Greening your home and your building practices can start with very simple changes.
Reuse and Recycle
The basic principal for greening your home is that it makes more sense to reuse materials that still have life left in them. There is a great deal of
what is known as "embodied energy" in homes that have already been constructed. The materials used to construct your home have been harvested or
created once before and that energy is partially wasted if the materials are retired before their useful lifetime. It actually takes twenty times
the energy to build a new building than it does to restore an existing one. That doesn't even take into account the space in the landfill
that is used by the demo and disposal of the remnants of a building.
When we do any work on a home we're always trying to reuse as much material as possible. Much of the wood from the original construction
can be cleaned of its nails and screws and used again. The labor costs are a bit higher, but the costs for materials are lower.
These tend to balance out for no net change in cost for the homeowner.
Windows, doors and molding are often no longer needed through the reworking of a floor plan or work like the addition of a French door unit.
These items are usually not thrown away by us. Many people will choose to keep all the original details of a home intact on site,
as they may be just the temporary stewards of a home that will go through many lives with several families. If the pieces are still
there and in good condition then they can be used at a later date for the next remodel. If there is no desire by the homeowner to
store them for later use, there are places for them to go for reuse. Salvage yards often accept them as trade for other items or as a
donation. Habitat for Humanity is one of many charities that are always in need of building materials.
Recycled Fence Material
The appliances in your home
may be old to you, but there are lots of people in this city that could use an upgrade. We work
with Freecycle.org to find good
homes for used appliances with many years of use still left in them. Any broken appliances or other unwanted metal produced by
construction could be recycled.
We often replace driveways and other concrete flatwork. The broken pieces have many suitable
uses around the yard. They often can be stacked to make beautiful rustic garden walls. It may seem odd, but if the homeowner
doesn't want to use the old concrete in some creative way, others will. Freecycle.org
is a great resource for concrete chunks to get their second life.
All of these various aspects of reuse and recycle can be handled by Black Star Building and Design.
The time involved is usually not significant, but the positive effects can be dramatic in the long term.