My wife Karen and I just celebrated 39 years of marriage. As I reflect on all of the fun times and great adventures we’ve had over the last 39 years, one of the things that we’ve most enjoyed doing together is searching for treasures in roadside “antique” shops across Las Cruces and New Mexico. To this day, my children roll their eyes as they remember all of the interesting old stores we dragged them into during family road trips.
We were looking for old pieces of furniture to refinish, forgotten artwork or rusty old objects that would complete our Southwest/ ranch-style home décor.
At the time we weren’t thinking about being green, we were just enjoying the process of finding forgotten treasures. I now realize that reusing old items was a great way to go green when building, remodeling or decorating your home.
The environmental benefits of reusing items in our daily life are obvious. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Imagine the waste that would be saved if we all started using reusable water bottles instead.
The environmental and green building benefits of the reuse principle may not be quite as clear when it comes to building or remodeling your home. As I see it, there are five main benefits of reusing materials as you build or remodel your home. Reusing existing materials can:
- Reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills.
- Protect the environment by reducing the amount of natural resources we use to manufacture new building materials.
- Help you gain valuable points toward green certification.
- Be a fun project and adventure as you build your home.
- Add a unique style, character and charm to your home.
There are so many ways to integrate reused or reclaimed materials in your home. We used reclaimed brick on the patio of our home and reclaimed wood on our interior flooring. That helped us qualify for Build Green New Mexico (BGNM) silver certification and valuable tax credits. Plus, these materials look just as beautiful as anything I could have purchased new.
Wayne and Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes are one of the leading custom home builders in Las Cruces, NM and they integrate reused materials in many of the homes they build. They reuse old wood floors, reclaimed beams, bricks, doors and much more.
According to Wayne, “Even old doors and shutters can be re-worked and brought back to life even better than before, to give your project uniqueness and a lot of character.
Pat Bellestri-Martinez of Soledad Canyon Earth Builders, another outstanding Las Cruces custom home builder, said she has integrated antique cabinets, an old farm sink and salvaged vigas in homes they have built.
So how do you go about finding these forgotten treasures? Well, you have to become a scavenger. I am not advocating dumpster diving or stealing, but if you keep your eyes open, it’s amazing what you can find.
“There is nothing wrong with driving around older neighborhoods or farms and seeing piles of wood that probably will never be reused by the owners,” Wayne said.
“Often times, people are willing to let you have old materials for free or for a small price, just to get them off their hands.”
According to Wayne, old barn wood and corral gates are some of the most beautiful wood you can find. It has a patina that no amount of fauxing or distressing can imitate. You can also check local junk shops, antique stores and salvage yards. Many times these stores have old doors, windows, lumber, brick and other materials that you can reuse in your home.
If hunting for reusable materials isn’t your thing, the Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore is another great resource that recently opened its doors in the Las Cruces area. The ReStore is a great place to find items to reuse in your home. You can also donate items when remodeling, renovating, upgrading or demolishing your home or other building. That way others can reuse the materials you no longer need.
At times, reusing old materials can be more work.
“In the home that we are currently building, we are reusing a tin ceiling that was recovered from an old building from the late 1800s,” Wayne said. “It is in poor condition, so we are having to put quite a bit of work into it. But the end result will be well worth it.”
Reusing old, forgotten building materials in your home can be one of the most beautiful ways you can go green in your home. If you are like Karen and I, it can even become a fun hobby to enjoy together.
There are so many great ways to recycle, reduce and reuse as you build your next home or remodel your current home. Make sure to talk to your builder about how you can go green by integrating the recycle, reduce, reuse principles in your home.
Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes and Neighborhood Retail in Las Cruces, New Mexico.