The NIH, through the Office of Research Facilities, was awarded the 2008 Beyond GreenTM High-Performance Building Award by the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) for its work in integrating cost-effective methods to remove hazardous waste from other debris in laboratory renovation and demolition activities.
“The wide application of our procedures outside NIH along with the use of helpful flowcharts and contaminant assessment checklists to guide the jury in understanding the difficult and technical nature of our decommissioning process contributed to the award selection,” said Captain Ed Rau, of the Environmental Protection Division, ORF.
Like many research and educational institutions, the NIH has a large inventory of aging, obsolete laboratory facilities that now must be upgraded or replaced to meet new mission and sustainability requirements. ORF sees its improved process for quickly and efficiently identifying, removing, separating and minimizing hazardous waste during renovation and deconstruction not only as necessary to meet new mandates for increased recycling of demolition debris, but a sound and conscientious business practice to both reduce environmental impacts and extend the useful life and value of our buildings. The process also helps to protect demolition workers and ensures that contaminants and intrinsic hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead previously used in construction of these older facilities are eliminated or reduced to levels acceptable for the next use of the building, Rau adds.
ORF’s best practices, checklists and flowcharts have been widely disseminated and are currently being adopted by several universities and government agencies including the U.S. EPA. They have also been included in the new national standard for laboratory decommissioning published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American National Standards Institute.
The NIH will receive their award at a reception on Capitol Hill on February 26 in conjunction with an educational briefing for lawmakers and the public.
The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) is an independent, non-profit trade association in Washington, DC that seeks to dramatically improve the long-term performance and value of buildings through outreach, advocacy and education programs.