'Recycle' At Yale Is Project Theme

Joanne Ray | September 28, 2010

In 1984, when Ed Quinn was a junior at Glastonbury High School, he spent weekends cutting residential lawns with a mower in the trunk of his Mustang. In his senior year, he added a snow plowing service and worked year ’round. It wasn’t long before Quinn discovered that he liked working for himself and enjoyed the lawn maintenance and landscape business. After high school graduation, he set out to do residential and commercial maintenance full-time with a small crew and a few trucks.

By 1988, the business had grown to include residential and commercial landscaping in addition to maintenance. The same year brought the addition of small concrete paver walks and wall installations.

Into the 1990s the business had expanded enough to hire crew leaders to head several divisions such as lawn maintenance, brick, lawn installation, and landscape installation.

"After 2000, we established a mulch blowing division and in 2005 we began to offer hydro-seeding as part of our lawn installation division," Quinn said. "In 2006 we also began installing low voltage lighting."

Today the company boasts 23 to 25 employees in season – all at one location in Glastonbury. Equipment includes everything from Ford pick-ups to a tri-axle dump truck to a small run-around estimating truck.

Throughout the years, EAQuinn has worked on many a project, but one of the most intriguing was the renovation of The Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. In the fall of 2006, the company was contracted to provide landscaping services for a major renovation project at the college. The renovation project was to provide a spacious reading room, state-of-the-art collection storage, a classroom, new staff and conservation workplace, and an exhibition gallery. The new addition was designed to resemble a barn, recalling the Connecticut tradition of connected farm buildings while preserving the residential image and scale of the historic Cowles House.

The building design and construction was carefully planned to allow the barn addition to be certified as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building by the U.S. Green Building Council. The following were some guidelines:

  • Selective demolition of building and site would result in 50-percent (minimum) waste (by weight) being recycled, reused or reclaimed instead of being dumped in a landfill.
  • Storm water runoff from roofs and parking areas would be retained on site resulting in no additional burden on municipal storm water systems.
  • Heating and cooling for the new addition and renovated existing spaces would be provided by an energy-efficient geothermal heat pump system.
  • Building materials incorporated into the addition would be obtained from producers who are as local as practicable.

Even though the project went out to bid, Ed Quinn was favored due to a long-standing relationship with the college.

When the Yale project hired EAQuinn, which had a long-standing relationship with the college, to do the landscaping, the theme of the entire project became "recycle."

"It was a unique job because Yale is very green-conscious and wanted to recycle as much as possible," said Brick Division Supervisor Steve Virgadaula.

The project was under way to allow ample time for a reasonable amount of transplants to be done before winter. The project included walkways laid with recycled blue stone, 30,000 feet to 40,000 feet of hydro-seeding, and the re-planting of elms, pin oaks, kousa dogwoods, Japanese thread leaf maples, and shadbush.

"We probably moved a dozen trees," said Landscape Installation Supervisor Dave Joslin. "And smaller material like a few shrubs, ground cover, myrtle, and day lilies. We also did mulch."

Also on the project was the installation of a swale ditch next to one of the buildings on the property.

"We put in an eco-friendly bio swale with a headwall to give a positive drainage to the parking lot," Quinn said. "The swale forces all the water back into the drainage system."

Material used at the bottom of the swale included an ecologically appropriate restoration mix of native grasses and wildflowers designed to colonize moist, recently disturbed sites where quick growth of vegetation is desired to stabilize the soil surface.

Two walkways were also built – one wet laid and one not. Both included recycled blue stone, some from a building that was torn down on the premises.

"The walkway from the library building to the street was not wet laid," Virgadaula said. "The base was a slab of concrete with a 1-inch skim coat of stone dust over it. Trucks moved 3,000 square feet of blue stone that had a very rough cut underneath and varied in thickness. It took three tractor-trailer loads to complete the job."

The renovation project was completed in the fall of 2007.