In 2017, we recycled almost 18,000 tons of scrap metals such as copper, aluminum, and steel. In 2016, more than 41 million pounds of scrap metal was recycled.
Some of the other materials we are dedicated to recycling responsibly include demolition material, used batteries, brass, porcelain, iron, oil and transformer oil, street lights, paper, plastic and scrap transformers. In 2016, we recycled nearly 500 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic and glass and in 2017, we recycled 528 tons. At our Cove Point facility, we helped expand two artificial reefs in the Chesapeake Bay by depositing approximately 2,000 tons of clean concrete rubble from existing-building demolition. The reef project was carried out in close coordination with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
We also are practicing sustainability in the construction of a new office tower, 600 Canal Place, in downtown Richmond. After the former building on-site was demolished, more than 50 percent of the demolition material was recycled, per LEED standards. (LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a “green building” certification system by which third-party experts certify that a building is environmentally sustainable.) When it is complete, 600 Canal Place is expected to have a LEED Gold rating.
It’s important to us to reuse and recycle electronic waste responsibly, so we use an IT disposal vendor that has a “no-landfill” policy and resells almost all of the company’s disposed assets for continued use, while recycling all others in an environmentally responsible manner. In 2017, we recycled 50 tons of electronic waste compared to 34 tons in 2016. We are committed to continuing this practice in the coming years.
Through July 30, the Dominion Energy IT group accumulated more than 72,000 pounds of “waste avoided,” meaning 5,898 technology assets were either reused or recycled instead of making their way to a landfill. Nearly 64 percent of those technology assets — ranging from desktop PCs and monitors to printers and notebooks — were refurbished, while the remaining were recycled.
By avoiding landfills, Dominion Energy has prevented the emission of an estimated 3.3 million pounds of greenhouse gases and disposal of 18,156 pounds of hazardous waste. The asset recycling process also has led to the recovery of valuable materials, including aluminum, ferrous and copper.
We strive to make our company facilities sustainable by using as many recycled materials and energy-efficient appliances as possible. As we make improvements to our company offices, we install LED lights where feasible and replace incandescent lighting and traditional fluorescent lights with efficient T-8 fluorescent fixtures. We keep warm with high-efficiency, gas-fired unit heaters in place of steam fan coil units, and we install programmable thermostats to save energy.
We also use solar film on windows to decrease heat infiltration, and have heat-reflective shades that can be closed electronically on hot days to help conserve energy. Our offices sport furniture systems made from recycled materials and carpet manufactured from 90 percent recycled materials, which is also fully recyclable when retired.
In our restrooms, occupancy-sensor-controlled light fixtures save energy, and hands-free automated paper towel dispensers, set to distribute the smallest effective amount of paper, reduce trash. Moreover, foam soap dispensers in restrooms reduce the use of soap. To conserve resources, we also use measures such as a paperless work-order process to cut paper usage by more than 200,000 sheets per year. Moreover, we are using single-stream trash recycling at more than 100 of our offices. In addition, in 2018 we are piloting composting of food wastes at some of our office cafeterias. Practicing sustainability in our workspaces helps us to be good stewards of the environment.