matter! where art and sustainability hang together – via Upcycling


matter! is a contemporary fine art gallery featuring original artworks from over 100 artists using recycled and reclaimed materials; sculpture, garden art, furniture, lighting, jewelry, paintings and other wall art. If you have questions about an artwork or artist, need help buying a gift, or want to learn about artworks on the way, email or call! And if you’re anywhere near Olympia, WA – come visit! We’re open everyday. Check out a slideshow of some of the stuff at matter!

To shop now, you can browse by category or by artist on the matter! website. Have fun! matter! was started by these fascinating people:

Owner & General Manager: Jo Gallaugher

Jo has 20 years business experience and a long-standing love for artworks incorporating reclaimed materials. She holds an MBA from University of California Irvine, and a BA in Political Science from University of Washington. Jo has primarily concentrated on west coast artists while gathering works for matter!, but has begun to expand geographically. She is continually on the lookout for artists creating beautiful artworks with repurposed materials.

Photographer & Art Accomplice: Bob Snell

Bob was trained as a commercial photographer, but quickly decided mainstream commercial photography wasn’t for him. In addition to being the sole art photographer for matter!, he has done several photography shows featuring his original works… choosing everything from stripper shoes to metropolitan skylines as subject matter. His goal is to honestly capture the crazy inventiveness inherent in all that is human.

via matter! where art and sustainability hang together.

Upcoming Event: Building Reuse Summit

Join us during Greenbuild for a how-to summit on increasing recovery and reuse of construction waste.

Register at

Each year in the US alone, over 300,000 buildings are demolished, with the majority of the material ending up in the landfill (US EPA 2003). This results in a significant amount of valuable materials including concrete, asphalt roofing, bricks, metals and lumber being unnecessarily disposed of.

Recovering and reusing construction materials results in the retention of capital resources and supports local jobs. Come learn from industry and government leaders how they are facilitating the recovery and reuse of valuable materials from construction waste with positive economic results.

Topics include

– The role of regulators and policy makers in developing markets for construction waste recovery and reuse.

– Tools for designers and contractors to facilitate recovery and reuse of construction materials today

– See the full agenda at

Who should attend?

– Regulators: Government officials and regulators responsible for waste policy, licensing of deconstruction and demolition contractors, development, and specific building policies

– Demolition & Waste Sector: Demolition contractors, landfill operators, transfer station operators, and C&D recyclers

– Industry Professionals: Architects, structural engineers, building contractors, specification writers, building owners and portfolio managers

About the Venue

The Fermenting Cellar of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery, originally constructed in 1859, is located in the critically acclaimed Distillery Historic District. The building was repurposed as a venue, and still features the original heavy timber beams and trusses, and Kingston limestone walls.

The Distillery District is located in Toronto’s downtown core minutes away from Toronto’s financial district and has become the premiere site to hold an event in Toronto. There are many reasons, beginning with the truly magical setting. One of Ontario’s hottest tourist attractions, The Distillery District is an internationally acclaimed 13-acre village of brick-lined streets and dozens of vibrantly restored Victorian Industrial buildings. And pedestrian-only, means no cars to spoil the magic (but plenty of parking is nearby).

Register now at

Registration Details


Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

8:30 AM–4:30 PM


Fermenting Cellar

55 Mill Street

Toronto, ON


Full day: $185

Half-day: $110

Keynote Speakers

Sadhu Johnston

Deputy City Manager, Vancouver

Nadav Malin

President, BuildingGreen

See a full agenda at

Space is limited, register now at

via Upcoming Event: Building Reuse Summit.

The Mountain Press – Landfill fire quickly contained – Tennessee

Firefighters work to smother a blaze at the landfill.

Firefighters work to smother a blaze at the landfill.

Read more: The Mountain Press – Landfill fire quickly contained 

PIGEON FORGE — A fire Friday evening at the landfill on Ridge Road spread quickly over a couple acres of construction and demolition waste, but fortunately never threatened structures or surrounding woods.With the help of a bulldozer operated by a Sevier Solid Waste employee, crews from five fire departments were able to quickly knock the blaze down, leaving a large cloud of thick smoke the only problem. In dealing with that, Emergency Management Director John Mathews issued his first reverse 911, a system that calls people in the area of an emergency to give them warning.”My main concern out of all of this is the smoke,” Pigeon Forge Fire Department Chief Tony Watson said. “Its not something we want spreading, since weve got those construction materials burning in there, so weve got to control it.”While neither Watson nor Mathews expected the haze to cause serious environmental or health problems, they wanted to issue a warning for residents who live near the landfill out of “an abundance of caution,” Watson said.

via The Mountain Press – Landfill fire quickly contained.

Five local groups get grants from Environmental Protection Agency – LA

Matthew Hinton, The Times-Picayune archive Louisiana Green Corps members Devin Chaney, right, and Jalicia Branch were photographed in Lafayette Square during a Green Jobs Now rally in September 2008.


The grants announced at a ceremony Wednesday at the New Orleans Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue were:

Louisiana Green Corps, $300,000 environmental job training grant to train low-income residents for jobs in energy efficiency and green building; solar and/or solar thermal system installation; and materials reuse, deconstruction and recycling. The program will last two years. The Green Corps acts as a recycling center for paint and construction materials and provides those materials for rebuilding projects in the city.

Global Green USA, $100,000 green jobs pilot program grant for

Read more

via Five local groups get grants from Environmental Protection Agency.

10 Sources for Reclaimed Living | Apartment Therapy Marketplace


10 Sources for Reclaimed Living

Much like the growing slow food movement, in which people want to know more about where their food comes from, there is an increased interest amongst people buying furniture and building new homes who want to feel connected to the materials used throughout their space. Sourcing reclaimed woods for anything from tabletops to flooring is a good idea for many reasons – not only is it an environmentally friendly approach to design, but salvaged materials contain a rich history in all their notches and nail holes. If you have an interest in living the reclaimed life, then check out these ten stores and services in our Marketplace for bringing natural, handmade furniture into your home.



Old Barn Reclaimed Wood Co : A massive retailer of high-quality reclaimed wood products, this company offers recycled flooring, lumber, furniture and wood paneling. With materials pulled from 19th century

barns, tobacco warehouses, textile mills and factories, you can bet the pieces made from Old Barn are full of character.

Crofthouse083011Croft House – Modern Reclaimed Wood Furniture : This LA-based company is a great local producer of handmade furniture and home decor. With a focus on sustainable materials, Croft House’s designs are simple, sophisticated and offered at a practical price point.


Danielstrack083011Daniel Strack Furniture : In addition to his use of reclaimed wood for his original furniture designs with eco-friendly finishes, this Chicago-based designer also creates a beautiful line of guitars. Custom work is also an option.


Industrywest083011Industry West : From Jacksonville, FL comes this company with a goal “to help you create a more intriguing environment for your home.” Their inventory includes recreations of 19th and 20th century furniture pieces made from metal, distressed fabrics and reclaimed woods.


Cliff083011Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker : With an aim to evoke warmth and create comfort in the home through each piece, Cliff Spencer offers custom designed furniture and cabinetry while specializing in lesser known hardwoods. All wood is hand sourced in California.


Environmentfurniture083011Environment Furniture : With showrooms in New York, LA and Atlanta, this California-based design house specializes in timeless contemporary collections of furniture that respect the planet. Using unique, sustainably harvested wood like patinaed Brazilian Peroba Rosa wood and salvaged maritime shipping beams, each piece from Environment Furniture is full of rustic elegance.

Americanbarn083011American Barn Company : Started by contractor Jay Wikary, this company has recently relocated to Friendship, Wisconsin, where he continues to source the best local reclaimed materials possible to produce all kinds of home decor products and lumber. American Barn Company also accepts custom order requests.

Meyerwells083011Meyer Wells : Using the grand reclaimed trees of Seattle’s urban areas as the source materials for their line of modern furnishings, Meyer Wells has created a hands-on production process that makes use out of materials that would normally be considered part of the waste stream.


Fromthesource083011From the Source : With their eclectic mix of antique and contemporary pieces made from plantation grown and reclaimed wood, this company offers solely unupholstered pieces, primarily made from teak. With furniture available for all areas of the home, From the Source has a gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood as well as a design house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Reclaimedmain03083011The Brooklyn Home Company : This design house is made up of a family-run cooperative of artists and craftsman dedicated to creating quality and classic, well-designed living spaces. Based in Brooklyn, the RISD-trained team at The Brooklyn Home Company is focused on designing homes that will endure.

via 10 Sources for Reclaimed Living | Apartment Therapy Marketplace.

Upcycling Becomes a Treasure Trove for Green Ideas –

Reusing, and Diversifying

Upcycling can be a boon to existing businesses as well. For Hammer & Hand, a Portland, Ore., design-build construction firm, upcycling became a jobs-saving revenue stream during the recession. It began a decade ago, when co-founder and president Sam Hagerman quit using dumpsters.

“I was writing the garbage man a $10,000 check every month, and I realized that could support a living wage and a half,” he says. So he bought a truck and started an in-house recycling system in the yard of the office building (which boasts flooring made from recycled bleacher seats).

From then on, Hagerman took reusable parts from construction sites–framing components, light fixtures, appliances and lumber. “I realized we could get a beautiful pile of lumber for free,” he says, “and turn around and add value to it.”

When the construction industry got a walloping in 2008, Hagerman weathered the downturn by entering the upcycled furniture market, along with the home energy and the handyman business. “We saved the jobs of 40 people,” he says. “We got creative by necessity, but we changed our business because it also makes financial sense.”

If there is a downside to upcycling, Hagerman says, it’s the inefficiencies related to organizing, moving and storing the supply. Regardless of how cheap any reclaimed materials are, they can represent a huge waste of energy and time if you don’t already have a purpose in mind when you take possession of them. Plus, there’s the danger of running out. “You can’t develop a line of something, because there’s no guaranteed way to get more of the material,” he says.

via Upcycling Becomes a Treasure Trove for Green Ideas –

Campbell River Mirror – In demolition, old school teaches three Rs


Bob Clarke of Coast Realty Group takes works to remove a coat hanger from one of the old classrooms inside the former Campbellton school.

By Kristen Douglas – Campbell River Mirror

Published: August 30, 2011 1:00 PM

Updated: August 30, 2011 1:40 PM

Pieces of the old Campbellton school will help provide needy families with new homes.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers, along with Coast Realty staff, have been salvaging what they can from the old, abandoned building. The recovered items will be sold, with the proceeds going towards construction materials for new homes.

“We do these salvage operations for two reasons – it keeps materials from entering the landfill and we raise funds for our mission, to build homes for people who need them,” said Ken Miller of Habitat for Humanity Campbell River.

Coast Realty Group, who works for the new owner of the old building, contacted Habitat for Humanity to give permission to take what they can from inside the facility.

Miller and his crew have been dismantling parts of the school for about a month now and figure they’ll be working for about another week more.

Volunteer Terri Chalaturnyk, from Coast Realty Group, found not only precious recyclables but a keepsake of sorts.

Behind a cabinet was a dusty piece of ripped, orange construction paper with a note written by two students on May 23,1968. It reads: “Campbellton is the best school by far. We went to this school.”

Volunteers have also pulled out blackboards, coat hooks, breaker panels, basketball netting and hoops, a stage in the gymnasium and tons of plywood – some pieces up to 10 feet long.

The material is then turned over to the ReStore on Willow Street, which sells the items for 50 to 70 per cent off retail prices. The proceeds then go towards Habitat for Humanity’s building program which provides housing for low income families.

Miller, who manages the local ReStore, said de-construction and salvage operations have been ongoing in Courtenay for the past three years, and would like to see the program get going in Campbell River. So far, Habitat for Humanity crews have salvaged parts from an old home on Racepoint Drive and from a mini-storage in Campbellton.

“We hope to do more of this, we’re hoping to take down more houses – and we’ll take it down completely,” Miller said. “We’d love to have more people donate materials and homeowners are eligible for a tax receipt for all materials we’re able to sell.”

And demand for the materials is huge.

“The shelf-life of the wood is about a few minutes once I get it to the store,” Miller said. “I’ll have about 15 people a week come by and ask ‘when can I get plywood?’ I have the clientele that want the material, so if there’s people who have the material to fill that bill, it’s great.”

Habitat for Humanity has so far been able to house two families in Campbell River. The society built a duplex on Maple Street in 2009 and it hopes to build more.

Miller said the group hopes to see a fall start, but housing all hinges on whether there’s land available that the city is willing to part with.

The materials taken from Campbellton School, which was sold by School District 72 to E&D Properties Ltd. in late June, will go to the Campbell River ReStore but will go towards housing projects in both the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

via Campbell River Mirror – In demolition, old school teaches three Rs.

Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Wastecon 2011: Raising the C&D Diversion Roof

In addition to the economics of construction and demolition (C&D) materials recycling having improved, state legislation and local ordinances also have driven more C&D recycling. That was part of the message from panelists at a session on C&D recycling at Wastecon, the annual convention of SWANA (the Solid Waste Association of North America).

