Upcycling in Renovation
If you’re like the majority of the population, you have a few things you’ve kept around for some reason or another. It could be the pile of clothing in the corner of your closet that you wore 35 pounds ago, a stack of left over wood in your backyard, a random assortment of dishes you boxed up, and the list could go on forever. No matter the reason this “stuff” claimed your space, it isn’t benefiting you in any way. Enter upcycling. Respect your stuff and give it a purpose.
Upcycling is derived from the principle of utility. Is it practical? Will it last? How many different things can I do with it? In contrast to recycling, upcycling doesn’t involve breaking down material to create something else – it’s giving life to something that was once forgotten and turning it into something you need or desire. The list of things you can create from upcycling is limitless and the supplies to build them are all over the place.
Before you request a dumpster during your next renovation project, think outside of the box. Change your perspective and ask yourself how the left over material could be put to work. There are several benefits to upcycling. First, an upcycling project allows you to take time for yourself, to think differently, and feel productive, an activity most would call healthy. Secondly, it frees up space by transforming what was once clutter into something awesome. Third, upcycling is basically free. Lastly, you can take pride in creating something unique.
Here’s a scenario to kick start the imagination:
- Regardless of the fact that you quit gardening, you still have a patch of round tomato cages in your backyard.
- You need a new lamp shade. Turn over that tomato cage. Do you see the skeleton of your new lamp shade? Cut and bend the wire until resembles a shade shape you like.
- Take the skeleton inside and grab that bag of clothing you haven’t donated and start cutting strips of fabric.
- Tie or braid the fabric around the frame. Have fun with the colors and patterns. Continue tying until you’re satisfied and ready to use it.
- Congratulations! You just upcycled!
There are several reasons to replace windows, whether it’s time to give your home a facelift or they’re leaking air and water. There are a few factors to consider before sealing the deal on new windows:
- Frames. Which material should you choose? There’s vinyl, wood, aluminum, wood-clad, composite, fiberglass, and more. Climate and environmental factors should be addressed while discussing options as some will be better suited to your needs than others.
- Glass. You can choose single-paned, double-paned, or triple-paned if you’d like. Don’t forget to consider your climate. If you experience harsh winters, a triple-paned window will keep you warmer than a double.
- What about U-value and Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC)? These terms indicate a window’s resistance to heat loss and measure how much heat can enter through the glass. The lower these numbers are, the better the window will perform.
- Design. This includes the shape of the window and the way the window opens (if you want it to open). Both will affect your utility bill.
- Installation. Communicate with your contractor. Choose someone who is up front and can clearly tell you how they plan to install the window. Don’t waste money on a high performance window to have it fall below your expectations because it was installed incorrectly.
The professionals at Building Resources Inc. can help with the process of selecting and installing the best windows for your home or business. Contact Building Resources Inc. to schedule an appointment.
Renovation Example: Owyhee building in downtown Boise
By soliciting the help from the right company, nearly anything is possible. Renovation can turn an old abandoned building into a modern hot spot. Downtown Boise has gone through a transformation in recent years as new buildings pop up and renovation projects come to a close.
A walk down Main St. provides several examples: the Zions bank building, the current construction of Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), the expansion of the Grove, and the completion of the Owyhee Plaza. Built in 1910, the hotel was a success for many years, however, as more businesses joined downtown, Owyhee started falling behind, unable to compete with the growing competition.
As its location remains prime, General Manager Clay Carley decided it was time for something new and began a major building renovation. Today the Plaza hosts an office, 36 apartments, and a retail complex. The renovation was a success before it was finished as over twenty people were on the list to rent there. Time will tell what else is in store for buildings like Owyhee, but one thing is for sure, we will be waiting in anticipation to see what they turn into.
*Details extracted from idahostatesman.com archives.
You’ve determined that it’s time to renovate and the call to go green echoes in your mind. What does it cost to “go green”, and how long will it take to start reaping the benefits of the extra cost of using environmentally friendly alternatives? The U.S. Department of energy has simplified our quest for comparing the options and the costs here. It’s up to you to determine if making the switch is worth it.
If you decide to go in that direction it’s a good idea to consult with contractors such as those at Building Resources Inc. who have professional experience planning sustainable earth friendly designs. Hiring the right construction company will decrease the amount of time you spend lining up subcontractors and increases the odds of achieving your goals and deadlines.
What can you expect when you’re starting a green renovation? A few sources like houselogic.com and homerenovationestimate.com can make planning and setting expectations easier by calculating costs, creating budgets, and revealing ways you can save money. For example, at houselogic, you can find tips about saving water; from gardening tips to toilets, this site describes what a water efficient landscape looks like and the plants that survive by rainfall alone. Following their tips, reducing outdoor water use by 20-50% saves up to 10,000 gallons of water a year reduces the average annual household water bill by $30 and $70.