Build your New Home with Recycled Materials

Guest Blog by Chuck@

Recycled building materials create recycled building materialsgreener neighborhoods

As the green movement gains momentum, more people want to apply their eco-conscious principles to larger projects than a backyard composter.  At the same time, the standard of living is as high as ever and the average home builder is not willing to sacrifice the amenities they’ve come to love.  Luckily, there is a way to satisfy both the urge to go green and the desire to live comfortably.

Using recycled building materials is an eco-conscious move, but the environmental advantages stretch beyond preserving raw materials. For every recycled element in your home, that’s one less thing that had to be manufactured, transported or covered in a landfill.  In the end, the amount of energy that can be saved simply by using reclaimed materials is astounding, making your green home building well worth the effort.

Three Ways to Use Recycled Building Materials

1.       Base your design on unwanted items. The foundation of a home typically requires a substantial amount of time and resources, so look to durable materials that can support your structure. Building with recycled materials can be tricky, especially when it comes to foundations: tires packed with dirt, used cinder blocks and polypropylene-filled feed sacks are all viable foundation materials.  Investigate feed supply stores for bags or look into tire recycling centers or yard sales for tires.


2.       Reclaim resources for the structure. Instead of visiting your local hardware store, why not take a trip to the dump? It’s amazing what people throw away in a culture that places so much value in new commodities. Some dump sites even have a separate area to house potentially reusable items, so commit some time to sifting through the perfectly functional accessories or appliances that were discarded at your local dump.

Looking for lumber? Check out dumpsters at construction sites that collect everything from framing materials to wood that can line your roof or walls. If you can salvage any lumber from a local barn, you’ll be getting a treat – old wood that’s in fairly good condition and has been kept dry will have had a chance to cure and will be less likely to warp. Another option is to find an abandoned building that can be purchased from the city or owner at a low cost, and use the lumber for the skeleton of the structure as well as a rustic design element.


3.       Get imaginative with containers. For those who are interested in adding some extra square footage to their home, consider the money, energy and resources that can be saved by attaching a room that’s already been built. From shipping containers to old box cars to silos, many structures are perfectly functional, though no longer needed by their original owners. Alternatively, consider using an existing structure on your property in your design, such as a barn that can be refurbished.

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Photo Credit: recycled building materials

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