Speaker Richard Ludt of Interior Removal Specialist Inc. (IRS), South Gate, Calif., noted how a number of ordinances enacted in Southern California have affected C&D scrap diversion flows in his market region.

Reacting to California Assembly Bill 939, which was passed in 1989 with the goal of increasing landfill diversion to 50 percent, municipalities enacted a variety of ordinances affecting C&D materials, Ludt said.

Ludt said some communities have required contractors to pay a deposit that will not be returned until their project is finished and they can prove they reached a specified landfill diversion or recycling rate. Such arrangements were not always well received by contractors and also tended to create extensive recordkeeping and accounting systems for the municipalities.

Ludt praised the city of Los Angeles for creating “possibly the simplest C&D ordinance I have seen.” In Los Angeles, C&D materials must be taken to certified facilities that have been audited and approved by the city. “They reach their desired recycling percentage by permitting [facilities] carefully,” said Ludt. “Builders like it because there is no deposit and city staff like it because there is no tracking of deposit payments.”

Speaker Miriam Zimms of Kessler Consulting Inc., Tampa, Fla., provided an overview of C&D recycling in several regions where municipalities or solid waste districts have tried approaches to spur recycling.

In King County, Wash., Zimms said agencies there are providing considerable technical support, have streamlined the permitting process and offer grants tied to “green building” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects. These initiatives have been enough to boost the C&D materials landfill diversion rate to 83 percent in King County, according to Zimms.

Metro Portland, Ore., is another region where LEED projects are abundant, and in fact new Metro Portland government buildings are required to seek LEED certification, said Zimms. Builders in the region are mandated to recycle 75 percent of their scrap materials, although Zimms said only 45 percent of projects may be in compliance with this mandate.

In her home state of Florida, Zimms said C&D recycling has grown to the point where there are now more than 120 C&D recycling facilities in the Sunshine State, although Florida’s overall C&D materials diversion percentage may be no greater than about 27 percent.

Wastecon 2011 was Aug. 23-25 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.

via Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Wastecon 2011: Raising the C&D Diversion Roof.

Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

 Since 2008, Hayes-Chute has been building these quirky huts, hermitages and shacks while exploring themes of self-sufficiency, self-preservation and self-exclusion. Built completely out of salvaged wood, found materials and vintage and antique goods, the huts are piecemeal – as though they were constructed slowly over time. Hayes-Chutes builds these shacks inside museums and galleries so visitors can tour through them and experience a mode of living that is normally inaccessible.

via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland lets artist pick through rubbish — and recycle art |


Mike Suri, William Rihel, Ben Dye and Leslie Vigeant sit in an impromptu living room/talk show set constructed at the transfer station by Rihel. He makes these kinds of stage sets almost every time he visits there. “It’s easy enough to find a decent roll of carpet and several functioning pieces of furniture, some fake plants,” he says. “Soon it starts to resemble the places that all these objects came from. Setting up scenes or temporary sculptures with the objects at hand is kind of like sketching on the train. Things are changing so fast that you have to act quick and pay a lot of attention.” Minutes after this shot was taken, the set was swept away by the front loader and the materials were prepped for the landfill.


via Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland lets artist pick through rubbish — and recycle art |

City Museum – St. Louis, MO

The City Museum is the Mecca of all reuse destinations. The creativity, scale, craftsmanship, and sheer amount of material reuse is breathtaking.  If ever there is a place that will restore faith in the ingenuity of humans, the City Museum is in the top two (the first being developing countries). 

Check out the site and then get in a car, bike or take a flight to St. Louis and see the City Museum – it will change your life!


1-to-1 Conversion: Single-Piece, Reused-Wood Pallet Chair | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

They are so commonplace within industrial districts you almost don’t notice them – stacks of usable and broken pallets made of plastic, metal and wood, just waiting for someone to program them into something fresh and useful again.

Younger cousins to the increasingly-famous cargo container (widely used both in shipping and, more recently, architecture), the wooden pallet is used to transport things like furniture from place to place via ships, trains, trucks and fork lifts.

Using pieces from precisely one pallet per seat, this design was modeled after careful structural considerations, scale model testing and much thought about how to take the fewest steps possible from old to new uses.

Pierre Vede preserves the appearance (and thus: the associations) of these ubiquitous building-and-transport blocks, modifying them minimally and adding a few off-the-shelf IKEA cushions to the chair as a finishing touch for human comfort.

via 1-to-1 Conversion: Single-Piece, Reused-Wood Pallet Chair | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Habitat’s ReStore partners with College Hunks –



The Morris Habitat ReStore accepts furniture, appliances, plumbing fixtures and much more. While the ReStore provides free pick-up services, it usually takes a minimum of two weeks to schedule. Now donors have the option of pick-up within 48 hours through College Hunks.

Additionally, buyers can also take advantage of the College Hunks services for delivery of large items purchased at the ReStore. A truck has been dedicated for Morris Habitat use every Tuesday, to deliver purchased ReStore items to customers’ homes.



via Habitat’s ReStore partners with College Hunks –

Salvaged Building Materials Shopping Advice | Architectural Salvage

Selection of salvaged doors for sale

When shopping for salvaged windows or doors, make sure they’re square and the hardware is functional. Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Read more:

Buying your sinks, mantels, windows, and other remodeling materials from a salvage yard or one of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores pays double environmental dividends.

First, using recycled and salvaged building materials keeps those products out of a landfill. Second, you reduce demand for the energy and raw materials needed to manufacture a new fixture or building component.

On the big plus side: salvaged building materials are beautiful examples of a bygone era when craftsmanship was king.

Successful salvage shopping takes some savvy to get what you need and avoid headaches when it comes to fitting your salvaged treasures into your remodeling project. Try these tips for remodeling with repurposed materials:

Measure, then re-measure, then ask someone to check your measurements before you buy so you’re confident the materials will fit into your home.

Check to make sure old windows and doors are square, and that small parts, such as hinges and door hardware are functional, or at least can be repaired or replaced.

Balance your budget. Unusual and antique materials aren’t necessarily cheap — you could pay more trying to fit a vintage pedestal sink into your small bath than you would for a modern pedestal sink on sale at a home store.

Check dimensions carefully. Standard sizes, such as door thickness and the size of framing lumber, have changed over the years. Ask the store manager about the product you plan to use and how it compares to modern materials.

Is there enough? You may love a set of vintage oak cabinets, but you might need more than what’s available at the salvage store. Get creative by mixing old and new materials, or using fill-ins, such as shelves.

Watch for hidden hazards. Years ago, folks didn’t recognize the dangers of lead paint and asbestos. Old wiring may not meet modern electrical codes. Ask the store manager if they examine and test their products.

Get an expert. Hiring a contractor who has experience working with recycled materials can help you overcome most of the challenges of working with repurposed materials. Ask the manager of your local salvage store, or friends who’ve done similar projects, who they’d recommend.

Got a great use for a salvaged building materials? Give us your insights!

via Salvaged Building Materials Shopping Advice | Architectural Salvage. Where recycling meets design | Tree House




Tree House

‘When Christiana Wyly was in high school in Switzerland, she read the Italo Calvino novel “Il Barone Rampante,” or “The Baron in the Trees,” and was captivated by its story of a boy who climbs into the trees and stays there for the rest of his life. Nearly a decade later, Ms. Wyly, an investor and a director of Zaadz, a sort of MySpace for the spiritual and environmentally conscious set, was still thinking about the book when she commissioned a 150-square-foot, $75,000 treehouse to serve as both a guest cottage and a refuge for herself and her daughter, Viola, at their home in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County. Designed by Roderick Romero, an artist and musician in Manhattan who builds treehouses under the name Romero Studios, the house, completed in February, is shaped like a Moroccan lantern (to match the Moroccan furniture in the main house 100 feet away) and made of salvaged redwood from old olive oil tanks (the top and bottom are copper). Mr. Romero covered the staircase — eucalyptus branches fastened to eucalyptus railings and arches by hidden screws — with resin and salt; when the salt dissolved, it left little indentations, giving the steps traction. Ms. Wyly, 25, said she visits her treehouse retreat daily, to read, meditate and practice yoga, and to spend time with Viola, 4. “It’s a quiet space,” she said, “completely silent except for the wind moving through the trees.” ‘

Quoted and picture:

via Where recycling meets design | Tree House.

TheSpec – Buried treasures – Canada

Buried treasures

The thing that most of us do not have in common with archeologists is the patience required for their work. How many of us would be content to painstakingly brush away millennia worth of soil with a paintbrush?

That’s also true of the urban archeology that is now uncovering vestiges of Hamilton’s past in the historic Treble Hall on John Street North. Owner Jeff Feswick and son Michael are “deconstructing” the interior of the 1879 building, carefully peeling back walls, ceilings, floors and the detritus of about 130 years. They have discovered a fascinating array of artifacts, ranging from used corsets to curious old bottles. (The story, photographs and video are on

Suddenly, it’s not just a derelict downtown building any more. It’s a place when Victorian-era Hamiltonians worked, played, performed, did business and perhaps lived. The “ghosts” of 19th-century Hamilton (in the non-spooky sense) are revealed.

Not every building owner or developer can do this. The pressures of time, banks, loans and business most often demand that such work be done with speed. But can we imagine, if everyone had the patience of Jeff Feswick, what stories are left to be told, what ghosts slumber in Hamilton’s old attics and cellars?

So, thanks to Feswick and son for finding and preserving a little of Hamilton’s intriguing past. The city is richer for their interest and patience.

Robert Howard

via TheSpec – Buried treasures.

The Herald-Sun – A thrift shop for building materials


DURHAM – Richard W. Morgan Jr. has opened a store in downtown Durham, the ReUse Warehouse, that’s like a thrift shop for building materials.

In a 8,500-square-foot space at 800 Taylor St., Morgan is selling surplus new as well as used materials from porcelain tile to used cabinets, commercial-grade carpets, old doors and antique bricks that he said are priced lower than their original retail value.

The warehouse is near the new location of the nonprofit The Scrap Exchange in the East Village Plaza that’s owned by Julio Cordoba. The property is next to Golden Belt and is also part of what was historically a textile mill facility.

“The mission is to divert material from the landfill, period,” Morgan said of the mission of the business’ nonprofit partner, the California-based The ReUse People of America.

The nonprofit repurposes building materials to keep them out of landfills. Morgan said that since the store is a partner with the nonprofit, homeowners or others can receive a tax deduction for making a donation of building materials.

He also sells items on consignment in the shop, with a portion of the sales price from the items going to original owner.

Morgan, a loan officer for Harrington Bank who is running the ReUse Warehouse business on the side, said he believes God had a hand in the location and launch of the new business.

“I can see his hand in everything,” he said.

Morgan said he started planning for the for-profit ReUse Warehouse a year and a half ago, and has gotten a lot of support from his father, Richard Morgan, who owns the longtime downtown home furnishings retailer and gift shop Morgan Imports.

He said his father has supplied a large amount of material for the shop, since his father has a partnership with Triangle Flooring out of Cary that has surplus materials from big construction jobs.

Morgan said he also is looking to gather materials from homeowners looking to demolish their property, or who in donations from homeowners who would pay for a deconstruction in exchange for a tax deduction.

Inside his shop, he pointed to a corner containing cabinetry, an oven, and a kitchen countertop taken from a home in Hope Valley that was sold and was targeted for a renovation by the new owner.

“It was a whole house remodel,” he said.

Morgan said he believes the tax benefit of a donation would offset the additional cost of a deconstruction project, as opposed to doing a demolition. But he said the company is also looking into bidding on demolitions to be able to access the materials as well.

He said he expects to see business for the store generated from customers looking to do remodels, and said he believes the slow-to-recover economy will be on his side, as consumers are looking for a good deal.

Ted Reiff, president of ReUse People of America, said the nonprofit has seen deconstruction drop by 20 to 25 percent from a high in 2007 or 2008, but he said retail sales have increased.

The nonprofit partners with seven other stores scattered throughout the country, and also operates two of its own. Reiff attributed the increase in retail sales to more people focusing more on own home renovation projects rather than new construction.

“A lot of people have downsized their projects, and they’ve also found that reused materials are often just as good as new materials, and they’re priced significantly less,” he said.

On Monday, Hillsborough resident Carey Collins was in the ReUse Warehouse of Durham looking at materials for a home renovation. Collins said he’s also a contractor with the company MCN Woodcraft.

He said he has bought building materials from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which also sells donated surplus building materials, but he said he’s seen a decline in the available supply as a result of a drop-off in new construction.

He said the stores are helpful for selling items at lower prices.

“It looks like (Morgan) is getting enough volume of product where you can actually plan something,” he said.

via The Herald-Sun – A thrift shop for building materials.

Most debris from old IWU library salvaged for reuse

Heavy machinery for Stark Excavating dug into the basement area of the former Sheean Library at Illinois Wesleyan University, Tuesday, August 16, 2011. Materials from the demolition are being recycled. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

Read more:

In razing its old library, Illinois Wesleyan University didn’t just send a bunch of crumbled rock to a landfill. Most building materials were salvaged for reuse and some, in fact, will play a part in the university’s future.

