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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When most people hear the word “green” used in conjunction with home remodeling or home construction, their first thought is usually saving money on energy costs. However at Meadowlark, we know that being green isn’t just about cutting energy bills. In fact, the biggest environmental savings in terms of resources use, energy savings, and pollution reduction comes from avoiding consumer waste via thrifty purchasing as well as reusing and repairing items.

Keeping items out of the waste stream is just as important as saving energy. For Meadowlark it means that during a remodel we try to deconstruct homes and save everything—from siding and bricks to ceiling joists and support beams. These items are carefully removed and taken to a building reclamation organization or reused in the design of the remodeled space as new fireplaces, flooring, mantels, and even furniture. These items are resource-efficient, and they also add character and interest to a home.

Bricks and Support Beams

The bricks used to construct this fireplace were reclaimed, and the mantle was created from an old support beam that had to replaced in this LEED Platinum Certified whole home renovation and addition.

reclaimed-wood-mantel-and-fireplace- bricks

Barn Beams

Reclaimed barn beams were used as table legs for the dining room table in this LEED Platinum Certified remodeled home completed by Meadowlark.


Staircase Lumber

The treads of this staircase were made out of reclaimed lumber.


Flooring from Reclaimed Wood

In many historic homes that are undergoing renovation we find that there are structural issues with the homes that need to be remedied. Often times joists need to be replaced. This beautiful old-growth lumber can be planed and sanded and used for flooring that is not only durable but adds so much character to the home. Plus…it’s a great story to tell!

reclaimed wood flooring

Siding and Wall Paneling

In one of our most stunning custom home projects, our clients came to us with a building site and lots of wood that had been deconstructed from a home that was previously on the site. Instead of just dumping the beautiful old-growth lumber, all the structurally intact wood was stored and then utilized throughout the home in a variety of ways…everything from ceiling to flooring to stairs. Resource-efficiency has never looked so good!

reclaimed wood siding

Deconstructed Building Materials

We recently helped out the Salvation Army with a project they had at their office in Ann Arbor. We had kitchen cabinets and a counter that were pulled out of a past remodeling project. Our crew spent an afternoon there a few weeks ago installing the reclaimed pieces.


Fortunately for local residents, Ann Arbor has a multitude of organizations that will take donations of new or gently used items as well as consignment shops that will pay for your used items to resell. So even if you are not planning on a major remodel or a new custom home, you can still live greener by looking into one or more of these organizations before throwing household items into the trash.

We can all walk lighter on the earth, so think about what you can keep out of the waste stream.

By Susan Christian

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