University at Buffalo, The State University of New York | Ceilings Recycling Program

The Challenge:

With hundreds of buildings, miles of roads, and thousands of students, faculty, and staff traveling to and from its North, South, and Downtown campuses every day, the impact the University at Buffalo has on the environment is significant.

Committed to reducing its environmental imprint on the future, UB, the largest university within the State University of New York system, has adopted a Climate Action Plan, which calls for it to be climate neutral by 2030.

Achieving that goal means that UB must find a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within its own operations. This set the bar high for managers of University Facilities who were forced to rethink the way they used energy and disposed of waste.

The Solution:

One of the ways UB found to reduce its impact on the environment is by recycling the old ceiling tiles it tears out during renovations to the classrooms, offices, and common areas within its academic buildings.

This was made possible through UB’s participation in the Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program. The program enables the University to ship old ceilings from renovation projects to an Armstrong ceiling plant as an alternative to landfill disposal. The old tiles are then used to manufacture new ceiling tiles

“Recycling our old ceiling tiles was like picking low-hanging fruit,” says Marty Spence, Contract Administrator for University Facilities at UB. “It was so easy to get involved. We could throw the used ceiling tiles in a landfill and pay a fee, or we could have Armstrong come and pick them up. It was a no brainer and it’s the right thing to do.”

Since 2010, UB has recycled nearly 214,000 square feet of old ceiling tiles. That’s the equivalent of more than 40 tons of construction waste that has been diverted from landfills. By recycling the old ceiling tiles, UB also managed to avoid the CO2 equivalent of more than 48,000 kilograms of greenhouse gases, moving it a step closer to its 2030 goal of climate neutrality.

Project: University at Buffalo, The State of University of New York

Location: Buffalo, NY

Products: Ceilings Recycling Program