Green Building News

Green Building News August 2006

August 15, 2006

USG Provides Gypsum and Ceiling Panel Recycling Options

USG Corporation announced that its gypsum recycling program partner, Gypsum Recycling America, LLC (GRA), has begun collecting new gypsum wallboard scrap, which will be recycled and reused in USG's wallboard manufacturing operations. USG also announced that it will collect and recycle customers' used ceiling panels as part of the company's new USG Ceiling Panel Recycling Program.

"With these two programs, we're helping to divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills and reusing it for wallboard and ceiling panel production, while also helping our customers and others lower their waste disposal fees," said David Wonndell, director, Environmental and Manufacturing Services at USG Corporation.

USG was the first wallboard manufacturer to contract with GRA's parent company, Gypsum Recycling International, to purchase reprocessed gypsum for the production of new wallboard. GRA's first facility, located in Cambridge, Mass., started collecting new-construction wallboard scrap in March. This fall, the scrap will be processed by a patented new mobile recycling machine. The machine then converts the material into a gypsum powder that USG will reuse in making new wallboard. Massachusetts was chosen as GRA's first site because of the state's strong interest in gypsum recycling.

USG has a long history of innovation and environmental excellence in its gypsum panel products. Its SHEETROCK® brand gypsum wallboard has been made using 100-percent recycled paper for more that 35 years and the company is the U.S.'s largest user of recaptured or synthetic gypsum, a byproduct of coal-fired utility plants' pollution control processes.

USG customers can now recycle pre-approved ceiling panels made by USG or other manufacturers and, once customers have a full truckload, USG will pay the way.

"Recycling of ceiling panels won't happen if it adds to the time and cost of a renovation. That's why we've designed our program to be fast, easy and economical, " said J. Mark Kemerling, USG's product marketing manager, Ceiling Panels. "In the same time it takes to haul small loads of panels to a Dumpster, workers can stack panels as they are removed, avoid landfill disposal costs and support a project's ability to earn U.S. Green Building Council LEED credits."

USG's Ceiling Panel Recycling Program accepts panels from the continental U.S. and areas of Canada, and is as simple as stacking, wrapping and calling for a ride. USG will reuse the recycled panels to manufacture new ceiling products. The company already recycles and reuses ceiling panels that are damaged during manufacturing. Many of U.S.'s ceiling panels also use recycled paper and contain mineral wool made of slag, a byproduct of steel production.

Customers interested in recycling ceiling panels should contact their local sales representative. New England-area businesses interested in recycling new gypsum wallboard scrap should contact

New Green Guidelines Announced for Insulation Materials

The EcoLogo(M) Program announces new environmental certification guidelines for the use of thermal insulation materials.

According to EcoLogo vice president, Kevin Gallagher, there are many types of thermal insulation materials and products on the market today. They are used chiefly in the construction of homes, offices, and other facilities to reduce the amount of energy necessary for heating and cooling.

However, the manufacture, use and disposal of these products can negatively affect the atmosphere. "Using recycled materials and less toxic ingredients and options will help decrease the amount of materials entering the waste stream, reduce total resource consumption and protect the environment," says Gallagher.

The new guidelines, referred to as CCD-016, as with all EcoLogo certification standards, are designed to help improve and/or maintain environmental quality by reducing energy and materials consumption. Among the companies that currently have products CCD-016 certified include:

Under the new guidelines, certification will be awarded to those manufacturers and products that demonstrate environmental leadership and meet requirements for:

  • Product performance
  • Reduced use of natural resources
  • Restricted use of ingredients contributing to specific impacts such as ozone depletion, global warming and ground-level smog formation
  • Elimination of toxic materials such as formaldehyde

"The building and construction industry is one of our primary focuses because so many different products are used to build facilities," says Gallagher. "The Greener the construction materials used, the healthier it is for building occupants and the smaller the impact on the environment."

For more information, contact EcoLogo.

Terminal A at Logan Airport Becomes World's First LEED®-Certified Airport Facility

The new Delta Air Lines’ Terminal ‘A’ at Logan International Airport in Boston, designed by HOK (Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum), has achieved an environmental milestone as the world's first air terminal to earn LEED® certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. 

