most of Sheean’s recycled materials will come from the building’s concrete masonry and bricks. Stark uses a giant jackhammer on a backhoe to crush concrete; a grapple device can pinch materials and then crush those, too, said Moore.
Recycling is not just good for the environment, it’s also economical. “It would cost Illinois Wesleyan to dump, and that’s expensive,” said Moore, who said transportation adds to the cost.
Boston-based architects Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott designed the new building, which will house tech-savvy classrooms, resource rooms, study areas and faculty offices for business administration and economics departments.
Shepley Bulfinch also designed the $25.7 million Ames Library and the $7.1 million Hansen Student Center renovation.
This is a long but insightful article on an illegal waste facility and a NJ legal system that failed to do anything about it for the last 20 years. Citizens are uninformed and unaware of regulations for waste and waste haulers all over the country. Here at the RA we will be starting a project to help change how people (don’t) see C&D waste. It’s called the Drop Box Brigade, and we hope something as simple as a picture will inspire community involvement in C&D waste disposal. Ironically, the waste hauler is called “Magic Disposal”. Not so ironically, I was born about twenty miles from this site.
By WALLACE McKELVEY Staff Writer |
Atlantic County is seeking a court ruling to stop an Egg Harbor Township waste hauler from operating an alleged illegal solid waste facility off the Black Horse Pike.
A complaint filed last month accuses Steven Waszen, who operated Magic Disposal until January 2010, of dumping solid waste and hazardous materials, including asbestos, and maintaining a public health nuisance at the property he owns at 2520 Tremont Ave. in the Cardiff section of the township.
On May 20, a county Division of Public Health inspection revealed 99 solid waste containers, two of which contained asbestos; an estimated two yards of construction and demolition debris; a 10-foot-high pile of scrap tires; leachate — or liquid discharge — forming puddles on the ground; and a trash compactor truck emitting “foul odors and draining foul leachate onto the ground” at the site.
When inspectors returned July 14, they reported finding 106 solid waste containers and a “very strong odor” of garbage. The asbestos material, leachate and scrap tires remained on the property, while the trash compactor had been removed.
This is not the first time Waszen has been connected to such allegations.
In 2007, the state Department of Environmental Protection imposed a $700,000 fine — which, according to the DEP, has never been paid — against the company for violations at its now-closed Ridge Avenue facility, which Waszen operated from 1996 to 2005. Two years later, the department banned Waszen from the solid waste industry and revoked Magic Disposal’s certificate to operate a solid waste facility, or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.
After protracted legal battles, both decisions were upheld by state Superior Court.
In December, the DEP also excluded Waszen and Magic Disposal from most recycling activities in the state, a decision DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said has not been appealed.
Waszen could not be reached for comment. Attorneys who have represented Waszen in the past declined to comment or did not respond to messages.
Officials at the local, county and state level say it is difficult to prosecute Waszen or to enforce the judgments that have already been made.
“He gets fined, then there’s a court order we’ve got to collect and, if he doesn’t pay, we’re back in court again,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said.
Magic Disposal also owes Egg Harbor Township more than $4.3 million in fines for failing to obtain building permits for a garage at its Ridge Avenue complex.
Although technically that figure has continued to grow in the absence of payment, Township Administrator Peter Miller said building officials stopped calculating the fines in 2010. Miller said the legal costs to bring Waszen to court would be greater than the partial amount a judge would likely award the township.
With the Ridge Avenue facility closed and the county now prosecuting Waszen for his Tremont Avenue facility, Miller said the point is moot.
“Their issue is more significant than ours over whether he got the proper permit in a timely fashion,” he said.
Levinson said it is frustrating that the county and the DEP’s enforcement efforts are constantly hampered by court appeals.
“We do what the law allows us to do,” he said. “If what we’re doing isn’t sufficient, then that’s up to the state Legislature to make laws that will allow us to proceed in a more timely fashion.”
Rick Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, said Magic Disposal has been a well-known problem operator for 20 years. It’s one of the few remaining companies that makes skirting the law a “consistent method of operation,” he said.
“I just know if ACUA or any other public entity were to do that, we would be noticed and fined appropriately, and quickly,” he said.
One issue, Dovey said, is that most people aren’t familiar with the regulations for waste haulers.
“Most businesses don’t even know they’re supposed to be licensed,” he said. “If somebody has a trash truck and says, ‘This is how much I’ll charge you,’ they won’t ask to see your license.”
The county’s action came as a surprise to most of the Tremont Avenue facility’s neighbors.
Dan Wilhelm, 55, who lives behind the facility on Windsor Drive, said he has not heard or smelled anything from the site since the owners erected a mound of dirt, which acts as a sound barrier, nearly a decade ago. Before then, there was a near-constant odor emanating from the lot and regular truck traffic.
If the owner has continued dumping on the site, Wilhelm said, he’s glad the county has stepped forward to prosecute.
“They got to stay on that stuff — not just him, but all of them,” he said.
Aside from the occasional smell, especially during the summer, neighbor Eliezer Echevarria, 52, said he has not had any recent problems with Waszen. “If you came here 18 years ago, it’d be a different story,” he said.
The Ridge Avenue facility, which is not subject to the complaint, is similarly quiet.
Neighbor Calvin Tureaud, 54, said there has been little activity for about two years. Gone is the stench of decay wafting in the breeze and the armada of trash trucks before 5 a.m., he said.
The legal system worked for his neighborhood, at least, Tureaud said.
“We had to put up with it for years and years until the neighbors got together and said ‘enough is enough,’” he said. “We had to go to Town Hall and to the freeholders and board meetings, but it finally worked.”
When the facility did close, Tureaud said it happened nearly overnight.
“Nobody notified us first. They just started to pack up,” he said.
