Salvaged Materials Triumph as All-Stars of Sustainability
When you save manufacturing energy and have a beautifully crafted home to boot, it’s a win-win situation
Many architects, builders and designers know that using salvaged materials for a new-home project is one of the most sustainable building practices available. Whether it’s old brick, old slate and tile roofing, wood structures and siding, or windows and doors, saving these materials from our landfills lets us all live a little more lightly on the land.From the intense heat required to bake the bricks to the power needed to drive the saws that cut the wood, home-building materials take vast amounts of energy to manufacture. So recapturing that energy and using it again and again means we burn less oil and gas, spewing less carbon into the atmosphere.While it’s good to be green, it’s a plus when we craft something beautiful at the same time. The depth of color, patina and richness of salvaged materials are also design factors that can make our homes truly wonderful.
From the brick walls to the slate roof and more, Mark Hickman used quite a bit of salvaged material in the construction of Hidden Manor, a new home in the Chicago suburbs. These salvaged materials give the home much of its “always been there” quality, and they’re coupled with new, energy-efficient glass windows and doors.
One of the nice aspects of reusing a salvaged material like Chicago brick is how each piece takes on its own personality. It’s as if each individual brick were carefully hand made by an artisan.
Salvaged materials aren’t just for the exterior. In the case of Hidden Manor, the salvaged Chicago brick was brought inside. And what’s the point of using brick and stone if you can’t express their solidity and massiveness? A simple splaying of the window’s rough opening does just that.
In addition to the structural materials of brick and stone, salvaged materials have been used for the interiors. For example, reclaimed boards were milled anew for the kitchen cabinets, creating a truly unique kitchen.
Architect Stuart Narofsky really enjoys incorporating salvaged lumber into his designs. His use of these reclaimed materials adds warmth to many of his modern designs. And Narofsky likes these materials left exposed, saving on the expense of paint and drywall.
For loft renovations, Narofsky will salvage lumber from nearby to incorporate in the finishes. Paneled walls and barn doors made of these materials will have the same appearance as the loft’s original wood framing while keeping the relocated material from a landfill.
Using salvaged doors, sinks, tubs and light fixtures is a great way to add character and style to your project while being greener, too. Salvage yards in just about every city provide almost every building component, from hardware to garden ornaments.