UW biochemistry project ramps up recycling standards
J.H. Findorff & Son blew way past standard construction waste recycling rates on the University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry complex and, along the way, helped the state set new benchmarks.
A typical new project will have a 65 to 70 percent rate, said Ralph McCall of WasteCap Resource Solutions Inc., a Milwaukee nonprofit organization that specializes in waste recycling.
Findorff hit 97.15 percent.
The biochemistry job was one of five projects the state chose to help determine waste recycling standards. Findorff’s work helped the state decide it could require a 50 percent rate on its large projects going forward.
The $112 million project on the university’s Henry Mall is a mosaic of eras. First, a 1956 building and some 1985 construction came down.
Findorff then built a 146,000-square-foot, six-story research tower that connects to 1906 and 1985 structures, which were remodeled inside. Structures from 1912, 1937 and 1998 also remain.
The original recycling goal was 75 percent.
“There were a couple of unique features that Flad Architects worked into the project,” that helped boost the rate, said Findorff Project Manager Jason Mattila.
That included a gabion wall built of 9-inch stainless steel mesh baskets filled with recovered brick that complements adjacent brick walls. Gabion baskets are typically filled with rocks and used as retaining walls.
Stone toilet partitions turned into countertops, and stone tiles now serve as flooring in the new place. Clay tile on the new roof also is recycled.
The job diverted 27,164 tons of material from landfills. Waste Management’s single-sort containers carried the loads to the company’s C&D processing plant in Brown Deer.
“Findorff ran a tight operation,” said Lynn Morgan, Waste Management spokeswoman. “They did a great job of coaching and reminding their employees and the subcontractors to maximize recycling and letting people know exactly how and where to do it.”
The university considered demolishing the 1912 and 1937 portions but made the green decision to let them stand. The 1912 segment has historical value as the site of Biochemistry Professor Harry Steenbock’s pioneering Vitamin D research in the 1920s.
The university’s Biochemistry and Biomolecular Chemistry departments now inhabit the new space.
“This was a wonderful opportunity,” said Flad Architects’ David Black, lead designer on the project, “to bring expression to the intrigue and investigation that is so much a part of the research of these departments.”
— Mary Dorian