Stark Excavating crews, handling the demolition of the former Sheean Library, have spent July and August separating metals and concrete masonry as they knock down the sturdy 45-year-old structure.

Much of the crushed concrete will create a “lay-down yard” for a new classroom building, creating a graveled space for equipment storage and other uses.

A construction date for the new building won’t be set until fund-raising is complete.

“Almost none of (Sheean) goes into the garbage,” said Stark spokesman Garry Moore, explaining it’s become the norm in the past two decades to try to recycle materials in commercial demolitions. “Recycling is really something our whole society needs to be doing.”

Illinois Wesleyan leaders agree, and say the project is an application of the school’s sustainability

focus. Sheean closed when Ames Library opened in January 2002.

“It’s just good practice. It’s a common courtesy anymore to recycle,” said IWU physical plant director Bud Jorgenson. “The easy way out would be to just throw it all away. But that’s not right.”

Culling mercury, glass

Other materials, such as fluorescent lamps, are sent to specialists who cull reusable mercury and glass, Jorgenson said.

Recycling Sheean’s building materials helps IWU meet construction standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, he said.

Most of Sheean’s recycled materials will come from the building’s concrete masonry and bricks. Stark uses a giant jackhammer on a backhoe to crush concrete; a grapple device can pinch materials and then crush those, too, said Moore.

Economical approach

Recycling is not just good for the environment, it’s also economical. “It would cost Illinois Wesleyan to dump, and that’s expensive,” said Moore, who said transportation adds to the cost.

Boston-based architects Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott designed the new building, which will house tech-savvy classrooms, resource rooms, study areas and faculty offices for business administration and economics departments.

Shepley Bulfinch also designed the $25.7 million Ames Library and the $7.1 million Hansen Student Center renovation.

via Most debris from old IWU library salvaged for reuse.

At Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, business is booming –


This is a showroom at ReStore. Habitat for Humanity opens its third ReStore in the area. The home improvement center offers deep discounts on appliances, furniture, cabinetry and other building materials and supplies with all profit going to Habitat’s building programs. (Baltimore Sun photo by Joe Soriero / August 22, 2011)

By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

6:21 a.m. EDT, August 23, 2011

Norma Thompson spent much of Monday dusting, polishing and sprucing up items that will fill a soon-to-open home improvement store in Halethorpe. The hours she volunteers with Habitat for Humanity’s newest ReStore will help this Baltimore grandmother, who works as a housekeeper at a downtown hotel, earn a home of her own.

Each prospective homeowner must provide Habitat volunteer hours, and Thompson is doing just that at the nonprofit organization’s third ReStore in the metropolitan area. She has her eye on several items that will go on sale Saturday, when the discount center opens in a Halethorpe business park. She is picturing them in the East Baltimore townhouse that she hopes will be her home sometime next year.

“I love making all this stuff look new and pretty,” said Thompson, 60.

ReStores, which number more than 700 nationwide, sell new, surplus or gently used appliances, furniture, cabinets, flooring and building materials and turn the profits over to Habitat’s building projects. Mike Mitchell, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, said the stores are building homes and saving the environment by keeping many usable items from going into a landfill.

“Every store helps us to address the housing crisis,” he said. “This really is social enterprise at its best.”

In 2008, the two metropolitan outlets combined to donate $1.2 million to Habitat, said Mark Bendann, chief operating officer for the local Habitat.


more via At Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, business is booming –

Ondagumi president Chuya Onda | The Japan Times Online

News photo

Ondagumi president Chuya Onda


Chuya Onda, 68, is the president of Ondagumi, one of Japan’s biggest hikiya companies. Hikiya specialize in deconstructing, rebuilding and moving buildings. They are also experts at lifting up houses in order to make them earthquake-proof with special high-tech materials. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, Onda’s company has been overwhelmed with the demolition aspect of his business. If a building is too dangerous to use, Onda and his team must demolish it. If it is merely tilted, then Ondagumi will straighten it out. Onda is well known as a tough guy who knows no fear when it comes to blowing up buildings, but when it comes to his wife — even after 42 years of marriage — he still gets weak in the knees.

Anyone can demolish a structure, but the real trick is to lift up and move a whole building without spilling the tea on the table. That’s what we do. We prepare for two weeks and then voilà, we raise the whole building with all the furniture inside it and move it so smoothly that everything stays exactly as it was when we began our work. The furniture, the dishes — nothing is disturbed. The homeowners could even sit on the sofa and sip tea as we move their whole house, but usually they want to watch the process so they remain outside taking photos.

Japanese buildings might look weak, but they are strong. Three top U.S. demolition teams came to Japan and tried to blow up typical Japanese homes with dynamite. The results were surprising: no team succeeded! The spots where the dynamite was placed were damaged, but the rest of the building was undisturbed. The kind of effect one sees in other countries, where even high-rise buildings crumble once some floors get severely damaged, just doesn’t happen in Japan because all structures are built to withstand quakes.

Instead of cutting down a tree or demolishing a house, save it by moving it to a new location. Japanese cities grew quite organically, so their roads are very narrow. Once the need for wider roads arose, starting in the Edo Period, Japanese moved trees and buildings by a few meters to make room for road construction.

Continue reading this article here

via Ondagumi president Chuya Onda | The Japan Times Online.

Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent – NJ

The High Line in Manhattan — a defunct elevated railway retrofitted into a dynamic public park — is a raging success. While said success is a complicated equation, for art lovers, one of the major attractions the High Line offers is a revolving schedule of temporary artworks in and around the park — for the pleasure of visitors and neighborhood locals alike.

Here in Jersey City, the 6th Street Embankment is the rogue cousin of Manhattan’s High Line. While experts and architects differ on whether a redeveloped Embankment could actually replicate the High Line’s success, the six-block former rail spur, long abandoned and overgrown with foliage, is an untapped resource begging for artistic intervention.

That’s where ReNew ReUse ReConnect (RRR) comes into play. The project, organized by Anne McTernan and Sophie Penkrat, is a Jersey City public art initiative dedicated to the Embankment with a curated program of temporary installations that are designed to draw attention to the structure. McTernan and Penkrat were awarded $695 at one of last year’s Pro Arts Art Eat-Ups by for their RRR proposal, and now they need artists.

RRR will be a two-day temporary exhibit taking place during this fall’s Jersey City Artists’ Studio Tour on the evenings of October 1 and 2, from 7 to 10 pm. The site-specific installations will be located in the alley adjacent to the Embankment, running between Jersey Avenue and Monmouth Street.

Initially, the deadline for participation was July 29. McTernan and Penkrat have extended the deadline to solicit more proposals, so if you have an idea, email them ASAP at annemacdesign (at) or sophie.penkrat (at)

via Submissions Wanted for ‘ReNew ReUse ReConnect’ Public Art Initiative | The Jersey City Independent.

Supermodel Tatjana Patitz reuses salvage in her California home –

Tatjana Patitz’s kitchen with salvaged wood sink and 1960s stove [photo Living etc

California, USA – Hidden away among towering pines and orange groves, Tatjana Patitz’s California home, full of flowers, foliage and double-height windows that draw the outside in, is at one with the nature on her doorstep. An outdoor bamboo rainshower and reclaimed stone tub create an indulgent, Japanese-style bathroom, French doors open onto a plant-filled outdoor terrace with a cushion-strewn daybed and views over the garden to the ocean beyond, writes Living etc.

Furnishings are an eclectic mix of old and new, antique and bespoke, faded rugs, wind chimes, stacks of books, and swathes of fabrics in earthy tones and textures.

Tatjana has brought old-fashioned cosiness into her kitchen (see photo) with a 1960s stove and rough-hewn sink, both from a scrap yard. Cupboards and shelves are made from salvaged wood.

Living etc: Take a tour around supermodel Tatjana Patitz’s ranch

via Supermodel Tatjana Patitz reuses salvage in her California home –

Furniture made the green way – Telegraph

Seeing the potential: Max McMurdo turned a bath into a chaise longue

Seeing the potential: Max McMurdo turned a bath into a chaise longue  Photo: JOHN LAWRENCE

‘The problem with much modern furniture design is that it is not built to last,” says Dr Jonathan Chapman, author of Emotionally Durable Design (£24.99; Earthscan), a book that asks people to reassess their relationship with the items they fill their homes with.

Dr Chapman argues that one of the reasons for the environmental “mess” we are in is “the way we design, manufacture and consume objects… we are hopelessly seduced by the glow of all things modern, be it a flatter screen or a smarter plastic”.

Furniture never used to be “throwaway”, replaced every few years either because it was too shabby or had ceased to be fashionable. Dr Chapman says that in the Thirties economists came up with “planned obsolescence”, meaning that if people had to replace items more frequently, they would buy more and thus stimulate economic recovery. The past few years of recession and stagnant growth have underlined the flaws in this theory: building an economy on consumer spending does not necessarily result in sustainable growth.

Maybe it’s time to make our purchasing decisions on how durable and Earth- friendly an item is.

One idea being pioneered by the New Forest Trust is to give every tree felled for furniture its own GPS reference so people can pinpoint its provenance and even visit the stump.


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“It’s about getting people to think differently about their new bed or coffee table,” says trustee Donald Thompson. “Rather than just seeing it as a commodity, to see it as wood that was once a tree growing in a forest, that what you have is unique.” Furniture makers using New Forest timber now have access to this service (

So what is eco furniture? There isn’t an official definition but some of the elements eco-friendly design must include are:

The reuse or sustainable use of materials: using reclaimed wood or wood from certified forests; using renewable materials such as flax, jute, hemp and cotton instead of plastics; reusing items that are otherwise thrown away.

The use of local materials: the fewer miles a piece of furniture and its components have to travel the better.

Emissions during manufacture: much mass-manufacture of furniture results in toxic pollution from dyes, paints, glues and chemical treatments. Techniques such as traditional dovetailing in carpentry – rather than using glue – minimise emissions.


Max McMurdo has a knack for seeing beautiful potential in builders’ and retailers’ salvage. He has made coffee tables out of washing-machine drums and chairs out of shopping trolleys. His latest creation is a chaise longue made from a Victorian cast-iron ball-and-claw bathtub.

“Because they are so heavy, cast-iron bath tubs are often sledgehammered in situ and removed from Victorian properties in pieces. It’s such a waste of a classic design,” says McMurdo. “The ball-and-claw feet are a lovely feature and it’s a shame so many are destroyed. I’ve turned them into sofas before but I was experimenting recently, taking more off the back to create a chaise.”

McMurdo is acquiring a name for himself among the house-clearance brigade. “I get calls from plumbers and scrap merchants offering me baths. Some people just turn up at my workshop with them.” His designs can be seen on


Traditional bed makers Harrison Spinks ( have been manufacturing mattresses and divans in Yorkshire since 1840, but recently decided to try to source materials more locally. “We were importing our mattress wool from Australia and our wood and other mattress fillings were either imported or partly synthetic,” says Simon Spinks. “We wanted our beds to be natural and our raw materials closer.”

The firm purchased a 300-acre farm near their Leeds factory, where a thousand Texel/Leicester and Swaledale sheep graze before supplying their fleeces for bedding. “We’ve reduced a 12,000-mile trip to 15,” says Spinks. “What’s more, Yorkshire wool is better than Australian for beds, it’s more springy.”

The firm has now bought a nearby wood which from next year will supply the pine and spruce for the bed bases.


Working in futuristic fabrics after graduating from the Royal College of Art made Inghua Ting ( think about the impact of design on the environment.

“I witnessed factories in Japan overproducing tons of material just because it was the wrong shade or specification,” she says. “There is so much waste that just ends up in landfill.” Ting makes fabulous hammocks, cushions and stools out of car seat belts that have not passed vehicle safety or colour tests. She also makes parquet flooring and furniture from second-hand leather belts sourced from flea markets and charity shops.

via Furniture made the green way – Telegraph.

Habitat’s ReStore Offers New Options For Dorm Decor

The last bit of metro college students moved in today at Creighton University. Last week UNO students moved in and chances are students are spending time organizing and getting their new living space in order. But there is a popular decor option that gives back to the community.

“And we made it into a magazine rack,” Volunteer Jessica Duce said. “I love the idea of using things at the restore that have been donated, and repurposing them for somebody’s home or dorm room.”

She spends her time helping people find ways to re-use hundreds of home improvement supplies.

“We can be so creative, make doors and cabinets and spray paint lamps and make old news again,” Duce said.

She showed us how to make a desk using bathroom cabinets and an old door, jewelry storage using old shutters and old artwork into new.

“This is the before and what we did was took out he center, flipped it around and we created some custom art for a girl,” Duce said.

But for every item she helps sell at Habitat’s Restore, she’s helping fund habitat for humanity homes.

“If you think about one of the big box home improvement stories, the Lowes, Home Depot or the Menards. It’s really anything that you would see down in those, only some of these might be gently used,” ReStore director David Klitz said.

They have old and new appliance, tiles, artwork, you name it and they’ve probably got it.

