Building Materials Reuse - On Site

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What is It?

  • The reuse of building materials on site is a process to extend (potentially indefinitely) the period from cradle-to-grave for existing materials in the renovation of a building. Careful methods of deconstruction and repurposing of materials within the building are included in the process.
  • Also known as: Repurposing, New Life Reuse, and in some cases Adaptive Reuse and Up-cycling.

Why is it Important?

  • Helps to sustain the environment by avoiding landfills.
  • Historically preserves the integrity of the building by use of original materials.
  • Reduces embodied energy significantly by using materials that are already manufactured and have no need for transportation.

When to Use It?

  • When there are any number of materials available for harvest within the space.
  • Reuse of any material on site is preferred unless found to be unsafe.

Green Garage Use of On Site Materials

Sustainability Goals
  • Reuse 90% of all non-toxic materials on site.
  • Recycle 90% of remaining 10% of materials not used on site.
  • <1% of materials to enter waste stream.
Strategy and Conceptual Design
Material Original Use Image Amount Reuse Recycle Projected Waste
  • 2"x8"
  • 2"x4"
  • 1"x6"
  • Ceiling joists in warehouse
  • Office partitions
  • Flooring materials in rear loft
  • 2100lf
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • Wall Studs
  • Flooring
  • Partitions
  • Furniture
  • Features
Gypsum Wall Board
  • Ceiling throughout warehouse area
  • Wall covering in warehouse offices
Gypsum.jpg 7500sq ft
  • Wallboard
  • Thermal Mass
  • Use of gypsum as material for stucco/plaster
  • Soil (broken)
Particle Board
  • Sporadic Wall Covering

(Formaldehyde Emission Info)

Fiberboard.jpg 232sq ft
  • Protection of walls behind bicycle racks
  • Protection of lower wall in work shop
  • Use panels to create desks or tables for offices
  • Use for project boards/kiosk

(Sealing Fiberboard VOC p.115)

0% 0%
  • Original showroom windows for historic car dealership
  • Glass panel office walls, currently concealed with existing office walls
Glass.jpg 412sq ft
  • Relocate historic windows within building
  • Reuse pane glass for transom windows
  • Provide glass for artist etching and painting
  • Grind up for remanufacture
  • Original exterior wall constructed of double width brick
  • Brick veneer for window infill on front of building
  • Cinder block infill of original window and door locations

(Information Database)

Block.jpg TBD 0%
  • Additional sidewalk added between city walk and building
Concrete.jpg TBD 0%
  • Various diameter pipes used for original steam(radiator) heating system
Pipe.jpg TBD
  • Furniture
  • Stair rail
  • Bike rack
  • Water catch system
  • Aesthetically
Detroit Scrap Metal 0%
  • Blown in cellulose located in ceiling throughout building
Cellulose.jpg TBD
  • Relocated Insulation
  • Compost
  • Mulch
Electrical Fixtures
  • Flourescent fixtures located in warehouse and office areas
Electrical.jpg 74
  • Relocated
0% 0%
Fiberglass Insulation
  • Used in exterior walls of remodeled offices
  • Installed under loft area at rear of warehouse
Fiberglass.jpg TBD

Ongoing debate:

No known methods TBD
Duct Flex/Steel
  • Heat supplies for forced air heating system in remodeled offices
Duct.jpg TBD
  • Clean and reuse in new duct work where codes allow
  • Bathroom ventilation
  • Earth Tubes manifold
  • Separate components of flexible duct for recycling
Ceiling Tiles

(acoustic fiberglass)

  • Suspended Ceiling
  • Acoustical Buffer
Ceiling.jpg TBD
  • Encapsulate in interior walls
  • Kiosk Pin Board
  • Sound insulation
  • Glue down commercial grade floor covering in offices
Carpet.jpg TBD
  • Mitigate damage of temporary truck well fill
  • Electrical and low voltage (phone) lines from offices and throughout ceiling
Wire.jpg TBD
  • Water Chain
  • Artistic Purposes

(Need process verification. Do they strip and recycle wire coatings?)


Development Story

The Sustainable Materials Management - Development Story has images that document the Green Garage's processes involving materials.



Peggy edited this page :)