Two Virginia projects win major environmental award

The Skanska-led joint venture that’s designing and building Virginia’s Elizabeth River Tunnels project has received a distinguished environmental award: a 2015 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award Silver Medal. This award included a proclamation from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and a congratulatory letter from Senator Mark Warner. Additionally, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center – for which we served as program manager – won a Gold Medal in the same program.

The award winners were chosen based on such criteria as environmental benefit, stakeholder involvement, public outreach, transferability and innovativeness.

“The innovation of the Elizabeth River Tunnels project benefits the environment and the community while providing significant operational savings,” Warner wrote to the SKW (Skanska/Kiewit/Weeks) Constructors joint venture. “I know your work will inspire others to exhibit the same leadership qualities that have enabled you to be so successful.”

Waste concrete for oyster beds

SKW’s environmental achievements on this public-private partnership project include the following activities that they developed and implemented:

• Realizing a recycling/reuse rate of 99 percent – with only 1 percent of project waste going to landfills.

• Implementing onsite treatment of lead-contaminated soil, which reduced hazardous waste and saved the project over $100,000 in disposal costs.

• Adopting environmentally-friendly oil for all marine equipment and the use of waste concrete to make oyster boxes to foster oyster populations in the Elizabeth River.

• Generating Environmental Excellence Reports to share the ERT project environmental processes and outcomes with employees and regulatory agencies. The ultimate goal of these reports – which are posted on our EHS SharePoint site – is educating the heavy construction industry on ways that construction can be done to help benefit the environment while saving the project money.

“Being recognized for our environmental integrity and performance is a credit to the men and women of SKW who place a high value on performing heavy civil construction in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Carissa Agnese, Skanska regional environmental manager.

Our Elizabeth River Tunnels team is using waste concrete to make oyster boxes in the Elizabeth River.

Rainwater for drinking water

The Brock Environmental Center – an environmental education center in Virginia Beach – is targeting certification under both LEED Platinum and the even more stringent Living Building Challenge. Living Building certification requires operating for a year using net-zero energy and net-zero water, among other requirements.

Through the use of composting toilets, greywater and captured rainwater for drinking water – a first for a U.S. commercial-scale building – the Brock center will use 90 percent less water than a typical public building. It will also not send any waste to a wastewater treatment plant. Also, the center was designed to use 80 percent less energy than the typical commercial building. Even more, energy is provided on-site by two 10 kW wind turbines and a 39 kW photovoltaic array. The renewable energy installations were designed to generate more energy on-site than used over the course of a year. The project re-used a significant amount of materials from a local high school and a healthcare facility.

“The mission of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and their goals for this unique and important project were in direct alignment with our culture,” said Curtis Elswick, Skanska vice president. “This is one of the main reasons we were selected for the project, and the collaborative effort resulted in something very special.”

The Brock Environmental Center captures rainwater to use as drinking water – a first for a U.S. commercial-scale building.

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