“And just the wide variety of items that come down here. Anything from furniture and home décor items,” Klitz said.

So far, money from sales this year alone, have funded 4 and a half homes in the Heartland.

“It’s a great time for people to come down here,” Klitz said.

He says now more than ever, college students are coming in to find ways to liven up their living space.

“People are really really creative and they see something and they really run with it,” Klitz said.

“And everything that you get here, gives back to habitat for humanity so it’s a win win,” Duce said.

A win for volunteers, college students and Habitat for Humanity.

Restore is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. You can also drop off donations at their location at 1003 South 24th street.

via Habitat’s ReStore Offers New Options For Dorm Decor.

Building awareness and a cabin – Regina, Canada

Take a stack of old pallets, the lids off some old car trunks and the plywood off old, worn-out signs and what have you got?

For most of us, it’s a big pile of garbage.

But for a group of inspired builders and Tyler and Parise McMillan of Weyburn, it’s a home away from home.

Looking to build a cabin this summer, the McMillans looked to Waalnut Construction to see what could be done.

That got owner Eric Penner de Waal thinking about how to build on the cheap and in the most environmentally friendly way possible. He teamed with Regina’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Robinson Residential Design Inc. to come up with a plan to build the cabin entirely out of recycled materials.

So over a three-day build which ended Sunday at the ReStore, those pallets became the exterior siding of the cabin. The trunk lids from a Honda Civic, a Ford Mustang and a Chevy Nova? Window awnings. And the old signs are the sheeting that surrounds the wooden frame.

All told, building the small, loft-style cabin with two bedrooms will cost less than $30,000 (thanks in part to plenty of donated labour).

The McMillans weren’t to arrive in Regina until Sunday night to get their first look, but even before then Tyler knew – at the very least – they’d have a conversation piece on their hands.

“Once you step past thinking of them as pallets and start thinking of them as building materials, it changes and you don’t feel all that uncomfortable,” Tyler said, noting the couple’s five-yearold son Calder is “pretty fired up” about the loft.

“As long as you’re comfortable with the guy doing the work, it’s not too much of a stretch for us to think wood pallets can be used as an exterior on a cabin.

“(The trunk lids) were a total shock and I have no idea what those are going to be like, but you have to have a little fun with it.”

For Penner de Waal, a regular customer at the ReStore, the project became less about money (his company is making no profit) as much as it was about building awareness for the Habitat for Humanity store. Used and new materials are donated to the store and sold by Habitat to raise funds for its other endeavours.

“We want to show everyone in the city that this is what you can do with that stuff we’re throwing in the big hill northeast of town,” said Penner de Waal, referring to the city garbage dump.

All of the windows in the cabin were donated, the flooring is multi-coloured as it is made of a range of hardwood project leftovers and the flooring underlay, while a new product, is made of recycled materials.

“Having to source all the material was a challenge,” said Penner de Waal.

“The stuff that people are throwing out (is surprising). We’ve got a pallet of shingles – enough to do a whole roof – and RoofMart can’t sell broken bundles that are weird colours to clients. So they have all these saved up in the yard and what do you do with them? They usually end up in the dump.”

While the McMillans are paying for the materials that are coming out of the ReStore, the ReHouse project, as it has come to be known, wasn’t about money for Habitat for Humanity, either.

“It wasn’t a project about the money; it was about awareness,” said Habitat volunteer co-ordinator Cindy Covey. “Some people know about it, some people don’t, which is sad because some of the product is unbelievable. You can get 80-per-cent discounts on some things.

“When we were at our old store we had that ‘Garagesale perception’ but as we’ve moved here, we’ve been trying to changes people’s perspectives. A lot of it is brand-new product when in the past it wasn’t.”

The cabin has a narrow design so it can be easily loaded on a flatbed truck and taken down the highway to its permanent location at White Bear Lake.

“If you’re willing to let them try a bunch of things and step outside what the normal building materials might be and at the same time feel like the skeleton of the building can be recycled too and be comfortable with that . we were convinced,” said Tyler.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

via Building awareness and a cabin.

Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World


Inspired by the cooper tradition of barrel making, an old whiskey shop in London’s Covent Garden has been given a new life that pays tribute to the sauce. Redesigned by Anonymous Artists, the whiskey shop was transformed into a cozy bar, using only recycled materials. Donated by the Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, the team used 3,500 recycled slats of packing wood and 50 barrels to outfit the shop’s interior.

Read more here

via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

Business of the Week: The Away Station – San Anselmo-Fairfax, CA Patch

This is an impressive idea, locating a salvage yard within an already existing lumber yard.  Powell’s Books of Portland, Oregon carries used books alongside of new ones. Industry leaders said that this is a business model destined to fail.  In fact, Powell’s Books is a thriving business and has been successful for years now.  Combining salvaged materials along with new materials creates options, educates, and allows for less stops along a project.  It’s a great idea, maybe we can encourage it to grow. 

The Away Station, 109 Broadway, Fairfax (415) 453-4221, (415) 453-4410;

What do they offer?

Located in the lumber yard at Fairfax Lumber & Hardware, The Away Station is a nonprofit organization with a vision to create a world without waste.

Everything offered is salvaged. Lumber, hardware, doors, windows, sinks, ovens, light fixtures, cabinets, furniture, art supplies, home accents, and so much more are available at unbelievably low prices.

Services include hauling, professional moving, organizing and green business ideas.

When you purchase items you get a great deal. If you donate items, you get a tax benefit.

Who are they?

Executive Director Carrie Bachelder grew up in San Anselmo and went to Drake. Her dad taught at Redwood High School and her mom is a member of the native plant society. “My whole family is still here,” she said.

Bachelder is an energetic woman who started several companies including catering and making jewelry from found objects, but the moving and organizing company gave her the idea for this enterprise. “Whether they are moving or remodeling, I saw that my clients always needed to get rid of stuff. We were driving all over the place to the appropriate resale stores because nobody takes everything,” she said.

“The biggest issue is a place that takes building materials. My contractor brother suggested I speak with Fairfax Lumber & Hardware, because of their sustainable and green business  practices,” she said. “When I shared what I wanted to do, they saw it as a perfect fit.”

How long have they been here?

The Away Station opened in the spring of 2010, but the idea germinated for five years. Bachelder decided to set up the business as a nonprofit, because many of her Marin customers wanted a donation. “We are not funded by anybody,” she said. “The corporation is a 501c3.”

A team of seniors from Redwood High School is revamping the website so visitors can see the changing stock.

Bachelder is on site three to five days a week. Still in the moving and organizing business, she looks brings in materials from clients who are selling or remodeling their homes.

The Away Station has one-and-a-half paid employees and the rest are volunteers. “My yard man is my hero,” said Bachelder. “He has the consistent on-site knowledge, plus he does the heavy lifting. All the customers love him.”

Why are they business of the week?

The mission of The Away Station is to serve the community in its commitment to a zero waste lifestyle through: diverting reusable material from the landfill; providing services for the collection of construction and demolition by-products; providing a facility for redistribution of salvage materials; educating the public on best practices for reuse; and promoting green collar jobs.

“If someone is gutting a million dollar house from the 40s, 50s, or earlier, it will probably cost about $80,000 to do the demolition. The homeowner can get much more than that in a tax write-off benefit. In addition, the homeowner gets ‘the good feeling’ because many of their treasured items will be used by another family, and the old growth redwood is sent onto a new life rather than winding up in a landfill,” Bachelder said.

Because they are a nonprofit, a third-party appraiser needs to be brought in prior to demolition. According to Bachelder, deconstruction contractors are becoming more skilled at removing things like shutters, doors and wood intact, to preserve resources.

San Francisco resident, Linda Kosut, and her architect husband drove to Fairfax for a door. “We love the integrity of older things,” she said. “Our house was built in 1918 and our Tahoe property in the late 40s. The prices here are fabulous. It’s like an outdoor hardware store full of wonderful finds,” she enthused.

“We are the only ones doing this in Marin, but we network with all the other re-use facilities in the Bay Area. I vowed to create a system for our community,” Bachelder said.

Like most entrepreneurs, Bachelder has a master plan. “We started with the building materials,” she said, “but my goal is to make an entire shopping area here. I would love to co-locate already existing resale and repair small businesses so that you can buy a lamp at The Away Station and walk it over to someone who can rewire it. My goal is to make effortless to live a zero waste lifestyle. ”

via Business of the Week: The Away Station – San Anselmo-Fairfax, CA Patch.

Atlantic County seeks halt to Egg Harbor Township waste hauler’s dumping – Breaking News

test4Waste hauler property

This is a long but insightful article on an illegal waste facility and a NJ legal system that failed to do anything about it for the last 20 years.  Citizens are uninformed and unaware of regulations for waste and waste haulers all over the country.  Here at the RA we will be starting a project to help change how people (don’t) see C&D waste.  It’s called the Drop Box Brigade, and we hope something as simple as a picture will inspire community involvement in C&D waste disposal.  Ironically, the waste hauler is called “Magic Disposal”. Not so ironically, I was born about twenty miles from this site.

By WALLACE McKELVEY Staff Writer |

Atlantic County is seeking a court ruling to stop an Egg Harbor Township waste hauler from operating an alleged illegal solid waste facility off the Black Horse Pike.

A complaint filed last month accuses Steven Waszen, who operated Magic Disposal until January 2010, of dumping solid waste and hazardous materials, including asbestos, and maintaining a public health nuisance at the property he owns at 2520 Tremont Ave. in the Cardiff section of the township.

On May 20, a county Division of Public Health inspection revealed 99 solid waste containers, two of which contained asbestos; an estimated two yards of construction and demolition debris; a 10-foot-high pile of scrap tires; leachate — or liquid discharge — forming puddles on the ground; and a trash compactor truck emitting “foul odors and draining foul leachate onto the ground” at the site.

When inspectors returned July 14, they reported finding 106 solid waste containers and a “very strong odor” of garbage. The asbestos material, leachate and scrap tires remained on the property, while the trash compactor had been removed.

This is not the first time Waszen has been connected to such allegations.

In 2007, the state Department of Environmental Protection imposed a $700,000 fine — which, according to the DEP, has never been paid — against the company for violations at its now-closed Ridge Avenue facility, which Waszen operated from 1996 to 2005. Two years later, the department banned Waszen from the solid waste industry and revoked Magic Disposal’s certificate to operate a solid waste facility, or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

After protracted legal battles, both decisions were upheld by state Superior Court.

In December, the DEP also excluded Waszen and Magic Disposal from most recycling activities in the state, a decision DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said has not been appealed.

Waszen could not be reached for comment. Attorneys who have represented Waszen in the past declined to comment or did not respond to messages.

Officials at the local, county and state level say it is difficult to prosecute Waszen or to enforce the judgments that have already been made.

“He gets fined, then there’s a court order we’ve got to collect and, if he doesn’t pay, we’re back in court again,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said.

Magic Disposal also owes Egg Harbor Township more than $4.3 million in fines for failing to obtain building permits for a garage at its Ridge Avenue complex.

Although technically that figure has continued to grow in the absence of payment, Township Administrator Peter Miller said building officials stopped calculating the fines in 2010. Miller said the legal costs to bring Waszen to court would be greater than the partial amount a judge would likely award the township.

With the Ridge Avenue facility closed and the county now prosecuting Waszen for his Tremont Avenue facility, Miller said the point is moot.

“Their issue is more significant than ours over whether he got the proper permit in a timely fashion,” he said.

Levinson said it is frustrating that the county and the DEP’s enforcement efforts are constantly hampered by court appeals.

“We do what the law allows us to do,” he said. “If what we’re doing isn’t sufficient, then that’s up to the state Legislature to make laws that will allow us to proceed in a more timely fashion.”

Rick Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, said Magic Disposal has been a well-known problem operator for 20 years. It’s one of the few remaining companies that makes skirting the law a “consistent method of operation,” he said.

“I just know if ACUA or any other public entity were to do that, we would be noticed and fined appropriately, and quickly,” he said.

One issue, Dovey said, is that most people aren’t familiar with the regulations for waste haulers.

“Most businesses don’t even know they’re supposed to be licensed,” he said. “If somebody has a trash truck and says, ‘This is how much I’ll charge you,’ they won’t ask to see your license.”

The county’s action came as a surprise to most of the Tremont Avenue facility’s neighbors.

Dan Wilhelm, 55, who lives behind the facility on Windsor Drive, said he has not heard or smelled anything from the site since the owners erected a mound of dirt, which acts as a sound barrier, nearly a decade ago. Before then, there was a near-constant odor emanating from the lot and regular truck traffic.

If the owner has continued dumping on the site, Wilhelm said, he’s glad the county has stepped forward to prosecute.

“They got to stay on that stuff — not just him, but all of them,” he said.

Aside from the occasional smell, especially during the summer, neighbor Eliezer Echevarria, 52, said he has not had any recent problems with Waszen. “If you came here 18 years ago, it’d be a different story,” he said.

The Ridge Avenue facility, which is not subject to the complaint, is similarly quiet.

