Baltimore affordable housing fund: Much of the money paying for demolition –

A cluster of vacant rowhouses in the 1600 block of North Gay Street succumbed to the metal claw of an excavator this month, as yet another batch of unwanted city homes turned to rubble.

Once the East Baltimore tract is cleared, nothing will be built there. It will be turned into a community-managed open space, providing a patch of green for residents of nearby senior housing units and tenants at the restored American Brewery building.

The $215,000 demolition is among the most recent projects funded by the city’s Affordable Housing Program. The $60 million program was created six years ago, after then-Mayor Martin O’Malley dangled it as a carrot in his successful effort to persuade a skeptical City Council to support a new Hilton convention center hotel downtown.

But while the city-owned 757-room hotel opened in 2008 to fanfare, the housing fund has largely faded from public view. Some current council members weren’t even aware of it until The Baltimore Sun inquired.

The Affordable Housing Program has spent three-fifths of its original budget so far. And despite the program’s seemingly straightforward name, the bulk of that $36 million has gone toward tearing houses down, not putting them up.

“It was really a blight elimination program,” Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano said. “There was some confusion about the money being used for development of new housing. In fact, that was not the primary purpose of the money.”

Continue reading Baltimore affordable housing fund: Much of the money paying for demolition – Where recycling meets design | Road Air by Refunc

Road Air by Refunc

Road Air by RefuncThe guys of REFUNC, a Dutch collective of architects and builders, created this upcycled architectural installation. The Road Air is a flexible and movable ‘house’ that can be built in one day. An old trailer, interior windows of airplanes, fish crates and on old carpet were blended into a new highly movable shelter that looks very good thanks to the specific round shape of the airplane windows. REFUNC’s approach involves solitarily old and used materials to create crazy new architectural typologies.

REFUNC’s founders Denis Oudendijk en Jan Korbes, who’ve done pretty cool other projects like Millegomme, have lots of experience with the transformation of urban left-overs into good-looking architectural forms. Rather famous is their floating capsule hotel made out of an old rescue boat, as well as the windmill container — a self-supporting container pavilion with huge unused windmill blades on its roof. Also Millegomme’s shelter made from old care tiles is rather brilliant. With this project, Oudendijk and Korbes also try to inspire and help people in less fortunate living conditions in slums all over the world. Although these people might not read TreeHugger or Inhabitat to stumble upon the nice concepts and designs that Millegomme makes with old auto tiles, the idea of using old materials that are available everywhere in the world to make good architecture, is really interesting for this specific purpose.

The Air House is part of a series of constructions made by REFUNC that were built in only one day with a predefined selection of old stuff. It’s like cooking with left-overs: see what you’ve got and make something useful of it. As I’ve the slight suspicion that the REFUNC guys will not live in their creation themselves, I’m really curious what it will be used for…


via Where recycling meets design | Road Air by Refunc.

Buyer sought to save historic church | The Indianapolis Star |

Shown Dec. 20, 2011, the former Revival Temple Church 1226 Martin Luther Kiing Jr. St. is a Classical Revival style brick building now owned by Indianapolis Public Schools. It was destined to be demolished late this year to make way for a parking lot for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School. But now IPS has agreed to allow Indiana Landmarks through 2012 to find a buyer for the save the building for reuse. According to Indiana Landmarks, the church was built by African Americans and was for most of its history the Phillips Temple CME Church. It's in the Flanner House Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.  When the Temple vacated the building, they took with them the stained glass windows and the large organ.

A 91-year-old stately brown-brick Downtown church building, which had been a longtime gathering place for African-Americans, has a chance to avoid demolition.

That is, if someone with plenty of money and an idea for reuse of the deteriorating structure comes forward next year.

Located in the Flanner House Homes historic district, the building at 1226 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. was scheduled to be demolished in September to make way for parking for Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, a short distance to the south.

Indianapolis Public Schools purchased the building with the four towering white columns at its entrance — and some adjacent land — in January for $319,000.

However, IPS Superintendent Eugene White and his administration recently accepted a request from Indiana Landmarks to give preservationists until December 2012 to try to save the building by finding a buyer willing to rehabilitate it.

A progress report on the search will be given to White in about six months, said Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ vice president of preservation services.

“There are few buildings left in the city built by African-Americans for African-Americans,” Dollase said, citing losses due in particular to redevelopment in the heart of the city.

“For that,” he said, “it is an important goal for us to see this building remain standing. We’re thrilled that Dr. White and IPS will work with us on finding a solution to a continued use.”

Continue reading Buyer sought to save historic church | The Indianapolis Star |

G.G. Green building dodges demolition, likely to be redeveloped |

082611 Green Building web.jpg

WOODBURY — Just when people had all but given up hope on the G.G. Green block building, in a surprising turn of events, city council has announced a tentative agreement with the RPM Development Group to sweep in and save the structure from anticipated demolition.

After a closed-session following Wednesday night’s regular council meeting, Councilman William H. Fleming announced the Montclair-based company had agreed to stabilize the long-neglected and run-down South Broad Street structure for redevelopment into a mixed-use site.

Continue reading G.G. Green building dodges demolition, likely to be redeveloped |

EPA calls for new monitoring of liquid in landfills |

HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Ohio EPA is calling for new monitoring of liquids in landfills that specialize in construction and demolition debris.

