Repurposed Materials or Recycled Materials in New Construction? Which is Greener?

Graber Insealators is preparing to build a brand new, completely environmentally friendly building. The first thing that comes to mind when creating this type of building is using recycled materials because, like most people, you assume that doing so is the best option for the environment. However, using repurposed material can actually be much more environmentally friendly than using new or even recycled material.

This might come as a shock, because the word “recycle” usually brings up images of the most environmentally friendly materials possible. But if you have materials available for repurposing without the need for creating them in the first place, that’s an immediate energy savings. Why? Because the recycling process of melting, grinding, and changing the wasted material into usable material still requires energy input. Repurposed material takes no energy, just a little creativity and the materials themselves.

For an example in the insulation world, there are mini homeless shelters made entirely of repurposed materials in Oakland, California. Illegally dumped items are turned into rolling homes on wheels, complete with mirrors, skylights, and insulation. The insulation is actually crafted from discarded pizza delivery bags, using the same technology that keeps your pizza piping hot to keep the homeless warm during winter nights.

You can even use repurposed materials to save money in your home right now! If you have naked water pipes in your basement, take some newspaper and wrap around it. There are multiple benefits from this, including preventing your pipes from freezing in the winter and preserving the standing water temperature in the pipes, saving you money from running your hot water heater less. Repurposed materials are going to play a vital role in the new Graber Insealtors building, and they can help make your home more “green” as well.




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