Salvaged Materials Contribute to the Sustainability of the Materials Petal

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Salvaged Materials Contribute to the Sustainability of the Materials Petal

The Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA, is targeting both Living Building Challenge certification and LEED Platinum rating. The Living Building Challenge consists of seven performance areas, or “Petals” – Site, Water, Materials, Energy, Health, Equity and Beauty. The Materials Petal has been a large area of conversation for the Brock Environmental Center team during the Preconstruction phase of the project.

Petal Aims to Remove the Worst Offending Materials

Living Building Challenge strives to induce a successful materials economy that is non-toxic, transparent and socially equitable through the Materials Petal. The Petal has the following 5 imperatives that strive to make all materials in the built environment replenishable and have no negative impact on human and ecosystem health.

1. Red List – Living Building Challenge has identified materials and chemicals that cannot be used in any project. Some of these include asbestos, lead, mercury, PVC and others that have a negative impact on the environment and building occupants.

2. Embodied Carbon Footprint – The construction process emits carbon dioxide from the extraction of raw materials to the final manufacture of a project. It can include transport of products and workers, equipment use and even land disturbance. LBC requires that the project account for the total footprint through a one-time carbon offset tied to the project boundary. Therefore, an amount of land equal to the new development size has been set aside to be protected from future development in order to offset the carbon footprint created by the development of the Brock Environmental Center.

3. Responsible Industry – The project must advocate for sustainable resource extraction and fair labor practices. Raw materials that can be applied include stone and rock, metal, minerals and timber. However, the timber must be certified to the standards of Forest Stewardship Council 100% labeling and be from salvaged sources.

4. Appropriate Sourcing – The project must contribute to the expansion of a regional economy by incorporating place-based solutions. There is a list of restrictions for materials and services source locations based on distance from the project site.

5. Conservation + Reuse – The team must create a Material Conservation Management Plan to explain how the project optimized materials in the Design, Construction, Operation and End of Life Phases. This helps to reduce or eliminate the production of waste in order to conserve natural resources.

Salvaged Materials Being Incorporated into Brock Environmental Center

As a part of meeting the requirements for the Materials Petal, Hourigan Construction and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation spent an entire day salvaging materials from the HRSD’s old Corporate Administration Building that is being demolished. Among the salvaged materials were doors, hardware, cabinets, bathroom accessories and other applicable items.

Additional efforts to collect similar items and utilize them as salvaged materials were performed at the Lake Taylor Short Term Rehabilitation Facility in Norfolk, Virginia (courtesy of Virtexco Construction Company) and Dominion Virginia Power Administration Building in Norfolk, Virginia (courtesy of Dominion Virginia Power).

Salvaged Materials Contribute to the Sustainability of the Materials Petal Further, reclaimed wood from old oak trees from offsite, local sources will be used to make benches for the lobby area at the Brock Environmental Center.

Other materials that have been collected for incorporation into the design and construction include wall-mounted sinks, mop sinks, wall-mounted mirrors, soap dispensers, grab bars, toilet paper dispensers, fire extinguisher cabinets and ceramic tile.

With a long list of unusable “Red List” materials in the Materials Petal, this created a challenge for the Brock Environmental Center team. However, with much collaboration and planning, the team was able to incorporate appropriate alternate and renewable material selections into the design and acquire the above noted materials to contribute to the sustainability of the Center.

The salvaged materials collected and utilized in the Brock Center fulfill the LBC directive that the building’s carbon footprint must be reduced by minimizing the volume of new products that are designed, manufactured, delivered and installed into the building.

There are still salvaged items needed including champagne corks, bathroom mirrors, lockers, wooden barrels, reclaimed cypress for building siding, hardwood for building floors and more. To inquire about contributions to the salvaged materials, please e-mail

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