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Posted May 15, 2012

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Significant Percentage of Recycled Materials Used in Building APS Schools

A remarkable 92.6 percent of construction materials from “old” DNHS sent to recycle bin.

The new Del Norte High School will include more of the old Del Norte than meets the eye. 

Designed to meet at least a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification rating, a notable 92.6 percent of construction materials were recycled in building the 154,000-square-foot facility, leaving only 7.4 percent waste that will be sent to the landfill. 

“APS began recycling materials in 2009 when the district started focusing on building LEED,” said Karen Alarid, executive director of Facilities Design and Construction for APS. “While we’re aiming for at least a LEED Silver rating for all new construction, most projects have earned enough points for a Gold rating.” 

Diverted asphalt and concrete comprised most of the recycled materials used on the DNHS project. However, trash and debris, scrap metal and wood also were recycled. Because Del Norte is being rebuilt on an existing campus, a great deal of old asphalt and concrete can be recycled, and wooden delivery pallets and plastic wrap shipped with new materials can be used. Even seemingly small amounts of scrap metal add up and make a big contribution, according to Richard Miller, APS project manager for the Del Norte project. 

According to Lisa Logan of Green Ideas Sustainability Consultants and the LEED consultant on the Del Norte project, about 60-75 percent recycled materials is average for a LEED project, “so 92.6 percent is really impressive,” she said. 

Construction will continue at Del Norte and include a new industrial and fine arts building, kitchen and cafeteria, parking lot and roads when the full project is complete in summer 2014. 

To qualify for the LEED credit a project must recycle and/or salvage at least 50 percent of non-hazardous construction and demolition materials. APS projects have consistently delivered far greater percentages, and in the case of the Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary rebuild, 99.7 percent of materials were recycled. The project numbers were high enough to earn an exemplary point, largely due to the salvaged portable classrooms that averted the landfill. 

A few other noteworthy APS new construction recycled totals include 97 percent on the new fine arts center, school police facility and computer lab at Valley High School; 89.8 percent on the science addition at Grant Middle School; 86 percent on the kindergarten addition and new computer lab at A. Montoya Elementary; and 83 percent on nex+Gen Academy High School, the first constructed “new tech” high school in the nation.

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