Neighbor Calvin Tureaud, 54, said there has been little activity for about two years. Gone is the stench of decay wafting in the breeze and the armada of trash trucks before 5 a.m., he said.

The legal system worked for his neighborhood, at least, Tureaud said.

“We had to put up with it for years and years until the neighbors got together and said ‘enough is enough,’” he said. “We had to go to Town Hall and to the freeholders and board meetings, but it finally worked.”

When the facility did close, Tureaud said it happened nearly overnight.

“Nobody notified us first. They just started to pack up,” he said.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


via Atlantic County seeks halt to Egg Harbor Township waste hauler’s dumping – Breaking News.

Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Illinois Governor Signs Law Allowing Recycled Roof

Illinois Governor Signs Law Allowing Recycled Roofing Shingles in Asphalt - Image

New legislation could result in $8 million in savings.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to start using asphalt made from recycled roofing shingles. It also allows businesses to increase the amount of shingles used in asphalt production and requires IDOT to maximize the use of recycled materials in construction projects. The governor’s office estimates the state will save more than $8 million annually through the new legislation.

“In the midst of one of the busiest construction seasons in state history, we must continue to embrace green practices in building our roads,” Quinn says. “This law will keep more shingles out of landfills, benefit the environment and save the state millions of dollars by expanding our use of recycled materials.”

House Bill 1326, sponsored by Rep. Daniel V. Beiser (D-Alton) and Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), allows IDOT to use asphalt made with materials from recycling facilities that process shingles, following regulations established by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The law also directs IDOT to use recycled materials in its projects as much as possible, saving more than an estimated $8 million per year. The agency must report the results of those efforts to the Illinois House and Senate Transportation Committees each year.

“Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, the expanded use of recycled asphalt in roadway pavements is just the latest green initiative the Illinois Department of Transportation has undertaken,” says Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “Although motorists will not notice the difference, this new law is good for the environment and ultimately will save money.”

The new law also allows businesses that specialize in waste collection from construction and demolition sites to double the amount of shingles they can provide to recycling facilities for use later in the production of asphalt.

via Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Illinois Governor Signs Law Allowing Recycled Roof.

It ain’t easy building a green kitchen – Lifestyle – Style – Food and Wine – The Canberra Times

Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Kitchens in his Hall workshop. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

Gino Monteleone from Select Custom Kitchens in his Hall workshop. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

Building an environmentally friendly kitchen takes research and persistence.

So, let’s cut to the chase. What exactly is a sustainable kitchen? The short answer is, not necessarily a brand new one. In fact, the less material that’s ripped out during renovations and sent to landfill, the higher the overall sustainability score.

But if those old chipboard cabinet carcasses must go the toss, a new sustainable kitchen can be any style – minimalist modern, faux Provencal, Shaker-inspired, Aussie recycled retro, Nimbin natural, farmhouse rustic or boldly quirky with a splash of Frida Kahlo colour. But whatever the final design, it definitely won’t be a spotlit culinary power stadium with a massive stove the size of a small aircraft carrier and energy bill to match.

A green kitchen has a conscience. Everything should be able to be recycled at the end of its useful life.

There’ll be no toxic glues or surface sealants, stove and lighting will be energy-efficient, and the design will reflect practical, everyday needs.

Details in Rosslyn Beeby's kitchen built from sustainable materials - recycled blackbutt for the benchtops, with Osmo oil, and plantation hoop pine for the cabinets.

Details in Rosslyn Beeby’s kitchen built from sustainable materials – recycled blackbutt for the benchtops, with Osmo oil, and plantation hoop pine for the cabinets.


As Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud remarked in a recent episode broadcast on ABC television, building or renovating ‘‘to a philosophy’’ is a difficult task. It means lots of research – months of it – and a determination to ruthlessly probe the validity of vague claims that building products are green, eco-certified or possess multi-starred green energy ratings. It can be discouraging, even humiliating when salesfolk scoff at questions about recycling or waste production involved in manufacture.

Stick to your principles, and use the internet to check out green bona fides. A recent British survey found 50 per cent of environmental marketing claims about ‘‘green attributes’’ were misleading. The survey, by Cambridge Consultants, says a product’s ‘‘life-cycle analysis’’ is the only way to assess sustainability – this includes mining, logging, processing, waste management, transport and potential reuse. The triple bottom line is impact on resources, ecosystems and human health. How much greenhouse gas is produced during manufacture? Are there respiratory risks to workers?

via It ain’t easy building a green kitchen – Lifestyle – Style – Food and Wine – The Canberra Times.

The house of Fords falls in Oak Harbor – Whidbey News Times – WA

Michael Senko of Bellingham-based Re-Use Consulting works with his father, company owner David Bennink, to disassemble the old Ford dealership building on SE Barrington Drive and Highway 20 in Oak Harbor. Building owner Dan Berg has decided to demolish the structure to make way for an unknown future development. - Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times

Michael Senko of Bellingham-based Re-Use Consulting works with his father, company owner David Bennink, to disassemble the old Ford dealership building on SE Barrington Drive and Highway 20 in Oak Harbor. Building owner Dan Berg has decided to demolish the structure to make way for an unknown future development.
Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times


Nothing lasts forever and that includes the old Ford dealership on the corner of Highway 20 and SE Barrington Drive in Oak Harbor.

Building owner Dan Berg has received a permit from the city to demolish the 55-year-old structure and, if all goes well, it should be down around the end of the month. The building has been vacant for several years and it’s become clear that its time has come.

But Berg said that won’t make seeing it go any easier.

“I spent 30 years in that place,” he said.

His ties to the dealership stretch back to 1969 when his father bought the business. Berg purchased it from his dad in 1985 and ran it as his own until 1999 when he sold it and retired.

The dealership continued on as Whidbey Island Ford until February 2008 when it closed its doors, largely due to changes in the automobile industry, the nature of distribution channels and a souring economy.

Two of the other three dealerships in town, Whidbey Island Volkswagen Mazda and Frontier Chevrolet, would also close over the next two years.

Berg has been fishing for a new tenant since 2008 but has had no takers. The only interest expressed has been for the lot, which is about 2.5 acres, without the building. So, Berg said he made the decision to tear it down.

Once the work is done, the property will be sold or leased. Berg said the property has a lot of potential and could host a variety of different businesses, but that he has no idea what might end up there.

“With this economy, I really don’t know,” he said.

Steve Powers, director of Oak Harbor Development Services, confirmed that the property is zoned community commercial. That means anything from a strip mall to a big-box business could set up shop on the vacant lot, along with some upper-level residential units.

“There’s a pretty wide range of uses that could occur there,” Powers said.

City business leaders aren’t lost on the possibilities either.

Its location at the southern entrance to the city and its high visibility on Highway 20 make it a “gateway” location, according to Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Director Jill Johnson.

The intersection of Highway 20 and SE Pioneer is where many travelers decide what they think about Oak Harbor and that influences their decision to keep going or take a detour to downtown.

“It’s a powerful piece of property,” she said.

Johnson’s heard a lot of different hopes for the lot. Some want to see it turned into a city park or become the future location of a covered farmer’s market. But Johnson said the property should be utilized by a business that would provide the city with some of the sales tax revenue it lost when the car dealerships closed.

Johnson said her hope is for a shopping complex of mixed use, such as Harbor Village on the corner of NE Seventh and Highway 20. But rather than having any big-chain stores like Starbucks, she said she’d prefer it offer a combination of regional mid-sized stores, like Whidbey Coffee, along with local mom-and-pop businesses.

Others hoped to see the existing building put to use. Chuck Bos, 96, bought the Ford dealership in the early 1950s when it was still located downtown. He moved the business to its present location and built the new building in 1956.

Bos said it would have been a great place for a furniture store and was disappointed it couldn’t be saved. However, he said Berg was a good man and understood.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “It’s a hell-of-a-good building.”

With its large wood and much of its internal timber framing still in good condition, Berg agrees that demolishing the structure and throwing everything away would be a waste. That’s why he’s hired a Bellingham-based consulting firm that specializes in the reuse of building materials from demolished structures.

According to Berg, just about everything in the building will be recycled, from the salvaged lumber to the cinderblocks and concrete.

He admits he isn’t saving any money this way, nor does he consider himself an overzealous environmentalist.

“I guess it just makes me feel better,” Berg said.

via The house of Fords falls in Oak Harbor – Whidbey News Times.

Meet the Itinerant Art Crew Transforming an Abandoned Berlin Amusement Park Into an Artist Wonderland –

Photo by Anthony Spinello
An old rollercoaster at Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park outside of Berlin

If you put your mind to it, pretty much anything can be converted into an art experience: basements become art galleries, factories become biennials, entire cities become art-world playgrounds. Adaptive reuse is all the rage, a postmodern urban balm that uses the power of art to resuscitate abandoned and irrelevant buildings and neighborhoods. “Kulturbahn” is such a project, a proposal to turn Spreepark Berlin, a forsaken amusement park built by the German Democratic Republic in 1969 and transferred to private hands after the Berlin wall fell, into a multimedia art playground.

Photographs of the site — located in in the city’s Treptower Park — show a constellation of amusement park attractions abandoned after Spreepark closed for good in 2001. Defunct swing rides sway next to weed-choked spinning teacups and “Dinoworld,” an overgrown field of colossal, graffitied dinosaur figures. Viewers can explore the current state of Spreepark through Kulturbahn’s Web site, scrolling through a satellite view of the site with flags pinning down different park landmarks. The dreamlike landscape certainly looks like fertile ground for an artistic intervention.

Musement, the group behind the proposed plan, is an interdisciplinary crew composed of gallerist Anthony Spinello, writer Stephanie Sherman, performance-art researcher and artist George Scheer, and artists Chris Lineberry and Agustina Woodgate. The group’s diverse composition reflects the scope of the project itself — to present “a new model for cultural amusement,” according to a statement on its Web site. Kulturbahn will be a “platform for art creation and exhibition that responds, reflects, and transforms transformative sites,” activating interest in Spreepark as a site of “universal imagination.”

via Meet the Itinerant Art Crew Transforming an Abandoned Berlin Amusement Park Into an Artist Wonderland –

How to Appraise Your Appraiser | The ReUse People

It never fails. When a new business model is developed based on an older, established model, two things happen. First, older, entrenched businesses attempt to discredit, and in some cases demonize, the new model. Second, unscrupulous faux organizations spring up to make a quick buck off unsuspecting customers, even if it means flaunting the law.

When deconstruction companies first began to promote a softer approach to building removal so that valuable materials could be salvaged and landfills preserved, they were routinely discredited, often by the demolition industry itself. Fortunately, that picture has changed. While deconstruction still gets pooh-poohed occasionally, now the folks who do the bad-mouthing only end up discrediting themselves, not us.

Sadly, we haven’t been so fortunate when it comes to faux-organizations. In fact, the more popular deconstruction becomes, the more alert we need to be for the sharks and charlatans whose presence threatens the entire industry.

I’ve become particularly concerned of late about the burgeoning ranks of building-materials appraisers, some of whom are 1) unqualified, and/or 2) quote ridiculously high valuation rates in order to win appraisal jobs, regardless of the long-term consequences to the donor.

As you probably know, an independent, third-party appraiser enters the picture when an in-kind donation reaches $5,000 or more (most donations to TRP exceed this threshold). IRS regulations require a professional appraisal in order to assure a realistic, fair valuation of the donated materials.

Now, mind you, a fair valuation is not simply one that is low enough to avoid IRS scrutiny. It is one that meets or exceeds IRS requirements. IRS regulations on appraiser qualifications have become more stringent in the last few years, and TRP sets its own standards even higher.

The following paragraphs are excerpted from IRS Bulletin 561″Determining the Value of Donated Property” (revised April, 2007). I added the underlines for emphasis.

“A qualified appraiser is an individual who meets all the following requirements.

  1. 1. The individual either:
    • How to Appraise Your AppraiserHas earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised, or
    • Has met certain minimum education and experience requirements. For real property, the appraiser must be licensed or certified for the type of property being appraised in the state which the property is located. For property other than real property, the appraiser must have successfully completed college or professional-level coursework relevant to the property being valued, must have at least 2 years of experience in the trade or business of buying, selling, or valuing the type of property being valued, and must fully describe in the appraisal his or her qualifying education and experience.
  2. The individual regularly prepares appraisals for which he or she is paid.
  3. The individual demonstrates verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being appraised. To do this, the appraiser can make a declaration in the appraisal that, because of his or her background, experience, education, and membership in professional associations. He or she is qualified to make appraisals of the type of property being valued.
  4. The individual has not be prohibited from practicing before the IRS under section 330(c) of title 31 of the United States Code at any time during the 3-year period ending on the date of the appraisal.
  5. The individual is not an excluded individual.”

The same bulletin considers an appraiser “excluded” if he or she “… acted as an agent for the transferor or donor in the transaction” or is “… any person employed by any of the above persons.” In discussions with our IRS auditor and CPA, these definitions were further clarified to include employees of the appraiser who happen to be close relatives of the deconstruction contractor or any officer of the nonprofit organization.

