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I was forwarded a nifty 8 minute YouTube from our Associate Director demonstrating ways in which repurposed building materials have been utilized in Britain. They have taken materials from deconstruction, as opposed to demolition, projects and found unique ways of using their composite properties in providing insulation and load bearing strength to a new building. Even using outdated materials that had a different purpose (such as VHS and Cassette plastic/tape), the demonstration gives hope that 1) seemingly obsolete materials may have a second purpose and extend their useful life and 2) less energy can be spent from landfill operations in burying old items. Here in Fairbanks the transfer stations have set aside areas for recycling, and old doors, hot water heaters, toilets, etc….. are often set aside specifically for a second user as people update and remodel their homes. And if you look online, there are even retail stores that have now begun with selling old style bricks with the mortar clipped off, old drywall already painted, insulation, and specialty door knobs/cabinet handles. The downside to collecting these materials in good shape is that much more time is used, and municipalities might incur more liability with a job site that remains open longer. So, often it is the cost of labor on tearing apart, sorting and delivering formerly used materials which makes deconstruction vs. demolition cost effective. Watch the video and see what you think of repurposing!

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