BlueOak Arkansas – LEED Silver!
Congratulations go out to BlueOak Arkansas, the nation’s first urban mining facility, on achieving LEED SILVER certification! BlueOak Arkansas’ newly certified LEED (Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design) SILVER facility is the first urban mining facility of its kind in the U.S. The facility will sustainably source high-valued metals such as gold, silver, copper and palladium from e-waste.
In 2014 2.5 million tons of electronics waste was deposited in landfills and increases every year making it the fastest growing waste stream worldwide. End-of-life electronics waste contributes to more than 70% of landfill toxic metals, contaminating lands and aquifers and are extremely valuable for their precious metals.
BlueOak Arkansas will begin the process of reducing this enormous waste stream while simultaneously reducing the need to harvest virgin precious metals, a process that is caustic to both the environment and the personnel involved with extraction and processing. The result will be refined gold, silver and palladium.
To achieve LEED certification and define their goals for sustainability, BlueOak Arkansas teamed with HLMS Sustainability Solutions, and its engineering arm Brandywine Consulting.
Being a first of its kind facility posed significant challenges in meeting LEED prerequisites and credits. Perhaps the most significant hurdle was implementing measures to improve energy efficiency. With no facility to compare to, HLMS Sustainability Solutions and Brandywine Consulting, worked closely with the U.S. Green Building Council and their rigorous protocols to establish a comparative baseline for energy modeling. Through several months of discussions, analyses, and energy modeling between BlueOak Arkansas’s engineers, strategies were realized and implemented. The BlueOak Arkansas facility achieved a dramatic 44% optimized energy performance.
Some of the other performance green building measures implemented through the expertise of HLMS Sustainability Solutions included 50% reduction in sewage conveyance, 40% reduction in water use, 95% construction waste diversion from landfill, 39% regionally sourced materials, and 30% recycled content materials.
To maintain and elevate sustainability measures BlueOak Arkansas adopted sustainable business practices. The company implemented polices to cover the purchase of environmentally preferable ongoing consumables and durable goods. To continue creating a positive indoor and outdoor environmental quality, a rigorous chemical-free integrated pest management program and building exterior and landscape maintenance policy are in place.