Upward Construction Earns Innovation Points on Waste Management
In West Vancouver, hillsides are made of solid rock, so excavation is at times a necessary task for builders that can be both environmentally and financially taxing. On a recent project, Upward Construction tried something new that would result in a substantial reduction in fossil fuels and heavy trucks on the road—along with savings. They would successfully submit this practice for Innovation Points through the BUILT GREEN® home certification program.
With these points, Built Green Canada encourages innovative sustainable building practices above and beyond what is contained within its programs—its in part, what keeps our programs progressive, as we recognize that those on the ground doing the work are often the ones learning and finding new ways of doing things. Based on the significance, improvement, and measurability of the innovative practice, the organization’s Technical Standards Committee considers it for points that go towards the project’s certification level. Submissions may also be considered for adoption into the following year’s program checklist.
Upward Construction offers custom homes, multi-family homes, and renovations in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Vancouver Proper. For this project located in West Van, they had to blast into the hillside, and then large pieces of rock were hauled to a dump site 50 km away (and up to 120 km away); however, this time around, Upward had their contracted excavation company bring in a rock crusher to be set up just 1 km up the road from their project. The device is attached to the arm of the excavator and allows them to crush these large pieces into gravel—switching between a shovel, hammer, and crusher, and requiring just one crew member.
Meanwhile, this sustainable solution was of benefit to not only Upward Construction but to other builders in the community who were able to utilize the crushing site with their own excavation waste.
While necessary, these trucks are loud and contribute to air pollution. By employing the crusher near the construction site, Upward Construction was able to greatly reduce the number of large, heavy trucks on the road and their resulting emissions. Before factoring in the emissions saved from other builders in the community that used their crushing site, Upward’s decision would eliminate an estimated 250 hours of trucking, also reducing the financial burden to them and their customers.
Beyond the financials, this approach offered a real benefit to the environment: again, minimizing the number of trucks on the road (saving fossil fuels), reducing infrastructure wear and tear (a burden taken on by taxpayers), while increasing the safety of local roadways.
Kudos to Upward Construction’s innovation—this effort showcases their leadership in making ethical, sustainable decisions that make good business sense.
As a result of their submission, the 2019 BUILT GREEN® programs now include a new checklist item in the Waste Management section—5.6: Onsite crusher to reduce vehicle miles. Crusher must be sensitive to neighbouring properties.