Ameresco, known for its specialization in energy efficiency and renewable energy, has teamed up with the City of Boulder, Colorado, to undertake an extraordinary sustainable deconstruction project. Together, their mission is to repurpose, reuse, and recycle more than 75% of the building materials from the former Boulder Community Health Hospital, breathing new life into the discarded materials and items for a variety of city projects.
As part of Boulder’s plan to divert a staggering 85% of its waste from landfills by 2025, Ameresco’s collaboration serves as an example of sustainable deconstruction. With the completion of the project imminent, it is expected to surpass the city’s initial goal and set new standards for resource conservation.
Ameresco’s Sustainable Deconstruction Plans
Progress is already underway on deconstructing the building. The hospital’s interior has been demolished, paving the way for the removal of concrete floors, steel, and exterior materials. Ameresco took an innovative approach by auctioning off items such as pumps, motors, doors, and fixtures, ensuring their reuse instead of contributing to landfill waste.
Now, in the final phase of deconstruction, the focus has shifted to reimagining the hospital’s structural steel for a new fire station, set to grace the cityscape by mid-2024. This process provides a demonstration of the circular economy in action and offers materials as substantial as steel and concrete a repurposed life.
Michele Crane, chief architect and facilities capital projects manager for Boulder, expressed her gratitude for Ameresco’s partnership, acknowledging the shared commitment to maximizing material reuse and advancing circular economy goals. Crane emphasized the importance of incorporating every opportunity for reuse, especially for elements like steel and concrete, whose production demands substantial energy.
This sustainable deconstruction project goes beyond its immediate benefits. It represents an alternative to traditional demolition methods, which often leave a lasting impact on the environment. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curbing energy waste, deconstruction aligns perfectly with Boulder’s zero waste and circular economy initiatives. These key principles have guided the project from its inception, shaping its planning phases and propelling the city toward its ambitious climate goals.
Ameresco’s Executive Vice President Lou Maltezos commended Boulder’s visionary leadership and expressed pride in the partnership that has laid the groundwork for innovative sustainability. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2023.