Materials management - as built

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During the 2 years of work on the design phase of this building, one of the hardest working groups was the materials group. They spent about 6 months working through the design of our materials management process, and once we were under construction, they continually refined the process. The group explored ways to reuse existing and salvaged materials, and investigated the overall sustainability, embodied energy and lifetime impact of new materials. Materials were divided into 3 groups:

Sustainability Goals

The sustainability goals for materials were:

  • Reuse 90% of all non-toxic deconstructed materials from the existing building on site.
  • Find off site reuse for 90% of the remaining 10% of non toxic deconstructed materials .
  • Return <1% of all materials to land fills
  • At least 75% of the materials coming into the building to come from the U.S. waste stream.


Building materials reuse - on site

The group identified the most abundant materials within the space, verified if any were materials that were toxic or unsafe for reuse, and quantified the materials as accurately as possible. They were stored for future reuse within the building. Please note that we often reversed the design/construction process based on what we had accumulated. In most construction situations, a design is done and then materials are found to fit into the design. Often, however, we did design according to the materials we had at hand. As an example, one of our original arched front windows (that had been removed and stored) helped inform the greenhouse design. The following chart helps explain where some of our materials went.

Material Original Use Image Amount Projected Reuse Actual Reuse Amount of 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
  • Ceiling joists were used as roof rafters
  • Office partitions were used as studs in walls
  • Rear loft flooring stayed intact
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)
Gypsum wall board served as a thermal and acoustic mass in the walls and floor 0%
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)

Ceiling of annex bathroom 10%
  • 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
  • Glass was used in 2 areas: the greenhouse and the Imaginarium wall
  • 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
  • Bricks that had covered the original front windows were used to make a half wall in the annex.
  • Some bricks from the original exterior wall were used in the 3-season room and the greenhouse
  • Cinderblock that had covered the original windows was used to build a bathroom in the annex, for planters in the greenhouse, a base for the greenhouse and as a weight for the solar panels' frame.
  • Additional sidewalk added between city walk and building
Concrete.jpg TBD
  • Some concrete was used to help fill in the truck ramp in the parking lot
  • Some was sent to Mike Mancini of Redford Cement for recycling
  • Various diameter pipes used for original steam(radiator) heating system
Pipe.jpg TBD
  • Furniture
  • Stair rail
  • Bike rack
  • Water catch system
  • Aesthetically
  • Some steam and gas pipe was used to make our front stair rail.
  • Some became a clip rail for lights in the business center.
  • Some became the basement rail.
  • Some became a pergola over the gardener's bench in the backyard.
  • Blown in cellulose located in ceiling throughout building
Cellulose.jpg TBD
  • Relocated Insulation

Cellulose was relocated to the roof.

Electrical Fixtures
  • Flourescent fixtures located in warehouse and office areas
Electrical.jpg 74
  • Relocated

Electrical fixtures were sold on Craigslist for reuse

Fiberglass Insulation
  • Used in exterior walls of remodeled offices
  • Installed under loft area at rear of warehouse
Fiberglass.jpg TBD

Ongoing debate:

Fiberglass insulation could not be repurposed, so it was sealed in plastic bags and put into the dumpster.

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

The duct material could not be repurposed, so it was scrapped.

Ceiling Tiles

(acoustic fiberglass)

  • Suspended Ceiling
  • Acoustical Buffer
Ceiling.jpg TBD
  • Encapsulate in interior walls
  • Kiosk Pin Board
  • Sound insulation
  • Ceiling tiles were used as added insulation in interior walls.
  • They were also used inside the drywall ceilings in the meeting rooms for acoustic purposes.
  • Glue down commercial grade floor covering in offices
Carpet.jpg TBD
  • Mitigate damage of temporary truck well fill

Carpet was scrapped.

  • Electrical and low voltage (phone) lines from offices and throughout ceiling
Wire.jpg TBD
  • Water Chain
  • Artistic Purposes

Sent to scrap metal location.


