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The benefits of recycling old buildings into new buildings.  RSS feed

 
Seth Wetmore
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Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
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Reduce, reuse,recycle, and refuse. The four Rs to moving forward with the ecology in mind.
Are there benefits to recycling old buildings into new materials?
Do the contaminants of the old buildings have to be dealt with before they can be safely used? I think of lead, D.D.T., asbestos, polymers, Heavy metals, Radio active contaminants. mold, fungus, dry rot, etc.
What would be good sollutions for these items. List what you think is important. Have a great day.
 
Sean Rauch
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Seth Wetmore wrote:Reduce, reuse,recycle, and refuse. The four Rs to moving forward with the ecology in mind.
Are there benefits to recycling old buildings into new materials?
Do the contaminants of the old buildings have to be dealt with before they can be safely used? I think of lead, D.D.T., asbestos, polymers, Heavy metals, Radio active contaminants. mold, fungus, dry rot, etc.
What would be good sollutions for these items. List what you think is important. Have a great day.


I have limited experience with reusing building materials.

There are some products I would reuse and some I probably wouldn't (not that you can't):
Brick - old brick is a super common material to reuse.
Timbers - old timbers can be great for framing etc, the only thing to worry about is like you said lead paint (sand blast off) and the fact that solid old wood can be incredibly hard tough stuff to work with so unless you have experience it can be difficult. The look can be awesome though.
Windows- generally old windows are energy leaches so you need to be conscious of this.
Doors - some old doors are awesome but may not be great in the insulation department, I'd probably stick to interior use.
Insulation - old bat insulation sucks, I'd only use it for sound. The bats can hold a lot of contamination. Foams are generally good and cellulose can be difficult to reuse.
Roofing materials - I'd generally stay away, but if you can find great stuff then have at-er.

Those are some of my takes.
 
Seth Wetmore
Posts: 158
Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
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Goodpoints Sean.
One of the items I forgot to mention was possible cost.
I like a site called relaxshacks.com He has some interesting ideas for recycling building materials. into real tiny buildings, not full sized homes.
Have a great day.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Seth,

Because my time is so spread out, it is hard for me to respond to open questions/statements like this. I make a portion of my living repurposing vintage architecture. So if you want more detail, give me bullitized questions and I will try to answer them.

regards,

j


Are there benefits to recycling old buildings into new materials?

Yes

Do the contaminants of the old buildings have to be dealt with before they can be safely used?

sometimes

I think of lead, D.D.T., asbestos, polymers, Heavy metals, Radio active contaminants. mold, fungus, dry rot, etc.

That is a given and in most cases like that reuse is not applicable, warranted or time/cost effective.

What would be good sollutions for these items.

?

List what you think is important.

To generic give me specific questions, and I will do my best.
 
Seth Wetmore
Posts: 158
Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
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Thanks for the response Jay. It seems vauge. The questions are general.
Many people are not in construction. So I look to get peoples experience as a reference point.
These questions may have been asked before. I have not read every article on this forum site.
So I may have missed prior posts.
If I am missing them then someone else may also be missing them. I do not have a personal project going. This is for information.
In the case that I am offered work to recycle materials.
Here are some stats concerning me.
High school education. Work experience 21 years.
General laborer. Not a contractor.
Skill sets: Blacksmith, General carpentry, Weldor, Fabricator, Debris hauling, Welding sales, Mover, gardener, low end tech installer ( cameras, Internet cable, business Phone systems, painter, theatre.
So my experience is vast and a bit disorganized. Others are beyond my education as well as work experience.
Some of what I am asking for, opinions, facts, experience, success, failure. Again a general series of questions directed at bringing forth information I am interested in or I think may be relavant to help others.
The idea is similar to being in a school setting. The teacher asks for people to ask questions and the students just sit there. I was the kid in the class that asked questions to help the timid ones get involved. I may have known the answer to the questions I asked. There was always a kid that was to afraid to ask the questions. So they got the answers because some one in class asked the questions.
I have found that I have been wrong on a number of subjects in my life, so I can retract my words if I am wrong. Also I still have a long road of learning ahead of me. When I believe I know everything someone always seems to know just a bit more that I missed or ignored. Similar to the D.C. VS. A.C. mistake I made last week. I knew the information. I did not know the Finner details. I was corrected. I went and found a book on physics, read the article on power generation. Made sure I was wrong and Put the correction Up as soon as I could.
I do appriciate your time. Thank you for your responses. Your knowledge could help many people.
Have a great day.
 
Seth Wetmore
Posts: 158
Location: Some where in the universe in space and time.
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The construction and reconstruction of buildings, in my experience.
I have been involved in many projects concerning construction and remodelling. The idea of useing recycled materials was never cost efficient. There also are very limited sorces of used materials that are in any condition to be reused. Brick, stones, old red wood, windows, doors. These items are the more common items that I have seen go into reconstruction, or new construction. Most of the tear downs are done in such a manner that the materials are destroyed in the process. Concrete is salvaged by large companies and recycled.
Metals are seperated out to go through recycling. Timber is seperated out to become mulch. etcettera.
Very little of the old construction materials is even considered worth salvaging.
What we built with in the past may not be allowed to be used in the present.
The benefiits that I see for reducing waste by reusing it.
Example Lumber.
1. Transport and recycling of old lumber can be in the local area of the building. The material does not have to travel hundreds possibly thousands of miles to be recycled. Benefit: Reduced fuel consumption for transport.
2. A forest does not have to be cleared to create the lumber that already exsists. Reducing the clearing of forests. Benefit: trees sequester carbon longer, and grow to better sizes more appropriate for harvest qualities desired.
3. We keep the lumber out of the land fills. Land fills are related to population size. The more we fill the land fills the sooner we have to create a new land fill.
Reducing our waste going into a land fill means less land fills in our back yards. Benefit. Keeping land fills at a resonable distance from housing.
4. Keeping old lumber and reusing it sequesters the carbon the wood is made from for a longer period of time. Benefit: longer sequestering of carbon. reducing the decay of wood material.
Have a great day
 
Sheryl bohlman
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Hi, this sounds like a wondeful idea, recycle wood and building materials.

We recently bought a 1979 double wide home, and we were debating to remodel the exsisting or build a stick building.

There would be so much we could reuse, the wood in outer walls, the cabinets, sinks, toilets and windows are in excellent shape.

I will be calculating the cost and benefits of this option. Surely could save money and environment.
 
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