Roanoke Valley Resource Authority – Smith Gap Landfill

Hidden to the Eye, Thermal Imaging Exposes Energy Losses


The Roanoke Valley Resource Authority owns the Tinker Creek Transfer Station, the Smith Gap Landfill and the Waste Line Express train. This regional, public-private partnership was the first project in the United States to use rail as the sole transportation link between a solid waste transfer station and a landfill.

A visual and diagnostic Facilities Energy Performance Assessment of the Administration Building, Tipping Floor and Maintenance Shop at Smith Gap Landfill resulted in recommendations to reduce energy usage and maintenance costs and to improve the working comfort of employees and visitors.

Current Conditions

The 1,900 square foot Administration Building for Roanoke Valley Resource Authority (RVRA) located at the Smith Gap Landfill in Roanoke County regularly experiences high energy bills and employee comfort issues. The facilities include an administration building, a tipping floor where regional solid waste arriving by rail car from Tinker Creek Transfer Station is processed prior to disposal into the landfill and an equipment maintenance building. Better Building Works, LLC (BBWx) completed a visual and diagnostic Facilities Energy Performance Assessment with our team of BPI certified professionals. Specifics of the assessment results included:

  • Acoustical ceiling tile performing as an inefficient air barrier allowing infiltration of unconditioned air from the attics into the building.
  • Flashing and/or air sealing issues at the connection of the administration roof structure at the wall adjacent to the tipping floor.
  • Compressed air leak in the maintenance building, which according to The United States Department of Energy can cost upwards of $8,300 a year in energy costs (based on a 1/4” leak in a compressed air system).
  • Metal halide lights and T12 fluorescent fixtures are among the least efficient lighting options available today and lose efficiency over time further reducing lighting effectiveness.


The assessment report generated by BBWx addressed health and safety issues, provided recommendations for the most cost effective facility energy upgrades and a comparison between a ‘business-as-usual’ energy scenario and an upgraded energy model. Recommendations include:

  • Spray foam portions of the underside of the administration building roof structure, flashing and/or air seal the roof connection between the administration building and tipping floor.
  • Repair all leaks in compressed air systems and use compressed air only as required (i.e. do not use to clean clothes, etc.)
  • Replacement of T-12 fixtures with T-8 ballasts and bulbs and replacing metal halide light fixtures with fluorescent T5 High Output fixtures.

ROI (Return on Investment)

When compared to a ‘Business-As-Usual’ scenario, BBWx determined that The Roanoke Valley Resource Authority could expect a minimum ROI equal to 17.2% and upwards of 45.3% with annual savings in excess of $8,300 if all recommendations are invested in. Beyond the energy and costs savings, the building occupants will remain more comfortable, breathe easier knowing the air is cleaner and notice an enhanced interior lighted environment.



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