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Home Sweet (And Green) Home

Reducing waste materials and increasing recycling is a primary goal for any residential building community. K. Hovnanian and ESMG chose to "think green" from the ground up.

Other than changing the entire building process itself, the only way to significantly reduce waste output at a high volume construction site is to come up with an effective strategy for maintaining waste as it is generated.

An unfinished cul-de-sac was used as a temporary sorting/reclamation center for materials such as wood, concrete, cardboard and metal. This allowed subcontractors to sort their materials rather than throwing them out in debris roll-offs. Efforts to educate site workers on ordering and implementing materials resulted in less waste generated and less overall cost.

At the beginning of construction, 30 cubic yard roll-off containers were strategically placed throughout the site that were routinely checked for recyclable materials. These containers were covered at the end of each workday to discourage outside contamination from the surrounding neighborhood.

If waste was contaminating a marketable commodity (i.e. cardboard or wood,) it was traced back to the subcontractor. We suggested to K. Hovnanian a charge-back system to prevent further contamination which reduced repeat offenses significantly and workers paid more attention to how they were disposing of materials.

After types of waste wood to be generated from construction was determined, ESMG sought an end market that could take clean loads of pre-consumer wood scraps which was a leading contributor to waste on previous residential construction sites.

Once materials such as wood, metal, and cardboard were removed from the waste stream, debris containers could be packed more efficiently, resulting in less container pulls and lower disposal costs.

After project implementation, there was a 39% reduction in service requirements on average, a 14% reduction in average output of materials, and a 33% overall reduction in average monthly program expenses. As homes were completed, residents were encouraged to continue this landmark approach to conservation through to occupancy with state of the art single-stream recycling programs offered by the trash hauler and the local township.

Looking to build your own dream home sustainably? Send an email to and let's get the conversation started.

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