News Center 7’s John Bedell talked with the EPA about how the proposed rules could affect some area landfills.

The change is coming because the Ohio EPA said a new study shows liquids in construction and demo landfills could contaminate ground water.

There are 55 landfills in Ohio that take construction and demo debris that could be affected if the new rules are adopted, including seven in the Miami Valley. Those landfills have been exempt from the testing.

EPA spokesperson Linda Oros said, “In Ohio, we had very limited regulations for construction and demolition debris waste because it was considered to be rather benign.”

Now, a new EPA study shows that liquid in the landfills could contaminate ground water.

“If they were to be released to ground water or surface water, and in most cases that was not happening, but if that were to happen, it could pose a threat to public health and the environment,” Oros said.

The new rules would require operators of the specialized landfills to monitor liquid at the bottom of the landfill for a list of contaminants.

It’s a way to protect nearby residents and local business owners like Byron Armbruster, who owns Central Collision, which sits right across the street from Taylorsville Road hardfill and direction above an aquifer.

“I think it’s good and keep everybody safe,” Armbruster said.

The Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing on Tuesday to accept comments on the proposed new rules.

via EPA calls for new monitoring of liquid in landfills |

Stringtown man to bike as an advocate of affordable housing » Local News » Cumberland Times-News

Hayden Ort-Ulm stands beside his packed bicycle at Canal Place in Cumberland, the western terminus of the C&O Canal. A graduating senior at Ithaca College and resident of Stringtown, Pa., he will pedal from Providence, R.I., to Seattle this summer.

CUMBERLAND — After two years of researching a cause, Hayden Ort-Ulm will ride his bicycle across the U.S. to promote affordable housing as part of the Bike & Build program.The graduating senior at Ithaca College and a resident of Stringtown, Pa., will have his environmental studies degree in hand when he leaves from Providence, R.I., this summer headed for Seattle.

The group of 30 or so volunteers, one of 11 groups, will contribute to building affordable homes in select communities. They also spread awareness of their cause, giving presentations on different problems facing affordable housing in America and solutions on how to fix the problems, such as increasing minimum wage so that families can afford housing in addition to food, gasoline and other necessities.

Ort-Ulm became interested in the creation of affordable housing through deconstruction of an old home with materials going to Fingerlakes Re-Use, where they could be bought at a fraction of the cost of new materials, thereby making a new home much less expensive to build.

Having a desire to bike across the country, he decided to further his cause by applying to Bike & Build.

“Although I have struggled with money at times, I can only imagine what it is like to have a family and no place of your own to call home,” Ort-Ulm said. “Bike and Build is setting out to fix that.”

The houses built are affordable because there is no profit factored into the sale price, and there is no interest on the mortgage of the home, according to Ort-Ulm.Each rider must raise $4,500 by May 1 and Ort-Ulm has provided more than $500 to his own cause. Online donations can be made at Click on “Donate” and select “Hayden Ort-Ulm” from the drop-down menu. Donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be emailed to the donor.

For each trip, 45 to 50 percent of the funds are used to fund the trip itself, with at least 50 percent donated to other youth-driven affordable housing groups throughout the country such as Habitat for Humanity. In 2001, 4.8 million low- to moderate-income families spent half of their income on housing alone. In 2010, the number increased to 9.5 million families, according to Bike & Build.

Affordable housing is most often a one-family home with the location chosen by the family. The homes built blend in well with the surrounding homes in style and architecture and often improve property values of older homes in their neighborhoods. Donors can be a part of the ride by following blogs to keep up with the riders’ location.

via Stringtown man to bike as an advocate of affordable housing » Local News » Cumberland Times-News.

Transforming Old to New by Michael on December 18, 2011 in Building Material ReUse, Building Parts, Green Building, Materials for Sale, Rusted Grain, WoodshopReUse Action

We made these new doors from old materials. The pine tongue and groove was harvested from a barn in Lockport, New York this Fall, milled and reconstructed at the Rusted Grain woodshop into this pair of doors we just installed on a garage on Trinity Place in Buffalo.

Costs vary depending on size and style, interior or exterior applications, and level of finish.


Doors Installeed

Here are the doors, installed.

via Building Parts — ReUse Action.

Developer recycles notorious Casper apartment


They salvaged cabinets, claw-foot tubs and even the locks.

Workers removed the bricks and took whatever metal they could: cast iron, lead and steel. They crushed tons of concrete for use in new buildings. Even the trees out front were sold for firewood and compost.

When the job was done, little remained but damaged carpets and the wooden frame. The crew had recycled 83 percent of the KC Apartments — one of downtown Casper’s most notorious buildings.


via Developer recycles notorious Casper apartment.

Book teaches how to reuse salvaged materials – Breckenridge – Ohio


Peterson, an expert in home design, repair and renovation, has written Building With Secondhand Stuff. It’s a practical guide to choosing, salvaging, refreshing and reusing materials such as wood, metal, stone and glass.

Building With Secondhand Stuff is published by Creative Publishing International and is priced at $19.99 in softcover.

via Book teaches how to reuse salvaged materials – Breckenridge – Ohio.

Next up for New Orleans’s recovery: fighting blight | Reuters

Debris, including a stuffed fish, sits in front of a blighted house in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, December 1, 2011. REUTERS-Lee Celano

Even before the levees broke, New Orleans struggled with many of the classic elements that produce vacant homes and empty lots: systematic population loss, a troubled economy and crime.

