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Sustainable Development Strategies

Balcones Resources – Austin

Glass block brings extra daylight into the brightly colored lobby Formerly a Georgia-Pacific distribution center and retail lumberyard, Balcones Resources Austin’s paper processing facility includes an enclosed 62,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 2,800 sq. ft. of offices and 3 partially enclosed outbuildings. This 1996 renovation epitomizes sustainable development in that the embodied energy and material resources of the existing site were reused. Some of the sustainable concepts employed here include:

  • Reused existing wood paneling by painting and/or texturing instead of purchasing new sheet rock and landfilling existing paneling
  • Cleaned and reutilized existing wooden base and trim molding throughout the offices – new base was added only where new construction occurred and in hallway
  • Used light color paints on majority of office walls to increase daylighting
  • Added glass block sidelights in new office walls to bring daylight into interior spaces
  • Cleaned and/or painted the ceiling grid instead of replacing
  • Preserved ceramic tile in lobby and restrooms
  • Reused all restroom sinks
  • Recycled 3,960 lbs of mixed metals during construction period including strapping from lumber and deliveries, conduit, extra framing, ceiling tile grid and wire, tubing, piping, extra steel from erection of equipment, old HVAC run-outs and ducting, guard rails, demolition metals, and rebar
  • Replaced plumbing fixtures with water conserving toilets and faucets
  • Used zero VOC wall paint - painter exclaimed that he didn't go home with headaches for a change
  • Installed carpet and linoleum with zero VOC adhesives

First paper bale produced on newly relocated balerDuring 1996 – 1997, Earthly Ideas managed the renovation process with the design and construction professionals for Balcones Resources (formerly Balcones Recycling). We incorporated sustainable building techniques including construction waste reduction and recycling, selection of environmentally friendly building materials, and energy efficiency. This project received a 1998 Environmental Vision Award from the Austin Corporate Recycling Council for its recycling and sustainable building efforts.