Guided by Massport’s 2001 guidelines for sustainable construction at the airport, HOK, Delta and MassPort collaborated to create the first terminal to achieve LEED recognition, while also implementing new government-mandated security requirements that emerged from the events of September 11, 2001.

The facility maximizes sustainable building methods and technologies, overcoming the significant obstacles inherent in bringing “green” design to airports. To combat the accelerated heat island effect and stormwater runoff issues typically caused by impervious surfaces on runways, parking lots and large roofs areas, for example, Terminal A features a roofing membrane and paving designed to reflect heat from the building and special stormwater filtration devices to remove suspended solids and total phosphorous.    

Some of the project's other sustainable strategies include: water-efficient plumbing and irrigation; extensive daylighting and high-insulation glass; energy-efficient electric lighting; construction waste recycling; and the use of recycled, local materials. These approaches take on particular significance when considering the large scale of the facility, which encompasses more than 640,000 square feet. With 10 percent of all materials on the job coming from recycled sources and 75 percent of construction waste being reused, recycled or otherwise diverted from area landfills, the project has saved many thousands of tons of raw materials.

Terminal A is comprised of two structures: a 362,000-square-foot main terminal and a 284,000-square-foot satellite concourse, connected by an underground pedestrian moving walkway. The distinctive and contemporary HOK design clearly reflects the vision that has guided the Logan modernization program.

Designed to be a national model for passenger-friendly and environmentally responsible airport facilities, the terminal pays particular attention to indoor environmental quality. Daylight is a primary focus of the terminal’s design, striking a careful balance between the benefits of exterior light and undesirable glare. Special measures were taken to control construction contaminants from adversely affecting the indoor environment. Adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets were specified to have very limited or no volatile organic compounds.

The terminal also integrates the latest government-mandated screening systems, with 100 percent of outbound baggage screened and a single central passenger security checkpoint to reinforce clarity in passenger movement and to optimize security procedures.

Terminal A represents HOK's 10th project to earn LEED recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Muddy Boot Organic Festival - September 8-10

Held outdoors in Portland, Oregon, The Muddy Boot Festival is an organic celebration of nature and of the spirit. At this organic festival you can:

  • Learn about how you can live more sustainably
  • Taste local and healthy organic foods
  • Enjoy local music and good company
  • Sample organic beer
  • Catch the organic spirit!

On September 8th Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - author and environmental activist - will deliver the keynote speech,"Our Environmental Destiny". For more information go to

Solar Power 2006 Set to Showcase California Clean Tech Open Entrepreneurs Finalists - October 16-19

Finalists for the California Clean Tech Open’s Renewable Energy Prize will present their innovations at Solar Power 2006, the largest business-to-business solar conference and expo in the United States. The California Clean Tech Open finalists were selected by an elite panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, clean tech executives, and domain experts, and will compete for the nation’s largest cash and service prize devoted to environmentally-conscious technology development.
“Solar Power 2006 is a launching pad for innovation,” said Julia Judd, executive director of the Solar Electric Power Association. “With the California Clean Tech Open entrepreneurs in front of the leading companies in the solar industry, new business partnerships will form, the spirit of innovation will be fostered and sparks will fly.”
Presented by SEPA and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Solar Power 2006 will focus on new and innovative developments in the industry. Conference organizers expect more than 2,000 attendees representing the solar industry, customers and policymakers from throughout the US and around the world. The conference will take place from October 16-19th in San Jose, California.
The expo will feature more than 130 companies including module, inverter, and component manufacturers, distributors, installers, investors, architects and others involved in solar markets. More information on the conference is available at
“The California Clean Tech Open aims to create a real opportunity for entrepreneurs to bring clean tech innovations to market,” said Laurent Pacalin and Michael Santullo, co-chairmen of the competition. “Solar Power 2006 is the preeminent event in the commercial solar industry, and we can think of no better public forum for our best contestants in the Renewables category to showcase their plans.”

2006 Excellence in Building Conference & EXPO - October 10-12

The Energy & Environmental Building Association is bringing the 24th annual Excellence In Building Conference and Expo to the Williamsburg/Norfolk, VA area. The Conference offers educational sessions and exhibitors' product showcase.

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