Then Katrina accelerated blight. Some 110,000 New Orleans residents did not return to their homes in the five years since the storm, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In October 2010, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, then just six months in office, launched a blight initiative he said was designed to turn around 10,000 properties by 2014.

A blighted house sits boarded up in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana December 1, 2011. REUTERS-Lee Celano


via Next up for New Orleans’s recovery: fighting blight | Reuters.

Flow design philosophy for architectural salvage architecture –

Stainless steel salvaged kitchen sink architecture [photo 2012 Architecten


For 2012Architecten working with waste or the reuse of materials is an integral design strategy. It finds that the history, which is inherent in the used material and which is absent in unused materials, can be of added value when used in new products and arrangements. Exploring the qualities of the used materials can lead to innovative applications and unexpected design.

via Flow design philosophy for architectural salvage architecture –

Abandoned Buildings Turned Into Incredible Art Installations by Marjan Teeuwen | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Marjan Teeuwen transforms the walls of abandoned buildings into incredible artworks by meticulously layering fragments of debris in derelict rooms. In the series ‘Destroyed Houses’ the Dutch artist masterfully manipulates space and materials to create stunningly beautiful sculptures from scenes of destruction and neglect.


via Abandoned Buildings Turned Into Incredible Art Installations by Marjan Teeuwen | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

The Haitian earthquake experience – World Demolition Summit – KHL Group

One of the highlights of the recent World Demolition Summit ­- the moving joint presentation by David Sinclair from UNOPS and Safedem, Mike Jansenns of UNOPS and Jesula Andre, the first female Haitian Government machine operator – can now be viewed at


Watch the video here

via The Haitian earthquake experience – World Demolition Summit – KHL Group.

We Like What They Do: Enrique Romero’s PulpLamp | 2Modern Blog


These Pulp Lamps are so rockstar awesome. So earthy, natural and modern. “PulpLamp is a lamp collection made using only materials like paper paste from recycled newspapers, this way giving them a second life. They aren’t standard models, each new creation will have a new shape, color and texture. All the shapes are made with inflatable molds, what gives the possibility of deforming them for creating a unique piece.”

via We Like What They Do: Enrique Romero’s PulpLamp | 2Modern Blog.

Brad Guy’s academic take on U.S. architectural salvage –


“If you’re designing commercial buildings and shopping centres for a living, that’s all great, but it didn’t seem to be making the world a better place, so I went to the University of Florida to study green building. This was in the early 1980s and there were no established programmes at that time, so I spent a lot of time in the library and learned that green building was much more than passive solar design. I met a guy whose goal was to open a reuse store. His name was Kevin Ratkus and we worked to put together the first deconstruction research projects at the university taking apart several homes, and then tracking and analyzing the results.”

via Brad Guy’s academic take on U.S. architectural salvage –

WAMC: Demand Grows For Recycled Building Materials (2011-11-18)

John Majercak, the executive director of the Center for Ecotechnology opened the Restore Home Improvement Center as a way to stop building materials from ending up in landfills. He found people eager to donate perfectly good cabinets, doors , windows, lighting fixtures and plumbing that they no longer wanted, or had a use for. And they found a market for the used building supplies in do-it-yourselfers on a tight budget..

via WAMC: Demand Grows For Recycled Building Materials (2011-11-18).

INTERVIEW: Architect and Author Alejandro Bahamon on ‘REMATERIAL From Waste to Architecture’ via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Architect Alejandro Bahamón and artist Maria Camila Sanjinés were fascinated by the use of waste in architecture and decided to document 33 projects from around the world that extensively utilize a wasted material in their new book, REMATERIAL From Waste to Architecture.

via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Re.Wind Camping « 2012Architecten



Cutover pieces of windmill wings are used to create all the camping facilities like compost-toilet, sun-shower, solar-cooker  and compost-heated outside bath.The potential of the site as well as the potential of the material are used, resulting in a positive impact on the environment. Only by reusing the windmill blades about 30.000kg of CO2 emissions are saved from being released into the atmosphere.


via Re.Wind Camping « 2012Architecten.

Salvaging Pieces of the Past | How to Use Salvaged Building Materials in New Construction | Photos | Salvage | This Old House

Salvage wood materials

“I’m Yankee and I’m cheap,” jokes Tom. “If used parts are in good shape, I’d rather recycle them than buy new.” So, after knocking out walls and tearing up floors, the TOH team was left with centuries-old wood and brick that might have been destined for the Dumpster at many job sites. Instead, they’ve been picking through the pile, spotting pieces with potential, then transforming these and other old house parts into finishes, details, and furnishings. These salvage projects will make even brand-new areas look perfectly at home next to existing rooms, and will also keep intact the house’s historic character—the very thing the Titlows fell in love with. Read on to see what’s in the works.

via Salvaging Pieces of the Past | How to Use Salvaged Building Materials in New Construction | Photos | Salvage | This Old House.

Y4TE supports the reuse map project for dismissed materials – Gozo News.Com

Y4TE supports the reuse map project for dismissed materials

By filling a contact form, everyone can upload on reclaimed materials on offer or materials requests oriented to design, architecture and construction industry. The reuse map will accept any items which exchange is not harmful or prohibited in any way and that can be reused for any design purpose. Definition of “design purposes” include works of art, restoration, ordinary maintenance of buildings, architectural design at the concept stage. Offers and requests, if acceptable according to the website policy, will be uploaded on the map with their exact location, showing item and quantity.

via Y4TE supports the reuse map project for dismissed materials – Gozo News.Com.