When a donor winds up paying additional taxes because their donation was unfairly valued or the appraiser was unqualified, the donor is not the only one to suffer. The reputation of the recipient organization takes a heavy blow as well. Frankly, I’m afraid that the IRS may drastically tighten its rules because of the shoddy and, in some cases, illegal practices of a few bad appraisers.

Individuals and companies that make the TRP list of qualified appraisers must agree to follow certain guidelines. Among other things, our appraisers are expected to prepare reports in accordance with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP), and to visit the project site prior to deconstruction to confirm the type, condition and characteristics and the materials being donated.

TRP refuses to compromise it values at any time, but especially when it comes to the valuation of donor materials. We are committed to providing donors with enough solid documentation to sustain the value of their donations, and we support that documentation with:

  • Laboriously detailed inventories
  • Internal quality control of such critical variables as materials received, documentation and inventory
  • Diligent, reputable managers who provide excellent customer service
  • Enviable salvage rates, made possible in part by our knowledge of reuse/recycling markets
  • Thoroughly vetted appraisers who can be trusted to produce fair-market appraisals

TRP has occasionally refused to accept donations from owners whose appraisers were either unqualified or “excluded” by the IRS. We did it for their protection as well as our own. In addition, we have refused to do business with appraisers who practice below-standard appraisal practices or evince insufficient qualifications. And we have de-certified a few deconstruction contractors because they continued to refer potential clients to questionable appraisers.

Whether you are a contractor, a nonprofit that accepts salvaged building materials, or a building owner considering deconstruction, I urge you to conduct your own due-diligence on any appraiser who gets involved in the donation process. If you need assistance, give TRP a call.

via How to Appraise Your Appraiser | The ReUse People.

Wait! don’t throw that away; it can be reused | GazetteNET – Massachusetts

NORTHAMPTON — A new group is forming in the city to find ways to stem the tide of items that end up in the city’s Glendale Road landfill.

Calling itself the ReUse Group, the panel has actually met once already, but is seeking more members as it prepares for a second meeting Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Department of Public Works headquarters on Locust Street.

Karen Bouquillon, the city’s solid waste supervisor, said the group aims to make it easier for residents to reduce what they dump in the landfill by offering convenient ways for more items to be reused. “It’s what’s going into the landfill that doesn’t need to go into the landfill,” she said.

Board of Public Works member MJ Adams, who co-chairs the committee with Rosemary Schmidt, also a BPW member, said it is important that the committee come up with a plan for improving the reuse program before the landfill closes.

“We could do better than we do on this,” she said. “The less we have to transport out of town and pay for, the more manageable it will be.”

While the long-term goal is to open a reuse facility, in the short term the group will plan one-time events to promote reuse and educate the public about ways to keep items out of the landfill.

For some time, city residents have been eager to start a swap center, sometimes known as a take-it-or-leave-it spot, that many other communities have established. But because Northampton’s Locust Street recycling center doesn’t have room for one, the idea never got off the ground.

One location being considered for the new swap center is the state highway department’s land next to the Locust Street recycling center, although other locations will be considered, she said.

“One of the priorities is that it be centrally located,” said Bouquillon.

She said the panel intends to work with other groups with a similar focus, including nonprofit thrift stores, or building materials groups dedicated to reuse.

Read the rest of the article here

via Wait! don’t throw that away; it can be reused | GazetteNET.

Recycling stores invest in community, environment – Herald News- Illinois

Story Image

A customer peruses just one area of the tidy 25,000-square-foot Habitat ReStore on Larkin Avenue south of Jefferson Street in Joliet, Ill. | Jan Larsen~for Sun-Times Media

JOLIET — They’re called ReStores, they’re all over the nation and now Joliet can claim its own at 200 S. Larkin Ave.

It’s the ultimate in recycling, plus a cost-effective way to improve or furnish homes — and a major fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

More than 100 donors helped this remarkable ReStore become a reality by renovating a white elephant — the old Crescent Electric Supply Co. — and stocking it with new appliances, flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures, used furniture and more.

Donors, government officials, civic leaders and volunteers attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.

But there were the shoppers, too, perusing tidy aisles of an amazing variety of goods in 25,000 square feet of warehousing and sales rooms. The Will County Habitat for Humanity ReStore hosted a “quiet” opening the past two weeks and has already been bombarded with people who want to buy — and people who want to give.

“We’ve been collecting (goods) since March,” said ReStore Manager Dan Dunn, who formerly operated the Sandwich Shoppe in downtown Joliet. “Each of our first two weekends we made $3,500.”

“ReStores save millions of tons from landfills,” said Executive Director Annette Leck, who worked furiously for about a year to see the store complete. “Our motto is: Invest in your community: shop, donate, volunteer.”

Habitat has a contract to rent the building for four years and offices have moved to remodeled spaces in front.

Habitat volunteers build decent, affordable homes for low-income families. “The ReStore is a major step for our local group that has already built 60 homes since its founding in 1988,” said Leck.

via Recycling stores invest in community, environment – Herald News.

Demolition News » Comment – Deconstruction course lacks ambition…


Comment – Deconstruction course lacks ambition…

Laudable US training course looks to reduce landfill inputs. But does it go far enough.

That the UK and US are “two nations divided by a common language” will come as no surprise to any American visitor to the UK who has been to a shop and asked for a fanny pack. But it seems that these two nations are similarly divided by their outlook on all things recycling and environmental.

Take, for example, Dave Benink of Casper, Wyoming, a well-intentioned individual who is aiming to teach his American compatriots the fine art of building deconstruction, materials resource efficiency and landfill reduction.

Benink is currently seeking a local building upon which to test his methods of extracting the maximum materials reuse. According to the Billings Gazette, Benink would like to “tear out the sheet rock and remove the cabinets. He might take the floor, too.”

According to the article, Bennink has been trying for two decades to change how people get rid of buildings. Most old structures are simply torn down; their guts dumped into a landfill. He advocates deconstructing buildings piece by piece, salvaging as much material as possible

An admirable intention in these planet-friendly, environmentally-aware times. So, just how much of the remaining arisings does Benink consider acceptable landfill fodder?

“By the time you save everything that is reuseable and recycle all of the other stuff, only 10 to 15 percent goes in the landfill,” he says.

Ten to 15 percent? On this side of the pond, that level of wastage would have you hauled before the environmental hanging judge. Indeed, the National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ membership – which are responsible for around 90 percent of all the UK’s demolition works – regularly achieve a recycling and reuse rate of close on 98 percent.

As NFDC chief executive famously said at last year’s international Demolition Summit: “If you want to learn about recycling, come tot he UK.”

via Demolition News » Comment – Deconstruction course lacks ambition….

Construction Executive Magazine – Going Green

The Benefits of Being Waste-Wise

By Chuck Herb

Client demands and regulatory pressures continue to drive improvements in diversion and recycling rates. Partly because of growing ecological concerns and less-than-ideal economic conditions, the cry for sustainable growth and fiscal responsibility has permanently impacted the way construction-related businesses approach waste management.

The Future of Waste Disposal

A recent report released by McGraw-Hill Construction revealed 61 percent of construction contractors rate waste management plans as the second most important aspect of green building, behind energy efficiency. The United States generated 143.5 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris in 2008 alone, but only 28 percent (40.2 million tons) was reused, recycled or sent to waste-energy facilities. The study shows contractors are beginning to recognize the substantial impact sustainable construction waste management can have on their businesses, and a growing number are adopting practices to reduce contributions to landfills.

LEED also is driving this new sense of environmental stewardship. According to a GreenBiz Group study, LEED buildings have recycled or reused nearly 25 million tons of waste so far. These figures are expected to mushroom to more than 400 million tons by 2020 and 780 million tons by 2030.

By 2013, McGraw-Hill Construction predicts the green building market will represent 25 percent of all new construction projects by value, equating to a $140 million market. This rapidly growing green share presents extensive opportunities for waste management. Companies at the forefront of the sustainability movement are actively looking for ways to reduce, recycle and reuse materials—leading to decreased costs, increased customer satisfaction and compliance with new government regulations.

With only 28 percent of construction and demolition waste being recycled, there’s a lot of room for improvement—especially because the majority of this waste can be recycled, reused onsite or salvaged for reuse elsewhere. In the past, it was difficult to get contractors to recycle, especially where landfill rates were low, because they didn’t have many cost-effective options. Today, that scenario has changed.

Lasting Benefits

In most cases, the cost of recycling is lower than the cost of throwing materials away. When these costs are spread across an entire construction project, the savings can amount to thousands (and often tens of thousands) of dollars. If recycling costs more than waste disposal, many will choose not to recycle. But if it’s cost-competitive or less expensive, it will be considered as a practical part of every job.

Additionally, because millions of tons of construction and demolition materials are unnecessarily disposed of in landfills throughout the country every year, rebate programs are providing a financial incentive for builders to recycle debris. These programs are designed to encourage contractors to have their mixed-materials waste (e.g., wood and metals) hauled to designated material-recovery facilities, where they’re given a per-ton discount on each ton delivered.

Not only does recycling reduce waste disposal costs and material expenses, but it also helps project teams earn points toward qualifying for LEED and other green building certification programs. The more experience contractors gain in waste prevention and recycling, the better chance they have of attracting the growing number of potential clients interested in participating in LEED and other green building certification programs.

Additionally, recycling gives contractors the option to declare a tax deduction when they donate reusable building materials to a nonprofit organization. And, it lessens the environmental impact of buildings by:

reducing depletion of natural resources such as trees, oil and minerals;

reducing manufacturing and transportation-related emissions and pollution;

using less energy and water compared to many virgin material product manufacturing processes; and

decreasing greenhouse gasses by using less energy for manufacturing and transportation.

Many construction industry professionals agree recycling is one of the most visible steps that can be taken toward sustainable building. Unlike energy-efficient HVAC or certified forest products, it is something many people understand, and this awareness can generate teamwork and motivation among workers on jobsites.

Customer requirements have changed and recycling has evolved into something that carries more weight among builders. If contractors can turn recycling into a shared vision that heightens camaraderie and teamwork, they—and the communities in which they build—can derive benefits that go far beyond a rebate or reduced haul rate.

Chuck Herb is co-owner of Sunshine Recycling, Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit

via Construction Executive Magazine – Going Green.

Building Waste Presents Economic, Environmental Opportunity for Chicagoans | Green Economy Center

CHICAGO – In recent years, the deconstruction industry has consistently gained ground due to the considerable economic and environmental opportunities it offers. Although the environmental benefits are a significant driver, the economics are becoming an important impetus in certain parts of the United States, especially in economically depressed regions.

According to David Bennink, a national deconstruction consultant, “it’s catching on in the Rust Belt cities for its social benefits, for job creation and providing materials. The materials we reclaim are available for low-income homeowners; they can afford to buy our stuff. There are so many benefits to it that it’s catching on all over the place.”

Deconstruction also increases the opportunity for local business development and, being labor-intensive, produces local job growth. This, in turn, enhances the local tax base and contributes to a multiplier effect of money invested in the community. The Rebuilding Center (2010) has found that “deconstruction creates six to eight jobs for every one created by standard demolition.” Deconstruction can be a vital component of public housing and community revitalization programs—often supported by substantial federal funding—and involves a significant number of trainees and workers drawn from the community’s lowest-income strata (ILSR, 2008). Deconstruction can also be cost-competitive with standard demolition when accounting for materials, revenue earned from material sales, and potential tax incentives.

Tax benefits can result in a significant reduction in overall cost as compared to demolition for the same project (EPA 2000). Moreover, integrating recycled and reused materials helps toward LEED® certification, creating marketing advantages.

Environmentally, deconstruction reduces construction and demolition (C&D) waste, reduces air pollution, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, abates the need for new landfills and incinerators, preserves resources and saves energy by decreasing the extraction and processing.

“Our biggest challenge has been pinpointing where in the system we should intervene to start building the capacity needed to trigger broad change,” said Elise Zelechowski, executive director and founder of Delta Institute’s ReBuilding Exchange, the first Chicago area building material reuse center, which has diverted more than 3,000 tons of construction and demolition waste since its launch in 2009. “It’s no small feat to shift the way people perceive their built environment, to help them see assets where they’ve always seen dilapidated ruins destined for the landfill.”

To help change people’s perceptions and meet growing interest in the field, the ReBuilding Exchange has engaged individuals at all points in the system, offering a variety of programs that provide an entry point to deconstruction and reuse. In March 2010, the Exchange launched a job training program that provides classroom and on-the-job skill building experience. Through a partnership with the Safer Foundation and the City of Chicago, the nine month program offers workers an entry into the construction trades while offering alternatives to traditional construction work. For retail customers, the Exchange provides hands-on, practical workshops that explain how individuals can incorporate salvaged materials into building projects, and how they can complete the projects themselves. In addition, the Exchange is educating waste haulers about the financial benefits of diverting waste from landfills, and is working with them to develop systems that make the diversion process more efficient.

