According to the National Association of Home Builders, home construction, remodeling and demolition is responsible for 25-30 percent of the nation’s annual municipal solid waste. Using salvaged and reclaimed material may be considered the ultimate sustainable building practice. Not only does it reduce waste and landfill burdens, it eliminates the need to use energy and virgin resources to create new products.

How about an example closer to home:

During rehabilitation of a home on historic Washington Street, we calculated that our focus on repair and reuse diverted from the landfill more than 2,300 pounds of metal, 2,700 pounds of concrete, and about 2,900 pounds of drywall and wood scraps.

Check out this detailed summery and snapshots of us fabricating finished flooring from reclaimed subfloor and outfitting the house with reclaimed lumber, reglazed window frames and salvaged glass. You won’t recognize the before and after.

And this is just one of many of our rehabilitations and projects that demonstrate the cost-efficiency and beauty that emerge from a bit of sweat paired with innovative, green thinking. How can you reinvest in your spaces? Executive director Craig Graybeal shares some tips for thinking green during your next home renovation.


Rather than replace a wood rail, wood consolidant is used to strengthen the extant damaged wood.  A 2-part filler will then be used to reform the missing section of wood.

“By thoughtfully deconstructing building components during the demolition phase of this project, we were able to salvage siding for use in repairs, lumber used for new walls and to replace damaged pieces of the existing structure, bricks for use in repair of the basement walls. A local salvage yard specializing in building deconstruction provided salvaged wood flooring for repairs, an enameled sink for the garden work station, and many other components. Not all the materials needed can come from salvage or reclaiming, but it is always our first choice.” — student reflections from 522 S. Gharkey Street.