Unconsumption – Creative Reuse Transforms Asheville Community

Residents of Asheville, North Carolina’s Burton Street Community — a neighborhood which fell into decline during the past four decades — have been working with the non-profit Asheville Design Center ”to transform discarded objects into art, neglected properties into community spaces, and at-risk youth into creative catalysts for change.”

A major component of their improvement efforts is an interactive learning and teaching space, designed and built by area university students and community members, in the Burton Street Peace Garden.

Materials used include discarded signs (a large Texaco sign, pictured above, serves as a sliding door), old windows, and door and window screens, among other items.

via Unconsumption – Page 2.

Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob


Designed as survival structures, each unit is necessarily independent – they are only connected by location, having been gathered into the same canal and tied off to the same sidewalk, making for truly autonomous stays despite close proximity to city streets (especially if some prankster cuts the lines while you are sleeping! But hey, at least they are designed for surviving on the open seas).

via Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Recycling plant built from recycled materials – Saskatchewan – CBC News

A new recycling plant is officially opened in Saskatoon.

A new recycling plant is officially opened in Saskatoon. Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC

A new recycling plant opened Friday in Saskatoon, built from 13,000 tonnes of recycled material.

The SARCAN facility expects to process 175 million beverage containers per year. It will also go through 8,400 tonnes of salvage material in a year, more than double the capacity of its former plant.

Portions of the building were fabricated from recycled glass, asphalt and rubber.

via Recycling plant built from recycled materials – Saskatchewan – CBC News.

Homeowners in Winters Choose Deconstruction & ReUse over Home Demolition to Benefit Community and Environment – Deconstruction & ReUse Network –

The Mariani project was a the full deconstruction of three structures: a 4,389 sq ft house, a 680 sq ft garage built in 1983 and a 1920’s era pool house. DRN develops programs for property owners to ensure structures slated for remodel or tear down will be reused and recycled. Most projects are completed in 3 weeks or less.

According to DRN President Lorenz Schilling, “A typical home can yield as much as 85% diversion through reuse and recycling. With traditional home demolition, tons of materials are sent to the local landfill, the majority of which can be reused in their current state in other homes. Deconstruction is a win-win for the environment and the community.”


via Homeowners in Winters Choose Deconstruction & ReUse over Home Demolition to Benefit Community and Environment – Deconstruction & ReUse Network –

Habitat for Humanity workers caused $350,000 of damage to apartment marked for renovation, Saginaw officials say |

SAGINAW — Saginaw development leaders wanted to help Habitat for Humanity but instead ended up with a $350,000 repair estimate.

Jefferson Apartment building undergoing renovavtions

Before the city began a $3 million-plus renovation of the former Jefferson Apartments, 505 Millard, leaders offered Habitat the opportunity to pluck out a number of items, including cast-iron bath tubs and other fixtures, for potential resale.

While removing the heavy metal bathtubs, workers cracked and scratched marble and flooring throughout the building.

“Bathtubs don’t cause damage, people cause damage,” said John Stemple, the city’s chief inspector.

He said Habitat managers speculated — but couldn’t confirm after calling local scrap metal dealers — that workers had attempted to sell some of the metal bathtubs for their scrap value.

via Habitat for Humanity workers caused $350,000 of damage to apartment marked for renovation, Saginaw officials say |

Happy National Reuse Day : Zero Landfill


The purpose of National Reuse Day will be to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of reuse and encourage more people to join the movement toward creating a cleaner environment and a greener economy.

National Reuse Day will be the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to buy, use or donate reusable, reclaimed and remanufactured products. Having a national day will help encourage millions of Americans to improve their reuse habits at home, school and work.


via Happy National Reuse Day : Zero Landfill.

10/21/2011 – Free Building And Design Workshop Is Oct. 29 – Real Estate –


Ask the Experts is part of a series of free design workshops offered as service to the community by the ReStore.

Future sessions include: Home Weatherization, 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, and “Mr. Fixit” – Basic Home Repair, 1 p.m., Dec. 16.

For more information about these workshops or the ReStore, call 634-1004 or visit

via 10/21/2011 – Free Building And Design Workshop Is Oct. 29 – Real Estate –

Items salvaged from flood buyout homes

James Prince of Mason City removes siding from a home on North Hampshire Avenue

“Many hands make light work,” said Al Goranson, of Mason City, who has been a Habitat for Humanity North Central Iowa volunteer since the group formed in 1993. “We have a lot of volunteers today that have carpentry skills.”

The group salvaged items from a house at 618 N. Maryland Ave. in the morning before heading to the dome house at 608 N. Hampshire Ave., built in 1978 and most recently owned by Richard and Nancy Lacoste.

“We are getting a lot of good stuff out of here,” Goranson said.

Salvaged items included patio doors, cabinets, vanities, siding, windows and sinks.


via Items salvaged from flood buyout homes.

Volunteers needed for deconstruction project – Utica, NY – The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York


Madison County Habitat for Humanity, in cooperation with Syracuse Habitat for Humanity, will be deconstructing a house near Hamilton during the month of November. Deconstructing is the process of carefully taking apart a building to save as much of the material as possible.