Contact Wallace McKelvey:
The Benefits of Being Waste-Wise
By Chuck Herb
Client demands and regulatory pressures continue to drive improvements in diversion and recycling rates. Partly because of growing ecological concerns and less-than-ideal economic conditions, the cry for sustainable growth and fiscal responsibility has permanently impacted the way construction-related businesses approach waste management.
The Future of Waste Disposal
A recent report released by McGraw-Hill Construction revealed 61 percent of construction contractors rate waste management plans as the second most important aspect of green building, behind energy efficiency. The United States generated 143.5 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris in 2008 alone, but only 28 percent (40.2 million tons) was reused, recycled or sent to waste-energy facilities. The study shows contractors are beginning to recognize the substantial impact sustainable construction waste management can have on their businesses, and a growing number are adopting practices to reduce contributions to landfills.
LEED also is driving this new sense of environmental stewardship. According to a GreenBiz Group study, LEED buildings have recycled or reused nearly 25 million tons of waste so far. These figures are expected to mushroom to more than 400 million tons by 2020 and 780 million tons by 2030.
By 2013, McGraw-Hill Construction predicts the green building market will represent 25 percent of all new construction projects by value, equating to a $140 million market. This rapidly growing green share presents extensive opportunities for waste management. Companies at the forefront of the sustainability movement are actively looking for ways to reduce, recycle and reuse materials—leading to decreased costs, increased customer satisfaction and compliance with new government regulations.
With only 28 percent of construction and demolition waste being recycled, there’s a lot of room for improvement—especially because the majority of this waste can be recycled, reused onsite or salvaged for reuse elsewhere. In the past, it was difficult to get contractors to recycle, especially where landfill rates were low, because they didn’t have many cost-effective options. Today, that scenario has changed.
In most cases, the cost of recycling is lower than the cost of throwing materials away. When these costs are spread across an entire construction project, the savings can amount to thousands (and often tens of thousands) of dollars. If recycling costs more than waste disposal, many will choose not to recycle. But if it’s cost-competitive or less expensive, it will be considered as a practical part of every job.
Additionally, because millions of tons of construction and demolition materials are unnecessarily disposed of in landfills throughout the country every year, rebate programs are providing a financial incentive for builders to recycle debris. These programs are designed to encourage contractors to have their mixed-materials waste (e.g., wood and metals) hauled to designated material-recovery facilities, where they’re given a per-ton discount on each ton delivered.
Not only does recycling reduce waste disposal costs and material expenses, but it also helps project teams earn points toward qualifying for LEED and other green building certification programs. The more experience contractors gain in waste prevention and recycling, the better chance they have of attracting the growing number of potential clients interested in participating in LEED and other green building certification programs.
Additionally, recycling gives contractors the option to declare a tax deduction when they donate reusable building materials to a nonprofit organization. And, it lessens the environmental impact of buildings by:
reducing depletion of natural resources such as trees, oil and minerals;
reducing manufacturing and transportation-related emissions and pollution;
using less energy and water compared to many virgin material product manufacturing processes; and
decreasing greenhouse gasses by using less energy for manufacturing and transportation.
Many construction industry professionals agree recycling is one of the most visible steps that can be taken toward sustainable building. Unlike energy-efficient HVAC or certified forest products, it is something many people understand, and this awareness can generate teamwork and motivation among workers on jobsites.
Customer requirements have changed and recycling has evolved into something that carries more weight among builders. If contractors can turn recycling into a shared vision that heightens camaraderie and teamwork, they—and the communities in which they build—can derive benefits that go far beyond a rebate or reduced haul rate.
Chuck Herb is co-owner of Sunshine Recycling, Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit www.dumpsters-orlando.com.
The course, entitled ‘Green Building: Construction Administration’ taught employees from Heritage Disposal how proper planning in the pre-phase stage can help identify materials that can be recycled or salvaged before they’re taken to a landfill.
“Construction and demolition waste accounts for as much as 30% of all waste in our landfills so we’re trying to reduce, salvage and recycle as much as we can. Sometimes all we need to do is a simple sorting before dumping the waste materials off at the landfill. It’s an extra step we’re happy to take and our customers are pleased knowing that we do everything we can to reduce the amount of waste in our landfills,” said Don Mulder of Heritage Disposal, LLC (http://www.heritagedisposal.com/).
This is an unusual post for the RA seeing how we focus on the reuse of existing building materials. Being from South Jersey, I know it is important to support any business that is recycling and reusing materials (even if it is there own manufacturing waste material). The culture of reuse is not as strong in New Jersey as it is in other areas of the country. Which is a shame since it contains very unique wilderness and is so darn pretty in places!
I appreciate the effort of Manning Mills tremendously. Thanks!
Last year, Mannington’s two biggest factories – the one in South Jersey and one in Calhoun, Ga., used 190 pounds of recycled material in their products for every 100 pounds of waste generated through their manufacturing.
Wayne Stocks, Habitat’s lead person on the project, said Cascade initially invited Habitat in just to cherry pick items from the site, such as fixtures, cabinets and doors. But an offer was made and accepted to deconstruct the buildings as well.
“It’s a really neat deal,” Stocks said. “I haven’t really heard of any other large companies thinking that green.”
Stocks hopes to limit waste for the landfill to a single large truckload. “Everything else will be reused, resold or recycled,” he said.
“That’s a huge savings to the environment,” he said. “Cascade Steel is really thinking out of the box here.”
The Plymouth County Landfill has taken recycling a step further than any other landfill in Iowa.
It is the first in the state to have a Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling program, said Mark Kunkel, landfill manager.
Since starting in January, about 130 tons of asphalt shingles, wood without paint or stain, concrete and metal have been removed from the C&D area of the landfill, he said.
“That was sorted out. It will not be buried,” Kunkel added. “It was all recycled.”