Monday, March 09, 2009

Markets in Everything: Reused Building Materials

According to a story on NPR this morning (link not available yet), business is booming for Planet Reuse, the world's first free-to-use website focused on architects, designers, contractors and material reclaimers to connect, find and source reused building materials (current listings include structural steel, doors, wood flooring, limestone balconies (pictured above), columns, bricks, pine joists, mail boxes, silos, etc.).


At 3/09/2009 11:01 AM, Blogger Kelly D. Miller said...

I am a big fan of recycling which increases resources however, in my experience recycled steel is not as strong as "new" steel. Am I wrong?

At 3/09/2009 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recycled steel is strong as new.

Used steel amy not be, depending on the corrosion present.

Recycling building materials has a really small profit margin ( you have to dismantle the stuff to get it, where as new can be ordered or picked up out of inventory).

As Miller points out there may be qulity problems.

And usually you cannot haul stuff very far before it is uneconomical.

But, sometimes you can get stuff that is otherwise unavailable, like Chestnut lumber.


At 3/09/2009 12:32 PM, Blogger QT said...

"Recycling building materials has a really small profit margin"

The above statement hits on the greatest disadvantage of using recycled building materials. A great deal of extra labour is required to dismantle buildings and details like the balcony in the photo require the building to be designed around the feature. Lower productivity translates into lower return on investment.

In our business, we have found that the added cost of labour, storage, shipping and custom design make reuse a very time consuming and expensive undertaking. We have found the cost of renovating a heritage structure can exceed new construction.

At 3/09/2009 3:14 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I am a big fan of recycling which increases resources..."

Consider carefully the wit & wisdom of Penn & Gillette when it comes to recycling...:-)

At 3/09/2009 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am a big fan of recycling which increases resources..."

How does it increase resources when the cost of reconstruction can be greater than the cost of new?

I call this mindless green thinking.

I'm a big fan of recycling when it makes economic sense or when it is something I really want, or want to do. In other words when I don't mind wasting resources for some other value. but i won;t recycle just to be doing it.



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