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Case study

Chandos leads the change in the construction sector

Diversion Rate Improvement

  • 73% in 2017 to 80% in 2019 across their national portfolio
  • Sorting on construction sites has diverted over 15,000 MT from landfill from 2017 – 2019

Chandos Construction is a company that is, in addition to many other areas of leadership, spearheading sustainability, innovation, and effective waste management in the construction sector. Chandos is one of North America’s most collaborative and innovative builders and is 100% employee-owned. Along with Climate Smart certification, Chandos is the largest commercial builder in North America to be a Certified B Corporation, meaning its values are at the centre of its operations.

Chandos’ approach to waste management on construction sites:

Chandos is one of the only companies in western Canada that follows the LEED standard for waste management on all construction sites, choosing to recycle on-site because it’s the right thing to do. To “reduce construction and demolition waste disposed of in landfills,” LEED Standards require that construction sites maintain between 50-75% diversion of at least four material streams, and to keep consistent data on waste generation and disposal across all construction sites. Chandos has exceeded these standards not just on individual sites but across their portfolio of projects, and in 2019 achieved an 80% diversion rate across the entire company. This success can be attributed to dedicating one employee to track and manage the waste data across the entire company, and by educating key site staff on cost savings to encourage recycling of specific materials.

Managing data and waste diversion levels:

To track and manage waste diversion rates, Chandos uses various avenues to share data and provide resources to key people on site. Chandos sends out a monthly summary of waste diversion rates on all sites to site managers and incorporates sustainability and waste content into monthly superintendent and foreman meetings. The Chandos intranet site offers an additional platform to share resources and information on waste diversion, display waste diversion levels across all sites, and inform employees on how the company is doing as a whole, serving to engage each individual site under a shared goal. Finally, their intranet provides site managers with the tools to achieve and maintain the highest possible diversion rate by recommending preferred waste haulers and outlining the cost savings potential from separating specific materials vs commingled bins.

Cost savings from source segregation:

Chandos has discovered the potential for significant cost benefits from segregating recyclable materials on construction sites rather than co-mingling in bins, and are tracking site results continuously to build the business case for multi-stream recycling. Recycling particular materials such as metal and concrete can mean opportunity for cost savings – in some cases, earnings – when separated into dedicated bins. For example, metal bins are disposed of for free, and in some cases the recycling of steel bins provides a 50% credit back to the construction site. When the same material is disposed of in a commingled bin, haulers may charge between $95-130 per tonne to take the waste. Internal tracking means Chandos can determine potential cost savings company-wide, which helps to incentivize their sites to adopt multi-stream waste management techniques with a clear business case. For any sites that need them Chandos provides additional support for dedicated recycling bins when requested.

Chandos has set a high standard for waste diversion on construction sites. With meticulous data collection and tracking, the company has been able to build a strong case for multi-stream recycling. Chandos continues to build upon and adapt their waste and recycling habits, and set a high standard for sustainability across the construction sector in Canada.

Chandos participated in Climate Smart as a part of the Corporate Climate Leaders Program (CCLP) with the City of Edmonton. Edmonton’s Corporate Climate Leaders Program supports the growing number of Edmonton organizations that are concerned about climate change and want to take action.

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