While no single strategy will revamp the way Chicagoans think about building waste, increasing numbers of municipalities and organizations are promoting this method. Since 2007, the City of Chicago has had an ordinance requiring that 50% of construction and demolition materials be recycled. In 2009, the language of the ordinance was expanded to include reuse in addition to recycling. And this past winter, capitalizing on the growing trend of reuse, Chicago-based non-profit Delta Institute published a series of “GoGuides” to the Green Economy, one of which was on deconstruction and reuse. It offers hands-on, practical guidance to help communities, contractors, and homeowners see how they can save money and benefit the environment through the process.

To learn more about Deconstruction and Reuse, and find out how community colleges can help develop the industry and the workforce to support it, check out Delta’s recently published “GOGuide Deconstruction and Reuse, available for purchase for $15 plus $4.95 shipping and handling (print) and $12 for electronic download at For more information on the ReBuilding Exchange and its deconstruction training program, please visit

via Building Waste Presents Economic, Environmental Opportunity for Chicagoans | Green Economy Center.

Crews begin taking apart Cloverleaf Kennel Club in Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald

The building that housed the Cloverleaf Kennel Club sits vacant Thursday in east Loveland where workers from Denver-based LVI Environmental Services began this week deconstructing the former entertainment icon. ( Steve Stoner )

The plastic seats once filled with rowdy racing fans already have merged with water bottles at a recycling plant.

The steel beams that held up what was once one of the region’s most popular entertainment venues will bring new life to another structure.

The pavement where cars lined up will be ground into small particles and laid under new roads.

By the end of the year, native grasses will replace Cloverleaf Kennel Club, which was built in 1955 long before Centerra and its shops, offices and homes expanded the city east.

Denver-based LVI Environmental Services began this week deconstructing the former dog track, which has sat vacant for three years. McWhinney Enterprises hired the firm for $1.2 million to do more than demolish the building, but to take it apart piece by piece and recycle or reuse every possible part.

Jay Hardy, general manager of Centerra, expects

90 percent of the current building and parking lot to be recycled and reused and only 10 percent diverted to the landfill.

Poudre Valley Health System owns 100 acres adjacent to its Medical Center of the Rockies, including the

41 acres on which the dog track sits. There are no immediate plans for development, although all the land will be used, someday, to expand the system’s medical facilities, the company says.

When Poudre Valley Health System does expand, the careful deconstruction will count as green points in the environmental bank toward a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, building.

But until then, workers will start inside, removing everything they can and working outward. Hardy expects a month to six weeks to pass before the building looks as though it is being removed.

“It’s going to be a lengthy process,” he said. “It’ll be back to dry-land grass by Thanksgiving.”

Pamela Dickman can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 526, or

via Crews begin taking apart Cloverleaf Kennel Club in Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Eco-friendly project teaches Syracuse residents “green” construction skills |


James Harper (left), Israel Martin (center) and Bradford Clark work on a green roof at 333 E. Onondaga St., in Syracuse.

Syracuse, NY — Disadvantaged Syracuse residents who are being trained on eco-friendly construction skills installed a “green” roof Thursday atop the Monroe Building at 333 E. Onondaga St.

The roof will capture more than 90,000 gallons of water each year, which will reduce storm-water runoff. Money was provided by the county’s Green Improvement Fund program, an effort that promotes green building practices and aims to clean up Onondaga Lake.


Mike Lasovets, with Shaffer Building Services, installs a roof for 333 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse.


Construction was handled by Helping Hands, a volunteer-run program that teaches useful trade skills to city residents in need of employment. Helping Hands is part of Concerned Citizens Action Program, a nonprofit community group..

“Helping Hands gives marketable construction skills to individuals in the training program,” CCAP Executive Director Mike Atkins said. “This is also a great way to introduce the inner city to (eco-friendly building practices).”

Helping Hands takes in unemployed high school dropouts and is seeking to partner with the Syracuse City School District to encourage students to remain in school, Atkins said. Participants range in age from 16 to 41 years old.

View full sizeDick Blume / The Post Standard

Mike Lasovets, with Shaffer Building Services, installs a roof for 333 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse.

The city has disproportionately high unemployment in certain neighborhoods, Atkins said. “These people want a livable wage and to be able to start a family. This program is something we need,” he said.

The green roof on the Monroe Building marks the second of three hands-on phases in the free, 12-week training course. The training begins with two weeks of classroom instruction, Atkins said.

The first phase focused on deconstruction, which involves disassembling a building piece by piece to recycle as much as possible. That phase ended with the deconstruction of a house on Peck Hill Road, Atkins said, to make way for a neighboring resident to build an energy-efficient home. Helping Hands was able to recycle 87 percent of the deconstructed home, Atkins said.

“You help the environment by not taking the materials to a dump, where they’ll burn it and further hurt the ozone,” Atkins said.

The second phase centers on installing green roofs that provide such benefits as a 95 percent reduction in storm-water runoff, decreased energy consumption and a 200 percent extension in the life of a roof, according to the CCAP website.

In the third phase, Helping Hands’ 15 current participants will construct a hoop house (a half-circle-shaped greenhouse) at the corner of South State Street and East Raynor Avenue, Atkins said.

After this, the graduates will have useful trade skills, a stronger resume and the confidence to present themselves in a job interview, Atkins said. The free program has graduated 25 participants in its 1½-year history, Atkins said. “We take those who are unemployed, underemployed, lack certain skill sets and those returning from incarceration,” he said. “That’s the only criteria.”

To participate or volunteer, call 396-0986 or visit 2309 S. Salina St.

via Eco-friendly project teaches Syracuse residents “green” construction skills |

Lights out at Green Institute |

The board has closed the pioneering nonprofit a year after firing its executive director.

The Green Institute of south Minneapolis, a precursor of the local “green economy” movement, is closing down more than a year after its executive director was dismissed by the board over financial issues.

Jamie Heipel, 44, a onetime Ameriprise Financial manager, was promoted to the top job in 2006 after three years running the Green Institute’s once-successful construction-demolition and used building-supplies business.

Several employees have been laid off, an energy-conservation program was transferred to another nonprofit, and a used building materials supply business near Hiawatha Av. and E. Lake St. has closed. The remaining inventory will be liquidated this month.

The institute board president, Lisa McDonald, who took over in 2010, and Tim Keane, a longtime volunteer lawyer for the organization, would only confirm that Heipel was dismissed in 2010 and that a consulting firm’s examination revealed deep financial problems that the wounded organization was unable to overcome.

McDonald said Friday she hoped that “Green Institute” name and cornerstone construction-demolition and ReUse Center business could eventually be merged into another nonprofit involved in neighborhood renovation in north Minneapolis.

Reached Friday, Heipel said he left because of differences with McDonald and denied financial improprieties.

“It got to a point where Lisa was asking ridiculous questions and making ridiculous insinuations,” Heipel said. “Our financials were the best.”

Heipel, an Osseo resident who was paid about $98,000 in 2009, filed for personal bankruptcy earlier this year. He said he was forced to do so because the Green Institute denied his unemployment claim and board members refused to provide him with job references.

The Green Institute has yet to file a 2010 tax return.

The nonprofit’s 2009 financial statement, now subject to question, showed a surplus of $768,504 on revenue of $1.6 million. Some of that revenue came from the gain on the $5.2 million sale of its flagship Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center building on Hiawatha Avenue. Most of the proceeds were used to retire debt.

The Green Institute also has moved out of its small office in the Eco-Enterprise Center, which it sold to Wellington Management. The center remains open and is otherwise full of tenants.

The institute, in the Phillips neighborhood in south Minneapolis, served an early and visible role as an environmental symbol by translating green thinking from concept to construction. It was born in the late 1980s of Phillips community resistance to Hennepin County’s plans to expand a garbage-transfer station in the middle of a working-poor neighborhood that was sick of other people’s trash.

In 1998, the Green Institute Eco-Enterprise Center, which featured passive solar energy and a green roof, collaborated with local government on expanded recycling programs and uses for recycled materials, and pioneered several used-building material and energy-conservation programs.

Heipel was hired in 2003 to run a couple of businesses and was promoted to succeed former director Michael Krause in 2006 as the agency struggled with its building mortgage. Heipel closed one ReUse Center, settled about a half-million bucks in old debts with vendors for 50 cents on the dollar, and sold the building to Wellington. That enabled the institute to pay off $4.8 million in mortgages held by Western Bank and the city of Minneapolis.

“There is still a lot of energy and a great nucleus of supporters for the Green Institute and the mission,” Keane said. “The board is as strong and energetic as any nonprofit board I’ve experienced. Their dedication will ensure that the Green Institute, in some form, will continue to serve the community.”

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144 •

via Lights out at Green Institute |

Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times

In today’s world “going green” has become a top priority in our society, and sustainable buildings and design are at the forefront of this green revolution. While many designers are focusing on passive and active energy systems, the reuse of recycled materials is beginning to stand out as an innovative, highly effective, and artistic expression of sustainable design. Reusing materials from existing on site and nearby site elements such as trees, structures, and paving is becoming a trend in the built environment, however more unorthodox materials such as soda cans and tires are being discovered as recyclable building materials. Materials and projects featured after the break.

Most common building materials today have recyclable alternatives. Concrete, metals, glass, brick and plastics can all be produced with some form of the previously used material, and this process of production lowers the energy requirement and emissions by up to ninety percent in most cases. Studio Gang Architects’ SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center utilized the ability to use left over concrete aggregate from construction sites in the surrounding Chicago area. The project features these different types of aggregate in an artistic expression of how and when the concrete was poured during construction.

Another popular trend regarding recycled building materials is the use of site provided materials. As environmental designers, we continually replace natural landscapes with our own built environment, and today our built environment is embellishing the natural environment in a responsible (while still aesthetic) manner. Projects such as the Ann Arbor District Library by inFORM Studio and the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue by Ross Barney Architects are reaping the harvest of their sites. The architects at inFORM researched the site for the Ann Arbor Library to find that ash trees from the surrounding forest were being destroyed by insects and could be salvaged into various surfaces within the building. Ross Barney Architects responded to the more urban site of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue with a similar tactic by repurposing demolished trees into exterior sheathing, torn up paving and pre-existing structure into gabion walls, and even reusing part of the existing building foundation.

When a site has little to give, designers have begun to search within other demolished environments. Juan Luis Martínez Nahuel has found new uses for building elements from other architectural projects in his Recycled Materials Cottage in Chile. The design revolved around the available materials from demolished buildings including glazing from a previous patio as the main façade; eucalyptus and parquet floors as the primary surface covering; and steel and laminated beams from an exhibit as the main structure for the house.

While these methods of reused building materials have become popular in sustainable, contemporary architecture, other designers are experimenting with more unorthodox materials. Archi Union Architects Inc. have developed a wall system that contains a grid of empty soda cans in their mixed-use project,Can Cube. The can filled façade is even adjustable for daylighting by occupants.

Alonso de Garay Architects also discovered a new use for an uncommon object in the building system of their Recycled Building in Mexico City. A series of hanging car tires are constructed to possess and grow traditional species of Mexican plants. While creating a sustainable green wall system, the tires also define exterior space within the complex.

As the process of recycling materials continues to increase as a fashionable and sustainable statement in the architectural world, designers are proposing groundbreaking and futuristic methods that push the boundaries of how we think and build. NL Architects submitted an idea for The Silo Competition that transformed the structure of an old sewage treatment silo into a rock climbing facility and mixed-use residential and commercial spaces. This design addresses the structure and form as a reusable material able to contain an extremely efficient program.

Architects: Studio Gang ArchitectsinFORM StudioRoss Barney ArchitectsAlonso de Garay ArchitectsNL Architects
Photographs:  Paula BaileySteve HallJustin Machonachie, Juan Luis Martinez Nahuel, Sheng Zhonghai, Jimena Carranza, NL Architects


via Recycling+Building Materials – International Business Times.

A new use for old construction and demolition waste – Washington, DC | glObserver Global Economics

A 26 acre site near Washington DC, USA, is the home for Potomac Landfill Inc. In operation since 1985, by 2006 the landfill was more than 75% filled with demolition and construction waste – Potomac only accepts waste for the construction industry.

Since that date, the company has been mining the site for recyclable waste that was buried 18.3- 37 m (60-120 ft) deep to free up space for future operations. Currently, it is recycling ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, concrete, cardboard, tyres and earth that is suitable for use as fill or topsoil.

In 2009, the company bought a tracked Powerscreen Warrior 1800 and added a Powerscreen Warrior 2400 tracked dry screen in 2010. Together with a 20 man portable picking station, these machines form the core of the success of the operation.

According to Potomac general manager Richard Campbell: “It’s working out every bit as well as we’d hoped. We figure the combined mining, screening and picking station operations will add another 20 to 25 years to our landfill, plus we salvage a lot of recyclable materials we can sell for profit and to help preserve the environment.”

“In the old days, practically all the incoming C&D debris – except for some of the very largest pieces of wood, concrete and metal that were picked out by hand – was dumped into a hole and covered up. That’s the 26-acre site we’re now mining.”