Volunteers will be removing cabinets, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets and switches, lights, doors, windows and more. How much can be saved is directly related to how many volunteers are on hand to help.

Madison County HfH will be using this material in several home repair projects through its “A Brush With Kindness” program. Although no special skills are required to help deconstruct, those with construction skills are needed.

There will be an informational meeting about this project at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at St Mary’s Church in Hamilton. For more information, call Rev. Greg Wright (315-374-9054) or email him at

Copyright 2011 The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York. Some rights reserved

via Volunteers needed for deconstruction project – Utica, NY – The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York.

Deep Energy Retrofit Demonstrates Significant Energy Savings With Help of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts – MarketWatch


CET has transformed a 100-year-old brick mill building into a modern green building with the help of funding from Columbia Gas. The building will house the EcoBuilding Bargains store, a non-profit recycled construction materials retail establishment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency similar commercial buildings and manufacturing plants account for nearly half of all U.S. energy consumption or $2 billion a year.

This EcoBuilding Bargains store is a green standard-bearer, using only about 1/2 of the energy than a normal building of its size, according to John Majercak, CET’s Executive Director.

The $3.3 million energy-efficient makeover of the historic structure is a forerunner in sustainable practices and is just one of the many “Deep Energy Retrofits” (or superbly-insulated, highly-airtight buildings that dramatically reduce heat loss) supported by Columbia Gas around the Commonwealth.



via Deep Energy Retrofit Demonstrates Significant Energy Savings With Help of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts – MarketWatch.

From Cleveland’s dilapidated buildings, salvage workers unearth treasures – The Washington Post


The neglected edifice, known as the Ardmore and built just after the turn of the century, has crumbling ceilings and busted-out windows. The copper pipes were stolen long ago. Graffiti artists tagged the walls. Weeds have taken over outside. It has sat empty for years, just like the building next door, and the one next to that, like thousands of others in Cleveland beset by population loss and a brutal housing crisis.

Recently, the Ardmore received a death sentence. It will be torn down in a matter of days, part of an ongoing effort to demolish vacant and abandoned properties and chip away at blight. But first, Hennessy and his colleagues have a chance to salvage whatever is worth saving.





via From Cleveland’s dilapidated buildings, salvage workers unearth treasures – The Washington Post.

Redesigners part of national project-Calaveras Enterprise

Interior Redesign Industry Specialists has announced ReDesign with ReStore, a nationwide philanthropic relationship with Habitat for Humanity. The initiative connects IRIS redesigners with the 700-plus Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlets throughout North America, including San Andreas.

Through ReDesign with ReStore, IRIS redesigners from coast to coast will show the public how to reuse and repurpose furniture and building supplies found in area ReStores.

“IRIS is delighted to be teaming up with Habitat for Humanity and ReStore,” said Anna Jacoby, executive director of IRIS.

Drew Meyer, senior director, ReStore and gift-in-kind support at Habitat for Humanity International, echoed Jacoby’s thought: “We are very excited about our new relationship with IRIS and its members.”

ReStore outlets sell donated building materials and home furnishings at discounted prices to aid Habitat’s mission to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for low-income families.

IRIS members are certified interior redesigners and home-staging professionals who specialize in repurposing and reusing existing home furnishings when decorating rooms.

Meyer added, “The commitment and creativity the IRIS members bring to our relationship will make a real positive impact on the work Habitat for Humanity does to build homes and communities.”

“Our talented members are experts at thinking creatively and giving old things new life,” Jacoby said. “With the IRIS philosophy of ‘use what you have first,’ this collaboration is right up our alley.”

“Repurposing existing items in new and creative ways makes great sense economically and ecologically. This is what IRIS has always been about and we look forward to this terrific new partnership,” Jacoby concluded.

For more information about ReDesign with ReStore, contact Linda Lawrence at 728-2732 or

The Calaveras Habitat for Humanity ReStore is at 172 California St., San Andreas. Open hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information call 754-3234 or visit

via Calaveras Enterprise

Reworks Upcycle Shop | Avenue Magazine


Why recycle when you can upcycle?

According to the newest eco store in town, Reworks Upcycle Shop, upcycling is the “process of converting waste materials or useless products into new material or products of better quality of a higher environmental value.”

In short, it’s making new products out of old ones, without using the massive amounts of energy that is often required to proccess products for recycling.

Reworks Upcycle Shop’s owner, Solita Work, has tracked down upcycled furniture, lighting systems, jewelery and accessories from top notch artisans and small-scale manufacturers to provide Calgarians with products that are friendly to the environment and totally unique.

Quantities of all products are limited, so there are new things all the time, but here are a few upcycled products that Reworks has at their store right now:

These transit chairs by well-known American artist Boris Ballytransform recycled street signs into one-of-a-kind, handmade seating. The stainless steel hardware is rust proof, and recycled champagne corks are inserted on the bottom of the legs to protect floors.

Shovel chair by artist Nathan Smith (Nelson, B.C.)

via Reworks Upcycle Shop | Avenue Magazine.

6 Tips For Green Renovation –



For architects, builders and suppliers, Greenbuild is like Thanksgiving, Earth Day and a little bit of New Years all wrapped up into one. It’s a time to exchange ideas about sustainable construction, which for me is an opportunity to talk about how to plan for the resulting waste streams that every project generates.

