Lloyd’s Won the Excellence in Demolition Award for the Wolf Ridge ELC MAC Lodge Project!

This article is being posted as a followup to a previous post on the Wolf Ridge ELC Demolition team at Lloyd’s Construction Services. In the previous article it was mentioned that the family would be flying to Texas for the National Demolition Association meeting where they were 1 of 3 contractors nominated for the “Excellence in Demolition” award for their work on the Wolf Ridge ELC MAC Lodge.

We are all very happy to report that they WON!

Below is the article that will be appearing in Demolition Magazine about the project.

John and Stephanie Lloyd accepting the Excellence in Demolition award

Pete Smerud, the executive director of Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, was told by three contractors that it couldn’t be done. The challenge: Revamp Wolf Ridge’s land, facilities and curriculum, while also satisfying the rigorous requirements of Living Building Challenge (LBC). To do so, every phase of the project — including demolition of the standing facilities — had to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. Each year, Wolf Ridge engages over 13,000 students, teachers and parents from more than 185 schools in the upper Midwest in environmental awareness and education. The first environmental learning center to be accredited as a K-12 school, Wolf Ridge long ago established itself as an environmental education leader. The center is currently fundraising a $9.4-million campaign to improve and update its land and facilities. With the goals of innovation and continued leadership in mind, Smerud and the board of trustees decided it was not enough to simply meet LEED certification requirements for this project; they decided to seek full certification in all seven sustainability requirements of the Living Building Challenge aim, making them approximately the 45th building in history to do so. To date, only 10 percent of 450 projects that have attempted the challenge have been successful. While many contractors shied away from the project, NDA member Lloyd’s Construction Services (LCS) took the challenge head-on. A third-generation family business servicing Minnesota for 34 years, LCS was excited to be awarded this unique demolition contract. Many within the LCS company visited this learning center themselves as children, and they are now sending their own children and grandchildren. While the personal connection increased the company’s passion for the project, they also had the expertise to get the job done. “Lloyd’s accepted the challenge and went above and beyond to make sure the maximum amount of waste was diverted,” Smerud says. To do this was no easy feat.


While beautifully untouched, the location presented significant environmental obstacles. Recycling facilities are not close to the campus, making recycling efforts increasingly difficult. Instead, priority was given to donating or reusing materials. Laborers went as far as to remove all nails from demolished lumber so it could be reused by the school. For the instances in which materials could not be recycled, per LBC’s requirements, advocacy letters requesting assistance in establishing markets for unrecyclable materials were sent to city, county and state governmental agencies. “This take on the demolition process took the building components that are typically deemed as unwanted and found another use for them on a local scale,” says John Lloyd, vice president and owner of LCS.


While many of the general safety concerns were present — fall protection, confined space entry, normal PPE practices — personal protection was a unique component of the project, thanks to the wilderness of Northern Minnesota. There was an increased likelihood of contracting illness and injury from biting insects and nearby predators. Because the workers were more familiar with safety issues in urban settings, the company ensured that wilderness risk awareness was brought to the forefront.

Another concern was that the nearest major medical facility was 70 miles from the job site. It was crucial for workers to know first aid and be educated on injury prevention, especially when encountering wild creatures.


The renovation project had a lofty objective of 90 percent landfill diversion, which was difficult considering its isolated location. During the demolition phase, Lloyd’s took the extra time to ensure that environmental impact would be minimal. The company’s extensive knowledge in selective demolition helped it meet both architectural and environmental goals. Every aspect of resource utilization was considered — from reducing its carbon footprint with electric boom lifts and other equipment to communicating via electronics or recyclable paper. PVC, chrome and other harmfully processed products were banned from the site as well, so as not to pre-emptively bring in any materials that hurt the environment. The demolition project was unique in that the goal was not to demolish as quickly and efficiently as possible, but rather to eliminate waste, reuse and recycle as much as possible. Piece by piece, LCS workers deconstructed the structures and source-separated on-site to maximize recycling rates. Because of its efforts, 100 percent of the windows, doors and lumber were reused. Additionally, crews were able to source-separate and recycle all metal and cardboard. All the reused materials were donated to a local school, positively impacting the local Northern Minnesota community. Overall, LCS had a big hand in a project that the general contractor, Gardner Builders, described as “a few hundred steps beyond LEED platinum.”


The LBC encourages contractors to think of the impact of construction and demolition assignments on a larger scale, which the Wolf Ridge project perfectly exemplifies. In total, the crew was able to recycle 32.41 percent of recyclable materials, which
is quite a high percentage to hit considering the lack of nearby recycling facilities. Also, 23.04 tons of lumber were donated to a local school in Finland, Minnesota. LCS is “extremely enthusiastic about this project,” says John Lloyd.

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