Green demolition at Old Robinson Dairy in Silverthorne makes way for shipping-container hotel
December 5, 2018
The old Robinson Dairy in Silverthorne is all but gone. The defunct structure from the early 1980s is coming down bit by bit to make room for a new hotel with some hostel-style accommodations.
As previously reported, Rob Baer and Lynne Parrish Baer — they have married since the Summit Daily last wrote about the project — are looking to launch "The Pad," a boutique hotel along the scenic Blue River in downtown Silverthorne.
Blueprints call for it to be built out of 16 prefabricated shipping containers, along with more traditional materials. It will offer a mix of accommodations, including private rooms, lodging for extended stays and hostel-style bed rentals.
Detailing the project through a blog on the hotel's website, ThePadLife.com, the Baers describe the ins, outs, ups and downs of trying to take apart the old building in an environmentally conscious way.
Over the phone, Rob said that it's very important to him and his wife that The Pad be built with a nod to the environment, and they wanted to steer as much of the old building as they could away from the dump.
"It can cost more and takes more time, but it doesn't come without its benefits," Rob said of what he refers to as, "a green deconstruction."
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According to the blog, there are companies not unlike thrift stores that take used building materials, in some cases hauling them off for free. Habitat for Humanity's ReStore is one example of places to take reusable building materials, and because of his experience in the field, Rob knows of at least five more of these companies in the Denver area.
The Baers began the deconstruction by taking the old, red building apart in the opposite order it was built, Rob explained. Attention went first to the finishes — like railings, doors, cabinetry and lighting — before moving into the building's structural features.
In many cases, the Baers were successful in their efforts to keep materials out of the landfill. In other instances, like where the roof, framing or Styrofoam was coated in glue, they weren't so lucky.
While they couldn't save the drywall or insulation, the framing lumber not contaminated by glue was saved. The original plan included removing nails by hand and donating it as building materials, but winter came early this year, and those plans had to be adjusted. Instead, the lumber will be chipped into mulch.
"That keeps a lot out of the landfill right there," Rob said.
The Baers had also planned to donate or sell the metal panels on the old building's roof, but those plans also had to change after finding the panels had been fixed to the roof sheathing with "copious" amounts glue. Instead, they went into the recycling pile.
Once the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems were exposed, the Baers pulled them out, with the components going both for reuse and recycling. There wasn't a lot to be had because it was an industrial building, but that also made getting it all out fairly simple, Rob noted in the blog post.
The foundation will be sent to a local aggregate company to be ground up and possibly used as fill in other projects. Decorative wall coverings were also saved, and 15 panels of double-paned glass went to someone who wants to build a greenhouse. The solid steel commercial doors can also be donated.
The building's siding was a nice score for the couple. They're still trying to decide exactly how it will best fit into The Pad's design, Rob Baer said. But expensive and hard to find, the old-growth redwood siding will get incorporated into The Pad one way or another.
"It will definitely be reused in the new building," he said. "We just have to talk to our designer and figure out how and where it will fit in."
With deconstruction nearly complete, the Baers are looking to start construction work as soon as the weather allows this spring.
They're hesitant to announce a potential date for when The Pad might open. hey have an idea but would prefer to get closer to it before releasing it to the public. However, if the project keeps progressing as it has been, that announcement might not be far away.
"The snow has continued over the past two weeks … but we are close to finishing our deconstruction," Rob wrote near the end of the blog post. "While we are not able to have as much material reused as originally planned, we are happy that we are still finding avenues to divert the material through recycling programs."
He added that the next post will go into greater detail about how and why someone might donate material and focus on ways people can use the cost of additional labor associated with a green deconstruction.
To keep up with the couple's progress on the project, go to ThePadLife.com.
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