You know, people are usually surprised to learn this, but managing waste is ranked by green building experts as the second most important element of environmental performance (just behind energy efficiency). To get you started on a path to success, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Make a plan

Before you tear down that kitchen wall or pull up an old carpet, make sure you have a plan to dispose of that waste. First, identify where you are going to send your materials to be recycled. Whether you have copper piping, lumber or linoleum, Earth911’s search database can be helpful in finding recycling facilities.

Next, establish a process for separating and collecting each type of waste for recycling. It’s more efficient and safer to collect materials from the start of a project, rather than sifting through a full mixed pile at the very end. With proper planning and careful sorting, almost all construction debris can be recycled. On some of the projects Waste Management has worked on, we were able to recycle more than 80 percent of total waste.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so if during a build, you are looking to earn LEED certification, keep in mind that some large construction teams use tracking systems, like WM’s Diversion and Recycling Tracking Tool, to collect data on their waste diversion rates. This information makes its easier to monitor (day or night) your recycling performance when applying for LEED certification. Home renovators may not need such a technical tracking system, but keeping tabs on your overall performance is important, too. Even if it’s just to share with your friends on Facebook.

2. Build with recycled materials

Save money and our environment’s resources by using recycled materials rather than new in your next construction project. There are many places to get “used” building materials, including Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations throughout the country or websites like and Here’s one example of building with recycled materials in WM’s Recycling Education Center in Houston.

3. Recycle wall materials

Cardboard, paper, plastics and metals can all be converted into new goods through traditional recycling methods, but the walls in your house can also be carefully recycled. First, remove all nails and screws from your clean wood and drywall scraps. Next, you can send larger, useable pieces to charities like Habitat for Humanity and the smaller scraps to specialized facilities to be processed.

Wood scraps can be recycled into mulch or biomass fuel. Biomass fuel – or tiny bits of wood and other organic material – is burned or gasified to produce renewable energy. Like wood recycling, drywall can be recycled in specialized facilities to be chopped up and made into new drywall.

4. Recycle roof materials

Thanks to new recycling technology, we can now recycle more than just bottles and cans. Check with waste collection facilities in your area to see if your roofing shingles can be recycled near you. Certain types of roofing shingles are made from asphalt, and can be recycled back into asphalt to pave roads in some areas.

5. Recycle floor materials

It’s important to recognize that from ceilings, to walls, to flooring, many construction materials are recyclable. Conduct some research to see what recycling facilities are available near you. Send your carpets to be broken down and reused to make everything from composite lumber to carpet cushion to automotive parts. Tile and crushed concrete can live a second life as gravel or dry aggregate for new concrete. Dirt, rock and sand can be used in landfills for Alternative Daily Cover (ADC), which when layered over incoming waste helps to keep those items contained.

6. Remember that it’s a cycle

Environmental performance doesn’t stop when you drive in the last nail. It’s important to remember that sustainability must continue during occupancy. So, build with recycling in mind. Design a space for a recycling container; since there’s very often little space for even an everyday waste receptacle (a lot of people squeeze a small container under the sink). Be vigilant when it comes to maintenance and keep tabs on different innovations that come out to make your home or office better for the environment.

According to Waste Business Journal, only 25 percent of construction and demolition waste is currently put to reuse. Recycling opportunities vary depending on your location, but when available it can really send this percentage much higher. Consider these tips next time you dust off your sledge hammer and saw. Even small residential projects can help drive us towards a zero waste future.

via 6 Tips For Green Renovation –

New Product Label To Promote Green Building Materials – Forbes

We live, we’re told, in an age of transparency.

I can point my iPhone at a box of cereal in the grocery store and GoodGuide will tell me how healthy it is for my family. Wikileaks has infamously bared the inner workings of the U.S. government for all to see. Twitter and Facebook have made it harder for companies to bury bad products and decisions.

Yet our homes and office buildings remain black boxes. Are there toxins in the wallboard? Were those hardwood floors sustainably produced? Can any of the building materials be recycled? Your guess is as good as mine.

That’s about to change, however. Perkins+Will, an international design firm, and Construction Specialties, an architectural products supplier, have teamed up to create what is apparently the first green label for building materials. It is first being applied, literally, to a commercial flooring product called the PediTred G4 made by Construction Specialties.

The label and a companion website details the components and recycled content of the flooring used in commercial building entrances, as well as where the components were manufactured and whether it meets indoor air quality standards.

“We spend about 90% of our time indoors so think of this a nutrition label for building products,” says Curt Fessler, a marketing and product development manager for Construction Specialties, also known as C/S.

Peter Syrett is an associate principal with Perkins+Will who worked on the label as a way to promote green building practices that minimize energy and water consumption and the use of toxic materials.

“Architects like myself often don’t know what they’re getting from their vendors or subvendors,” he notes. “In an age of information, the opacity is ironic.”

The construction industry, to put it mildly, is not known for embracing change or altering the way it has done business for decades. Getting the “product transparency label” to become an industry standard will be a challenge and some manufacturers will surely balk at disclosing product information they consider proprietary.

But Fessler and Syrett argue that the growing emphasis on green building techniques and a new generation of architects and designers will push demand for such transparency. If nothing else, providing such information could be a competitive advantage for building materials companies catering to those markets.

