MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The sustainable, flexible design of Boomerang Buildings offers up versatility and LEED points to any given construction project. The energy-efficient buildings are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and can be deconstructed and repurposed multiple times. After multiple reuses, a Boomerang Building that reaches the end of its lifecycle can then be recycled. Because of its sustainable design, the temporary steel buildings also allow customers to target the Building Reuse LEED credit as well as the Construction Waste Management credit to reach their green building goals. In this Q&A with Boomerang Buildings’ Beth Wilson, marketing manager, Wilson discusses the benefits of the temporary buildings and how using the building can reduce a project’s environmental impact.
Q: How did Boomerang Building’s identify the need for sustainable temporary buildings?
Wilson: Our company has its roots in tents — event tents, military tents, industrial tents. Over time, facility managers, procurement officers and construction specifiers came to know the benefits of our products, specifically engineered fabric structures and the simplicity of our turnkey service, but the requirements for strength and size and functional accommodation continued to grow. So we, of course, created a solution. After finding a source for the recycled steel that we needed to make Boomerang Buildings, we married that new element with our existing process for streamlined permitting and timely, skilled installation. We now have a more broad, interested audience of oil refineries, auto manufacturers and construction firms that consider temporary steel buildings a resource-conscious, cost-effective and energy-efficient part of their business model.
Q: What are some of the major advantages in utilizing Boomerang Buildings?
Wilson: There are three key advantages to working with Boomerang Buildings. First, we essentially offer space on-demand. We can install on most sites in the continental United States within 21 days. Designed for deconstruction, once the space is no longer needed, we simply come and take it away. Second, not everyone wants to be in the real estate business. Building, renovating and dealing with landlords, property management and long-term financing can be huge distractions from core business goals. Leased Boomerang Buildings subtract all that complexity from the basic need for functional space, letting customers get on with what they do best. Third, the Boomerang’s temporary steel structures offer superior protection from the elements — high winds and heavy snow loads are no problem thanks to their engineering. And the interiors can be fitted out with all of the finishes and comforts of permanent buildings, including utilities, HVAC, fire suppression, security systems, doors, flooring and interior walls. Customers have even expanded their Boomerang Buildings with little to no loss of use. You can’t put an addition on a permanent building and say that.
Q: Could you describe the environmentally friendly design of Boomerang Buildings?
Wilson: Boomerang Buildings offer several environmental benefits to customers. We can install and uninstall on most sites with minimal, if any, impacts. And our buildings are designed to be extremely energy efficient. Boomerang Buildings may be outfitted with Energy Star-certified T5 lighting and energy-efficient, CFC-free polyurethane insulated hard sides (Guardian Steel Walls) made from 80 percent recycled material. Overall, Boomerang Buildings helps customers to reduce construction costs, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the environmental impacts of new construction. Finally, these are not disposable products. When a customer is done with a building on one site, it is carefully deconstructed and then the elements are reused for other installations. Almost every piece can be recycled or repurposed at the end of its useful life.
Q: How do Boomerang Buildings assist projects in achieving LEED certification?
Wilson: Boomerang Buildings has worked closely with the U.S. Green Building Council to find ways for customers to more readily achieve LEED credits for their projects. Specifically, customers may now target the Building Reuse LEED credit, representing one LEED point potential in MRc3. This credit applies to structures that have been erected before. Each Boomerang Building is carefully deconstructed after each use, and its elements are then repurposed in other applications. Customers may also seek the Construction Waste Management credit, which represents a one to two LEED point potential in MRc2. Once Boomerang structures reach the end of their lifespan, they are recycled — after selective deconstruction —through local recycling centers, mills or smelters.
Q: Could you tell me about a recent project you were involved with?
Wilson: Boomerang Buildings was contacted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for help getting Joplin, Mo., back up and running after an EF5 tornado leveled the town’s infrastructure in May 2011. Boomerang was on site almost immediately to install a fully functioning gymnasium for the elementary school — a 66 feet by 100 feet, community-uniting facility that was bigger, better and stronger than the multipurpose room that stood before the storm.
Q: Why are Boomerang Buildings a smart choice economically?
Wilson: There are very real cost and accounting benefits to using temporary steel structures from Boomerang Buildings. They fall under operating costs (usually tax deductible), not capital expenses (long-term depreciation) on a balance sheet. And most jurisdictions do not tax temporary buildings as real property and finished space. Add these benefits to the cost savings of up to 80 percent over permanent and long-term leased spaces and Boomerang Buildings are clearly a cost-effective choice.