The Warrior 1800 is primarily used to separate earth from the mined waste although originally it was used to screen both new material coming on site and mined materials. The Warrior 2400 is now used to process the new material delivered to site, as well as a secondary screen for material that has been processed by the 1800. It is a heavy duty machine that is equipped with optional punch plates, not often used in the USA, instead of fingers and as a result earth and other small material falls though to leave larger recyclable material.

via A new use for old construction and demolition waste| glObserver Global Economics.

Reuse Alliance Expands Board — NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

Two Reuse Leaders Extend Commitment to Sustainability, Join National Reuse Nonprofit

NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Michael Meyer of Goodwill Industries International and Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore are furthering their commitment to the reuse movement by joining the Board of Reuse Alliance — a national nonprofit working to increase awareness of reuse by educating the public about its social, environmental and economic benefits.

Michael Meyer is Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Sourcing for Goodwill Industries International Inc., which provides services to 165 independent, community-based Goodwill® agencies. Meyer’s work focuses on creating business relationships that support four key areas of the Goodwill social enterprise: leveraging buying opportunities through strategic sourcing; contract opportunities for the employment of those served by Goodwill; Goodwill’s retail business, through the acquisition of goods and services for its more than 2,500 store locations, and business models for reuse, repurpose, landfill diversion and sustainable consumption for the billions of pounds of donations that enter our donation stream. “Reuse Alliance establishes another platform through which organizations and consumers can engage and participate in meaningful reuse/repurpose activities that directly impact the very communities in which they live and do business. I am pleased to have been appointed to serve on its board and am looking forward to supporting the strategic direction of the Reuse Alliance,” said Meyer.

Nathan Benjamin (LEED AP) is the Principal and Founder of PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore. PlanetReuse is a reclaimed construction material brokerage and consulting firm with national reach, to help commercial designers and architects incorporate reclaimed building materials into new projects. PlanetRestore serves the residential construction market by offering reuse centers (e.g. Habitat for Humanity ReStores) throughout North America, technology and services to instantly post reclaimed building materials to the web, sell more materials, faster by dramatically increasing inventory exposure and simplifying point-of-sale. A staunch believer in the necessity and value of sustainable design and construction, Benjamin created these companies to take that ideal a step further. PlanetReuse and PlanetRestore are predicated on a simple but revolutionary idea: make it easy for people to use reclaimed materials and they’ll do more of it, keeping those materials out of landfills. He holds an architectural engineering degree and has been a fixture in the construction industry for more than a decade, focusing on sustainable and LEED-certified projects. He has presented on the topic of reclaimed materials at industry conferences nationwide, and is also well known for his passion for sustainability, the arts and community involvement. “Reuse Alliance is a remarkable organization that provides a great way to bring together local, regional, and national communities to raise awareness and create partnerships around reuse. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Board to advance the critical work that has been accomplished in its initial years,” said Benjamin.

As Reuse Alliance board members, Meyer and Benjamin will support a national movement to increase public awareness and access to innovative reuse and waste prevention services. Rounding out the board of directors is Ann Woodward, The Scrap Exchange; Harriet Taub, Materials for Arts; Joe Connell, Portland Metro Habitat for Humanity ReStores; Lorenz Schilling, Deconstruction and Reuse Network; Mary Ann Remolador, Reuse Marketplace; MaryEllen Etienne, Reuse Alliance; and Stefanie Feldman, Waste Management. “I look forward to working with such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic team that shares a common commitment and passion to promote the triple bottom line benefits of reuse,” stated MaryEllen Etienne, Executive Director of the Reuse Alliance.

via Reuse Alliance Expands Board — NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —.

Reclaimed lumber adds history to new home – Canada

Wide boards of reclaimed wood from the Canadian Heritage Timber Co. provide a warm base for this sunlit kitchen.

Wide boards of reclaimed wood from the Canadian Heritage Timber Co. provide a warm base for this sunlit kitchen.

Photograph by: Handout, Vancouver Sun

EDMONTON – Dear Leanne: We are planning to build a second home in Canmore and would love to use reclaimed lumber for the floors. Do you have any comments on this product and where to get it?

We have talked to a few flooring companies and have not received positive comments on the product.

A: Reclaimed wood is more than flooring, in my view; it is an art form that pays homage to our heritage. Reclaiming wood refers to salvaging the wooden remains of deconstruction sites such as historical homes, old buildings, mills, warehouse or barns.

The wood that is reclaimed holds the story of the building it had originally supported. It reflects a place in time and honours the craftsmanship involved in the original construction.

Another major interest people have in using reclaimed lumber is the eco-friendly nature of this resource. There are a few companies, with the closest Canadian companies being in British Columbia, that take great pride in restoring previously used lumber for various applications.

During the salvaging and restoration process, the lumber is categorized into suitability for interior flooring, decking, beams, mantles, stair rungs or furniture. In addition to determining structural integrity, the process is quite elaborate involving hand-grading each plank, sizing for both random and custom lengths and sanding to bring out the natural beauty each plank possesses. See a slide video at

There is a great deal of labour involved to get the wood from its original state to one that can be reused in homes today. It is no surprise that this product also costs more than the prefabricated wood floors that are a beautiful and readily available alternative.

One video I suggest you take a look at is offered by another B.C. company, Second Wind Timber. This video shows the splendour and versatility of reclaimed wood as an Alberta client takes you on a tour of her beautiful home overlooking Shuswap Lake.

I suggest you contact the companies that process these products directly to gain a greater understanding of the specific availability, limitations and costs involved. They can also give you names of clients that have used their products to get a truly unbiased view of choosing reclaimed wood.

Dear Leanne: I would like to add a solarium on to my home and wondered if you could tell me how to make sure it is energy efficient.

A: Adding a solarium or sunroom onto your existing house is a great idea. Planning is the key to longterm enjoyment. When it comes to building onto your home I always recommend you seek the advice of a professional who has expertise the in the area you require — and a client list you can call as a reference check.

There are a few steps you need to consider regardless of who will build the solarium.

Step 1: Determine how you want to use this room. Is it intended to grow plants, be used as a sitting room, a kitchen nook, house a hot tub or increase your current floor space?

Step 2: Consult with a contractor and designer if you are intending to construct this from scratch. This expertise will ensure you have adequate foundations, electrical/ plumbing, insulation, ventilation (important for room temperature as well as moisture control), window construction and security. If you currently have a security provider, ensure you inform them of this new project as it should be protected as well.

You may have decided to use a prefabricated room addition. See your yellow page listings or Google local solarium manufacturers.

Step 3: Ensure you have all permits in place for this construction. An experienced contractor can guide you effortlessly through this process.

Step 4: Plan a product list that will ensure the maximum effectiveness regarding energy efficiency. With glass being the predominant building material used in this structure you can understand why this room will not be the most energy-efficient room in your home.

There are a few things you can do to ensure the solarium is cool in the heat of the summer and yet warm in the winter without taxing your energy bill. Many all-year-round prefabricated solariums offer state-of-the-art window construction to improve temperature fluctuations during seasonal extremes.

If you are building yourself, ensure you use high quality windows. This is the most critical building product for reducing energy losses.

Other considerations include incorporating a stone floor to absorb heat and window treatments that can allow you to control the sun and heat throughout the day, while increasing your privacy at night.

An electric ceiling fan will also aid in moving air, and although does not have the same results as air conditioning, it is more energy efficient.

Leanne Brownoff is an Edmonton interior design consultant who welcomes your questions at Answers will be featured in her column as high volumes prevent individual e-mail responses. Also follow Leanne at

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

via Reclaimed lumber adds history to new home.

A new use for old construction and demolition waste – KHL Group

The Powerscreen 2400 screens new and mined waste at Potomac Landfill's Washington DC site

The Powerscreen 2400 screens new and mined waste at Potomac Landfill’s Washington DC site

A 26 acre site near Washington DC, USA, is the home for Potomac Landfill Inc. In operation since 1985, by 2006 the landfill was more than 75% filled with demolition and construction waste – Potomac only accepts waste for the construction industry. Since that date, the company has been mining the site for recyclable waste that was buried 18.3- 37 m (60-120 ft) deep to free up space for future operations. Currently, it is recycling ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, concrete, cardboard, tyres and earth that is suitable for use as fill or topsoil.

In 2009, the company bought a tracked Powerscreen Warrior 1800 and added a Powerscreen Warrior 2400 tracked dry screen in 2010. Together with a 20 man portable picking station, these machines form the core of the success of the operation.

According to Potomac general manager Richard Campbell: “It’s working out every bit as well as we’d hoped.  We figure the combined mining, screening and picking station operations will add another 20 to 25 years to our landfill, plus we salvage a lot of recyclable materials we can sell for profit and to help preserve the environment.”

“In the old days, practically all the incoming C&D debris – except for some of the very largest pieces of wood, concrete and metal that were picked out by hand – was dumped into a hole and covered up. That’s the 26-acre site we’re now mining.”

The Warrior 1800 is primarily used to separate earth from the mined waste although originally it was used to screen both new material coming on site and mined materials. The Warrior 2400 is now used to process the new material delivered to site, as well as a secondary screen for material that has been processed by the 1800. It is a heavy duty machine that is equipped with optional punch plates, not often used in the USA, instead of fingers and as a result earth and other small material falls though to leave larger recyclable material.


via A new use for old construction and demolition waste – KHL Group.

Give building materials another go – Oregon

Christa Summers prices items while working at the Albany Habitat ReStore. The ReStores offer new life to previously used materials, a growing trend. (David Patton/Democrat-Herald)

Old blue jeans. Wine-stained barrels. Aged, weathered boards.

Most people would see these things and toss them in the trash. But a growing number of builders, artisans and homeowners are looking at them and seeing not an ending, but a beginning.

As reclaimed and recycled building materials grow in popularity, more and more old components are being saved from eternity in a landfill and given new life in someone else’s home.

“It’s about the lifestyle,” said Ben Metzger, owner of Metzger Green Build, a Corvallis construction company that has worked extensively with recycled and reclaimed materials. “It’s not just that you’re not using a new thing. It’s about saving an old thing from death and bringing it back to life.”

Anyone who has walked by a work site knows that construction generates waste: a Dumpster full of wood scraps and carpet pieces is a normal sight. And if an old structure has to be torn down before a new one is built, even more trash is generated. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, building construction generates 170 million tons of waste annually – almost 60 percent of the nation’s nonindustrial solid waste.

Over the past decade, however, more and more builders and homeowners are finding ways to take what would be trash and turn it into treasure.

‘Re-building’ options

Mike Baylor said that from doors to windows to light fixtures, Habitat for Humanity ReStores see thousands of items come through their doors rather than into landfills every year. Across the nation, Habitat ReStores and other re-building centers are part of a growing network of places where contractors can drop off their leftovers, and bargain hunters can come search for secondhand building materials.

“You see a lot of fun stuff come and go,” Baylor said.

The EPA estimates that more than 1,200 re-building stores are in operation nationwide. The Albany ReStore celebrated its 10th year in business in March. Baylor said the Albany store alone has saved more than a million pounds of building material from the landfill.

Metzger said that consumers in the environmentally conscious Pacific Northwest are especially receptive to the idea of using reclaimed and recycled materials. He’s been in business five years and in the construction industry for 15 years, and he said he’s seen a continued growth in the use of reclaimed and recycled materials.

Metzger said that he often looks for reusable pieces on the job. For instance, paperstone, a Corian-like solid surface counter top material, can only be sold by the piece, and he often sees excess chunks of it.

“The leftover piece from one person’s kitchen counter might become someone else’s small bathroom vanity,” he said.


Of course, it’s not always that easy.

“The trouble is warehousing. You can’t necessarily just take it from one job to another. You have to have a place to keep it, and that’s the challenge, getting it from point A to point B,” he said.

What’s more, it takes time to pick through old structures in a process called deconstruction – more time and manpower than it does to bring in heavy machinery and smash it to bits.

“There is an embodied energy involved in getting it back in as a second or third life,” Metzger said.

But when it does happen, the traces of those previous lives can add value to the reclaimed product.

Chris Vitello, owner of the EarthSmart store in Corvallis, sells many items that used to be something else, from insulation made of shredded blue jeans to furniture made of old barn wood. He said that some customers come in looking for reclaimed and recycled materials mainly for environmental reasons, while others want something more.

For instance, the furniture made from old barn wood – it’s not just any barn wood, but wood from a barn in Brownsville, a barn that, legend has it, once contained buried treasure. You can still see the original sawmill marks on the boards that make up the chairs.

“It’s a local story,” he said. “There’s a connection to the product. And when you tell people about the products, they just love the story.”

Metzger said that materials can come from anywhere – flooring from old gymnasiums, wood from sunken bays in the Philippines, barrels from Jack Daniels distilleries in Kentucky. “When you use something like that, it becomes this huge conversation piece,” he said.

He’s currently working on making furniture out of old wine and whisky barrels. “They’re still perfectly great pieces of wood,” he said. “The smell is almost overwhelming, and it’s this deep wine purple. It’s a very tactile experience to work with.”

Read the rest of the article here

via Give building materials another go.

Reclamation Administration: News and Research on Building Material Waste Prevention