“I believe there’s a lot of architects and designers out there who value what products are made of,” says Syrett. “C/S has overcome the biggest hurdle already and that is just doing it.”

via New Product Label To Promote Green Building Materials – Forbes.

Demolition costs more than renting a bulldozer – Journal of Commerce

Just because you are old and you leak a little, it doesn’t mean you should be put down. I am also referring to buildings.

Charles Olfert

Architecture Matters

Charles Olfert

Most architects have heard “the greenest building is the one that already exists.” Consider how much energy it takes to create a new building.

Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation President, estimates constructing a new 5,000 square-meter commercial building releases about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 2.8 million miles.

Architecture Matters

Charles Olfert

He also notes it takes approximately 65 years for a green, energy-efficient new office building to recover the energy lost in demolition.

Most new buildings in Canada are certainly not designed to last anywhere near that long.

I would suggest the benefits of re-development go far beyond carbon reductions. Our cities desperately need the aesthetic diversity and cultural activity supported through adaptive re-use.

Given the benefits of re-use – why are so many buildings demolished? There are three basic reasons.

First, too many politicians still feel it is better to cut the ribbon in front of a brand new, relatively nondescript, glass box than make the necessary longer term commitment towards a comprehensive, complex urban redevelopment strategy.

The second factor is more complicated. Current building codes and civic building permit policies make it very difficult to save buildings. It seems an old building is automatically “grandfathered” as a non-compliant fire hazard as long as the use doesn’t change. However, once renovated, EVERYTHING needs to be “brought up to current standards”. Many developers try this once or twice and then simply throw up their hands in frustration.

Almost everyone appreciates a century old marble staircase with intricate wood posts and wrought iron railings. These stairs can function effectively for hundreds of years, but become immediately “unsafe and non-compliant” the minute a building changes use.

The issue of course is insurance and legal responsibility. Can you be “partially compliant” – who takes responsibility?

I am not advocating unsafe buildings. In fact, I am suggesting that many older buildings could be much safer if there were some flexibility in allowing small changes in use, with incremental safety improvements.

Many landlords and developers are not prepared to spend any money on an existing building because it is too expensive to do a complete code upgrade. Also discouraging – many of those upgrades destroy some of the best features of the building. The result is many attractive, older buildings sit empty or end up with marginal, illegal or existing unsafe uses.

The third factor is related to code issues and the subtle way regulations discourage mixing uses in buildings. For example there are typically and quite logically, fire separation requirements between building uses which can be very complicated.

As we try to encourage people to live downtown, we should seriously consider changes to the interpretation and application of zoning and building code requirements to make it safe, legal and cost effective to have people living above retail and restaurant facilities using our rapidly vanishing, but extremely valuable existing building stock.

Charles Olfert is the Architecture Canada | RAIC regional director for Manitoba/ Saskatchewan. He is part of an amateur Blues Band that practices in a heritage building.

The application of regulations typically discourages upgrades of this building as well as many others in the neighbourhood.

via Demolition costs more than renting a bulldozer – Journal of Commerce.

Christchurch earthquake | Records tossed in demolition… |

A demolition company levelling a central Christchurch building threw out valuable records and documents despite salvaging the cabinets and cupboards in which they were stored.

The Community House building at 141 Hereford St, occupied by welfare and social service groups, was badly damaged in the February earthquake and is being demolished by March Construction.

On September 30, the 23 tenants, who had hoped to re-enter the building to retrieve records, were told none of their property could be salvaged because the building was unsafe.

The same day, staff from one of the tenants, the Christchurch Small Business Enterprise Centre (CSBEC), were coincidentally shopping at the Salvage Warehouse in Heathcote, and found their paintings, filing cabinets, cupboards, interview room tables, a dishwasher and two computers for sale. They also saw their new water heater and the kitchen sink.

Another tenant, who cannot be named, recovered a laptop from the warehouse.

CSBEC manager Lindsay Jeffs said he was flabbergasted by his staff’s discovery given they had been clearly told nothing belonging to the tenants could be salvaged.

“This came as a bit of surprise to say the least,” Jeffs said. “It was apparently so dangerous for workers they could get nothing out but the items recovered were in some cases unbolted, cut out and would have had to be taken down the stairs.”

Jeffs said he was not really concerned about tables and cabinets, but was angry salvage workers had not considered the value of records and documents to the seven community organisations on the two floors. Tenants Protection Association manager Helen Gatonyi, whose organisation was on the first floor of the building, said she had also received the notification none of her organisation’s property could be rescued but she was now very skeptical.

Emails obtained by The Press show the Christchurch Community House Tenants’ Trust (CCHTT), which represents the tenants, was told on September 30 by the building’s owner, Canterbury Community Trust (CCT), that it had received confirmation 141 was “unsafe” and “that all our [CCT’s] efforts to salvage tenant property have not been successful, we are disappointed that we were not able to effect recovery but workers’ safety is paramount”.

The emails show the discovery of the items “totally gobsmacked” CCT which asked its project manager, property manager and March Construction for an explanation.

The correspondence shows a meeting on Friday last week revealed the third and fourth floors of the building were stripped and materials recycled as “the contractor claimed none was on the list provided”.

“We are disappointed with what has transpired. We have to accept that the actions of the demolition contractor were in accordance with the contract but not within the spirit of Community House,” trust manager Wayne Ward said, in one email.