Building materials reuse - Off Site

Here we set a goal of 75% of all materials that were to come into the building be from the U.S. waste stream. We met that goal. The following chart delineates the materials we needed, the proposed suppliers and actual suppliers.

Material Use Proposed Supplier Actual Supplier
  • Prospective Flooring Solution
  • Front Garden Pavers
  • Short Dividing Walls
  • Steps
  • Rear Garden Walls
Brick Pavers
  • Pavers for parking lot, indoor/outdoor, front foyer
  • Historic Brick Co.
  • John Clarke - 514-697-2501 Ohio, craigslist, pavers from Hocking brewery
Structural Wood
  • Areas that require verifiable load capacities
  • LVLs 12" and 16"
  • Adair Salvage Company
  • A local shipping company sold us their 2X6's used for packaging
Steel I-Beams
  • Indoor/Outdoor Room
  • 10" - 14ft long

craigslist - Rochester Hills - 3 I-Beams

Bought some 'new' (from recycled materials) from local suppliers

Metal Windows
  • Greenhouse 10 x 20

Donation from the Ottawa Power Plant in Lansing, MI (had been undergoing renovation)

OSB 4' x 8'
  • Roof needs 1/2"
  • Craigslist: Steve Milkey in Manchester, MI (300 sheets of 3/4 in)
  • Craigslist: Steve Milkey in Manchester, MI (300 sheets of 3/4 in)
  • Rigid Polyiso 4' x 8'in 1", 2" and 3"
Windows and Doors
  • Reuse of Windows and Doors would strictly be for interior use
  • Solid Core doors can be used as a flooring solution
  • Interior Windows that do not need thermal insulation.
  • Detroit Antiques Market
  • networking! We got a lot of doors from Ken B (they had been stored in his barn)
Wood Flooring
  • Living floor material
  • Lon Ullman (Troy)
  • Decorative tiling
  • Mosaic pattern (acquired scrap)
  • Bathroom or areas with drainage
  • Cercan Tile - Margaret said they would start saving scraps
  • MCBW - has bottles that we can Dan
  • Door pulls
  • Handles
  • Hinges
  • Bath hardware


Building Materials - New

Philosophy for new use

  • Best used when existing materials or reuse of existing materials would have adverse affects on community health, safety or well-being.
  • New materials were chosen for their sustainable manufacturing process, minimum embodied energy, amount of recycled content, and local availability.

Sustainability goals

  • Limited use of new materials as much as feasible. First goal was to reuse 90% of existing materials on site. Building Materials reuse on site
  • Researched alternative finishes and creative reuse of existing materials in all areas. Building Material reuse from off site
  • Used manufacturers that adhere to sustainable practices.
  • Where available, used products manufactured within 500 miles to help limit the energy expended in transportation.

New Materials Use

Material Source Use
Insulation (cellulose) Ken Byczynski Wall and ceiling insulation
Limestone Roman Stone Works from Detroit

Trim on outside of building

Structural Wood
  • Brooks Lumber
  • Fingerle Lumber

Areas that require verifiable load capacities

Thermal and partition walls.

Windows Kelly Windows Provide natural ventilation and daylight
Doors Antil Window and Door Provide building access and daylight
Drywall Ryan Building Materials New wall board for wall and ceiling surfaces.
Paint Benjamin Moore 'Aura'

from Teknicolor Paints

Decorative and reflective finishes throughout.
Piping/PEX Pex Supply Radiant floor heat and connections from solar panels to thermal water storage tanks.
Lighting Gasser Bush and Rejuvenation New lighting fixtures throughout the building.
Roofing Duro-Last White reflective weather barrier to minimize heat gain typical of existing black roof.
Electrical Sourced by electrician New wiring as required for safety and code compliance.
Hardware Russell Hardware (Baldwin Brand) Door knobs, hinges, bath hardware.