Material Reuse…An Overview

During the construction process, the El Moore has taken a very calculated approach to reduce the amount of waste produced from the build.  To meet the goals of reducing the build’s waste by 50% and using at least 25% of total build materials that are reclaimed, a great deal of planning has been involved.  Especially in terms of ways to reuse materials from the job site itself as well as other local sources. One of the most interesting stories regarding the repurposing of materials involves sandstone curbs that once lined Prentice Street, just a few blocks away from the El Moore development site. Existing Sandstone Curbs on Canfield St. Two years ago the city was in the process of re-paving Prentice and, as part of that project, was pulling out the original sandstone curbs to pour new curbing.  While initially the development team was unsure of how the sandstone might be used, it was impossible to let sandstone, that was a period and color match with the El Moore’s stone, go unsalvaged.  The Green Garage approached the contractor with a proposal to reclaim the sandstone curbs and deliver them to the El Moore site.  Over the course of the next two days nearly 200 pieces of century old sandstone was saved from the landfill and awaiting a new life at the El Moore.  The question of how to use the stone now had to be answered and after many conversations the decision was made to explore using the stone to build our fence columns that are part of our decorative fence line that would be installed along Alexandrine Street. Once there is a viable idea in place, there remains a lot of planning that needs to happen before a project can be completed. For example, to turn the sandstone into columns, an exact blueprint for the columns needed to be created so that the limited amount of salvaged stone can be used efficiently.  The final plan for the sandstone included nine columns made up of a concrete pillar encased in 70 pieces of sandstone cut to specific sizes to make a matching pattern on each column.
Wet cutting our sandstone curbs for reuse IMG_6542

Throughout the development of the El Moore three questions are constantly being asked to help reduce the environmental impact of the job, as well as helping maintain its goals for waste and re-used materials.

These three questions are:

Question 1. Is it a material we already have available, even if it needs to be re-worked?

Question 2. Where can we get this (Material) from a used source?

Question 3. If we need new material how can we ensure it is the most sustainable material we can use?

In asking these questions the development team is constantly looking for ways to more efficiently use the materials already found on the job site. As well as looking for the least impactful ways to buy and use new materials when they are needed. By having asking these three questions, the columns that will be built for the fence at the El Moore will not simply be made of the red brick that is so common in new construction. Instead they will be made out of sandstone that was mined from the same geographic area and during the same time period as the stone that covers the exterior of the El Moore itself. Adding a historical significance as well as a community tie that is not possible if new materials would have been used. In this way, the columns are much more than just an example of sustainability but also an example of how sustainability works in hand with community.