March Construction general manager Nick Carvel said the company made no money from the recycled goods, which were handled by a subcontractor.

March had not received a list of items to be retrieved and it was not its job to sort through filing cabinets and contact owners.

via Christchurch earthquake | Records tossed in demolition… |

New McPherson venue to recycle items from site making way for museum

Oct 08, 2011 (The Hutchinson News – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — In coming months McPherson residents will see the former Cedars Nursing Home demolished to make way for a new, state-of-the-art McPherson Museum.

Although the building will be destroyed, much of its contents will be removed and recycled, both by Hutchinson-based Thane Enterprises, which is doing the demolition, as well as a newly-formed McPherson venture called the ReUse It Center.

An effort by the First Mennonite Church, the nonprofit ReUse It Center was formed with the help of an Eli Lily grant..

The center, which is set to open on Nov. 1, is located at 1060 W. Kansas Ave. and will sell new and used building materials, including some reclaimed from the Cedars Nursing Home.

“This originally was a dream of one of our members who had a construction business for years,” said First Mennonite Church Rev. Kathy Neufeld Dunn. “He got to see this from the builder’s side and said, ‘We always buy extra supplies and they end up in the dump. There has to be a way that others can use them.'” So we dreamed together and got some seed money and this is where we are today.” Dunn said while the center is doing some reclamation work at the nursing home, its business model depends on builders, contractors and citizens donating extra supplies from their own renovation projects.

Proceeds from the sale of recycled building supplies will be split evenly between local ministries that serve those in need and the Mennonite Central Committee, the Mennonite Church’s global relief and development arm.

“None of the proceeds come back to First Mennonite Church,” Dunn said. “We want to serve those who have needs locally and globally.” Some of the items the ReUse It Center removed from the nursing home included hand rails, doors and cabinetry.

For more information on how to donate or purchase materials from the center, call the church office at (620) 241-4040.

via New McPherson venue to recycle items from site making way for museum.

From Scrap To Stylish Stump: Recycled Timber Furniture By Ubico Studio – TreeHugger


We admit it: we can’t get enough of stump-themed furniture. And now, from Tel Aviv-based Ubico Studio comes this tongue-in-cheek creation, made from salvaged wood scraps, glued together and skillfully shaped to give the appearance of wholesome stumpiness.


Inspired by the Christian wake ceremony and recently seen over at Designboom, this seating collection is simply titled “Wake.” The eco-minded Ubico Studio, which centers around “urban gathering and reclaiming,” salvages its raw materials from dumpsters, renovation sites and the streets, and gives some details about how these stump-mimicking works were made:

The furniture [is] made of relatively small pieces of scrap timber cut to extremely accurate sizes and then glued together in a matrix to a block. The blocks are then carved into tree stump-like shapes.



Granted, these adorable pieces are more like postmodernist versions of real tree stumps. But they’ve got the right idea about recycling wood scraps that would otherwise be discarded, and transforming them into down-to-earth yet sleek furniture that could grace any tastefully decorated living space.

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More on Recycled Wood Furniture
Salvaged Tree Stump Furniture By Denis Milovanov
Making Sidetables from Stumps
Tree Stump Coffee Table: Because We Can

before & after: sofa made from old doors | Design*Sponge

You know my love of “frankenfurniture” (a neologism I’m desperately trying to spread around), and it should come as no surprise that I adore this sofa that D*S reader John Doucet made from old doors. Now the key to successful frankenfurniture is not just a novel idea of how to combine or turn one furniture object into another, it’s also the execution. A sofa made from old doors could be a big old mess if designed poorly, which is why I admire John’s piece all the more. I love the look of the subtle tilt, the decision to leave the old metal details and the hours of work John put into stripping the doors down to their beautiful raw state. This is a truly gorgeous piece, and for $55 (!), you could not score something of this quality in a million years. Can you tell I want one of my own? 🙂 Wonderful job, John! — Kate

via before & after: sofa made from old doors | Design*Sponge.

Matfield green home rebuilt with recycled materials |

When Kansas City photographer Elaine Jones undertook remodeling her home in Matfield Green, she didn’t make a trip to the local hardware store for materials like most people. Instead, she made a trip to the junk yard.

In a “period of transition,” Jones moved to Matfield Green from Kansas City because she wanted to help with the restoration and research the Land Institute was in Matfield Green to do.

The Salina based-organization founded by Wes Jackson spent several years in Matfield Green researching ways small agrarian communities can survive in modern society while maintaining the prairie land. Jones was already involved in the Flint Hills area, having worked with the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and as a tour guide for several writers including “PrairyErth” author William Least Heat-Moon.

“I was sold on the idea of the Flint Hills to begin with,” said Jones. “I really couldn’t just go anyplace, because what would I do? I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “The obvious place was where the Land Institute was already developing a presence there.”

Jones said when she told Land Institutes founder Wes Jackson she was moving to Matfield Green, he didn’t like the idea.

“He said, ‘Over my dead body,’” said Jones. “I don’t want some Johnson County housewife coming out here and bringing a lot of people here. We aren’t doing that sort of thing.’ It was kind of a joke between us. He says he never said that.” Continue reading Matfield green home rebuilt with recycled materials |

Reclamation Administration: News and Research on Building Material Waste Prevention