Something Old into Something New... Using Salvaged and Recyclable Materials

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 136 million tons  of construction and demolition waste was generated in 1996, which was the last  time these figures were made available, and those numbers have most likely  risen in the 15 years since.  

 The data shows that the majority of the waste came from demolition and  renovation, while the rest came from new construction, with less than 30  percent of that waste salvaged for recycling.  

 Today, architectural salvage, which in simplest terms is the reclamation or  reuse of architectural materials, is gaining popularity in our more  environmentally-conscious society.  

 “The advantage of this is that it’s generally better quality, a better price and has a lot more character than  something newer,” says Stuart Grannen, the owner of Architectural Artifacts Inc., an  architectural salvage company in the Lakeview section of Chicago, which boasts  an 80,000-square-foot showroom. “Our focus has always been on pieces of intrigue, objects of a lost world, the  aesthetic and the beautiful. It’s a lot more fun and you can always feel good about the green part of it all.”  

 Remodeling with secondhand building materials has many fans. Some are owners of  historic houses who improve their homes by adding period elements. Others  follow green building practices and appreciate conserving resources and keeping  materials out of landfills. And still others are looking for quirky elements  that will break their homes out of cookie-cutter molds.  


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