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Sustainable Development Strategies

Balcones Resources – Dallas

Brightly colored lobby of Balcones Resources Balcones Resources’ paper processing operation in suburban Dallas occupies 100,000 square feet with 4,000 square feet of office space. At the time of its completion in 1996, it was the largest high grade paper recycling facility in the United States and contained a number of cutting-edge sustainable materials and concepts:

  • Utilized T-8 fluorescent lamp fixtures with electronic ballasts and parabolic reflectors in office areas to reduce the number of fixtures originally proposed by 12% and thereby decrease material, energy, and labor costs. Parabolic reflectors yield a higher level of luminance at the desk level.
  • In the warehouse, along with significant skylighting, we utilized 400 watt metal halide lamps. Metal halide lamps are the most energy efficient source of white light available today. They offer high lumens of light per watt, excellent color rendition (important for Balcones’ paper sorting operations), and long service life.
  • Installed Levolor SheerView horizontal blinds for all window treatments. These blinds allow for an external view even when the blinds are closed. The blinds are perforated with  a staggered pattern of small diameter holes that permit 6% of the light in when closed. This allows daylight to penetrate the offices but does not transmit glare that can sometimes occur with direct sunlight. In addition, we selected a brushed aluminum finish for the blinds. This finish is highly reflective and helps shield occupants from the sun’s radiation.
  • The Grand Opening Party was held in the new warehouse area of Balcones Resources in DallasIncorporated recycled content ceiling tiles. The installed product contains between 46-63% recycled material, such as newsprint, packaging materials, and steel slag. Use of these by-products in ceiling tiles reduces the volume of landfill material. Kraft, corrugated, and other waste paper is also used in ceiling tile production and thus reduces manufacturing costs while utilizing materials that would otherwise be an additional landfill burden.
  • Chose sealed or stained concrete as the finished floor in the hallways, restrooms, break rooms, and in the warehouse offices. Concrete is inert and does not contribute to indoor air quality problems and requires little maintenance.

Colorful factory floor at Balcones In 1995 – 1996, Earthly Ideas managed the construction of this paper recycling facility. We worked closely with the general contractor and owner to incorporate sustainable goals for the project. We researched and recommended sustainable material and finish selections for office interiors. We helped implement the energy efficient lighting. We assisted in the planning of the facility’s equipment and operational flow and coordinated with equipment vendors and installers. We planned, coordinated, and executed the relocation effort of the offices and paper recycling operations from Balcones’ former location. We documented the sustainable initiative undertaken and oversaw the publication of A Sustainable (Ad)Venture: Breaking Ground with Green Building Initiatives.