Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Recycles 90% of the Hamilton Building; Saving Materials from the Landfill and Giving Them New Life

November 07, 2002
Sharyn Wisniewski, County Executive’s office, 267-8823 Sherrie Gruder, UW-Extension, 262-0398 Rob Nebel, Dane County Construction Manager, 267-0119
County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk made it a priority to have the planned new County Justice Center meet environmental and recycling standards to be a green building. Today she held a press conference to give reporters a look at the loads of materials that are being recycled from the six-story Hamilton Place office building that is being dismantled to make way for construction of the new courthouse. The building, at the corner of West Wilson and Hamilton Streets, will start to come down next week. The outside of the building, most of which is concrete, will be crushed for recycling into road base. “This is the single most comprehensive building project Dane County has undertaken to conserve resources and energy and keep valuable materials out of our landfill. In doing so, we’re using the materials, saving money, and extending the life of our landfill,” said County Executive Falk. One of the biggest savings is the disposal costs or tipping fees at the landfill for all the tonnage, combined with the hauling costs. “Working with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and our public works department, we are insuring that more than 90% of the items from this building are either reused or recycled,” said Falk. Dane County is working with UW-Extension’s Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center, which has provided technical assistance to County staff on implementing the waste reduction effort. Much of the material will be used in other County buildings. The County identified a broad range of items, including 99 doors, molding and carpeting to freon from the chillers, exit signs, sinks and bushes that they could reuse in other county buildings. As an example of the savings, to purchase one double door frame and door assembly, plus hardware can cost $800. “The zoo was the biggest recipient of these building materials, gaining glass doors, carpeting, water fountains, and light fixtures,” said Rob Nebel, the County project manager. “Relocation costs were minimized moving the County’s Veterans Services office from the Hamilton Building to the Alliant Energy Center, because we were able to reuse materials from Hamilton Place to build out the majority of their new office space.” Jim Hubing, director of the Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo, said, “The items we received are a real value for the zoo. At this time of tight budgets, we could not have acquired these items, and certainly not of this quality.” Other reusable items will be put to further service at the Lussier Family Heritage Center in Lake Farms Park, the Huber Center, Badger Prairie Health Care Center, the detox center and half a dozen other county facilities. In addition, Dane County is recycling 80 cubic yards of carpet as part of a national carpet recycling initiative, as well as 43 pallets (a semi load) of ceiling tiles, 16 barrels of florescent bulbs and all metal items. “By networking within the County’s own facilities, being creative and deconstructing rather than simply demolishing, Dane County will achieve one of the highest levels of reuse and recycling on a building project nationally,” said Sherrie Gruder, Sustainable Design Specialist with UW-Extension. “The County can use the skills gained on this project on all future building projects, and they are serving as a role model for sustainable building practices by government in Wisconsin,” added Gruder. Currently, 45% of what goes to landfills from Dane County is construction and demolition waste. “Keeping these building materials that still have value from being wasted will allow us to extend the life of the landfill,” said County Executive Falk. The new courthouse has been designed according to the national green building standard to be energy efficient, have healthy indoor air quality and to conserve water and resources. The former Risser law office building, also located at the construction site, was removed from the site whole by a private individual, and is being reused in another location. Construction of the new Dane County Justice Center will begin in February 2003 and is scheduled for completion December 2004. ###