RECLAIM, RECYCLE AND REAP THE REWARDS
Recycled materials, where to begin?
Whilst reusing a recycled material not only creates a beautiful effect with it’s unique imperfections, it also allows you to stretch the embodied energy used to create the material over both it’s first and second life. A material that not only benefits the environment but also looks striking- does it really get any better than that?
Thinking outside the box brings countless opportunities when it comes to the use of recycled materials, either in it’s originally intended application, or even for an entirely new purpose. Original roof beams can be re used in a new design, leaving them exposed to become a feature in themselves, rather than hiding them away behind other materials.
In the right design, utilising imperfect building materials to either blend in with the remainder of the structure or to contrast with a modern, refined structure, easily creates a key visual design feature.
Existing structural timber can be used in its original format size, or even cut down and used as feature claddings and linings. The timber can either be left raw and unfinished, sanded down for a more perfect finish or even given a finish further left of field such as charring, through mild burning/torching. One of the huge benefits of using these existing recycled materials is not only the charm and characteristics inherent in aged timber, but also the format size. Often it’s easier to find recycled large format hardwood timbers than new timber.
Another favourite recycled material to use is bricks. This material can easily be used to either blend in with an existing structure, or in a contemporary home, can be used a key design feature to contrast against the modern design. The material can either be used in its standard application as a wall material, or alternatively, can be used for external paving, or even for internal flooring, ceilings, built in furnishing, exposed steps or even seating.
Through the use of recycled materials, not only are you doing your part for the environment in using a somewhat green building material, you can also create some very alterative and attractive designs utilising materials that have their own unique story to tell. These materials do not suit every design application and thought needs to be given not only to the design, but also to any implications on using recycled materials. For example, materials such as recycled face brick cannot be used as structural load bearing walls so therefore must be used in the correct location/application, paired with other materials that can be used as the load bearing support.
Consideration should also be given to the cost of these materials, which is where an experienced professional comes into play. Some recycled materials, although having a lower embodied energy cost upfront, if being used in an alternative format may require large amounts of energy and wastage to be modified for the new format. Not only this, but these materials can be expensive to use if not thought out and applied in the correct application. The use of these materials for energy and cost savings is a sliding scale equation, which does need upfront thought and planning.
Reclaim, recycle and reap the rewards.