Image credit: the NYC Department of Design and Construction
A high-performing building will limit the amount of waste generated by daily processes and renovations.
Recycling is mandatory in New York City. Property owners can achieve greater recycling compliance on the individual level by providing receptacles for each tenant as well as for common areas.
Owners have good reasons to consider recycled materials:
Recycled materials should be inspected for toxins which can cause indoor air quality issues. Furniture made from particleboard can sometimes contain volatile organic compounds. Materials previously exposed to the elements or located outdoors should be inspected for mold.
When purchasing materials for renovation, owners should consider environmental products. The EPA promotes "Reduce, reuse, recycle" as conservation measures. Buildings which reduce waste will likely enjoy greater savings.
Image credit: U.S. EPA
Efficient commercial buildings will reduce:
-Excess product ordering and product packaging
-Excess illumination and incandescent bulbs (See lighting)
-Use of toxic or abrasive cleaning materials
-Unnecessary finishes or painting
-Excess ventilation (See thermal comfort)
-Excess paper use (How to reduce paper consumption in the workplace.)
-Carbon emissions from vehicles and mechanical processes (More about carbon emissions)
Buildings have several opportunities to reuse materials.
-Using salvaged or refurbished materials from other buildings or salvage organizations
-Choosing modular or flexible office designs which can be broken down easily, transported or rearranged when necessary
-Choosing durable materials, thereby reducing disposal and replacement fees
-Reusing scrap paper in offices
Efficient buildings will recycle where possible.
-Recycle materials as required by law, including paper, bottles, plastic, paint and electronics (Learn about NYC recycling laws)
-When renovating, contract with licensed recycling haulers to confirm acceptable materials. (Learn how to arrange for refuse and recycling collection in NYC.)
-Where possible, choose materials made from biodegradable materials, renewable sources, and pre- and post-consumer waste. (More about environmental choices.)