Posted in education on March 26, 2015 10:44 am EDT

Material Rebirth

How proactive are you at seeking out repurposed materials for your house of worship projects? And is there a reasonable payback?

The mantra of RepurposedMaterials: "Repurposing is good for the planet, and keeps [significant amounts] of waste out of landfills."











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TAGS: business, creation care, environmental stewardship, materials, reuse, sustainability,


By Aubrey Rhoadarmer

Not only can repurposed materials help you with [a] renovation, but the discarded roofing membrane or wood can be turned around to be repurposed in another place.

Designing and renovating spaces, especially those dedicated to worship, is a difficult task. But by integrating the process of repurposing into your business, you can find a unique way to improve your efficiency and make your work even more beautiful, according to Damon Carson, founder and president of Denver-area RepurposedMaterials. Carson’s website points out that repurposing is not recycling. Instead, it is creative re-use of materials. And he notes, “We are the only company in America whose entire product line is made of repurposed items.”

Supply & demand

Discarded wood from basketball courts, bowling alleys, and other things can be used in many ways. This wood can be turned into countertops, table tops, flooring with an interesting pattern, or it can even add an unusual flair to a wall or ceiling. Bleachers from a high school, complete with gum, can be shined up and turned into shelves or benches. Wooden slats from snow fences can also be pulled apart and used in similar architectural ways. Weathered wood siding is also a product that can be repurposed in a beautiful way; it can be turned into decorative paneling or signs for indoors or outdoors.

Reused materials present limitless opportunity. Weathered wood siding, for example, can be repurposed into decorative paneling and signs for indoors or out.

Another atypical yet beautiful reuse that RepurposedMaterials has been part of is turning ski cables into hand railings. This product may seem like only a length of incredibly strong wire that should never have a place in a house of worship, but the cable can become a very unique addition to the building.

Retired army parachutes can be used as a decorative shade canopy for indoors or outdoors, if the house of worship you are redesigning has an outdoor common area. Wire panels that would once have been used on the outside of commercial air conditioners to keep balls, birds, and other things out can be repurposed as fencing.

Perhaps when you’re tasked to renovate a building, there is mold in the roof and it needs to be redone, or the floorboards are creaky. Whatever repairs need to be made before the building can be in its best state again, repurposing can play a major role. Not only can repurposed materials help you with the renovation, but the discarded roofing membrane or wood can be turned around to be repurposed in another place.

Sustaining the planet (and your firm)

Repurposing is good for the planet, and keeps tons of waste out of landfills. Repurposed materials are also cheaper than new products, although not less effective. As Benjamin Franklin once reported, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” And by spending money on repurposed materials instead of brand new products for their businesses, architects can save themselves that penny.

Repurposing is a unique process. Few people have yet to embrace this amazing idea, but it’s never too late, Carson says. Repurposing is earth-friendly, finance-friendly, and can provide AECs with many products that can be out-of-the-box additions to amazing house-of-worship design.

Learn more about RepurposedMaterials here, and find their newsletter resource: (visit link)



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