Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo
Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 10 am to 4pm
Kellam High School in Virginia Beach
Join HRGBC's participation in the 3rd annual Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo and explore the balance between social, economic, and environmental responsibility. ENERGY is this year's focus.
Recycling, Refurbish, Reuse.
By Michael J. Winner, AIA LEED AP BD+C, HBA Architecture & Interior Design, Inc.
Recycling many items, such as paper, glass, and aluminum cans, is now standard practice in homes and offices across America. However, many building owners are unaware that office furniture is also a recyclable, reusable product. Most quality office furniture has a long life span; instead of wearing out, it is often replaced due to changes in style or for a fresh new look. Styles, fabrics, colors, and other elements typically become worn or dated over time and in the past; an office renovation meant old furnishings were given a death sentence doomed for the landfill. This needs to happen no longer! Refurbishing and reuse diverts used office furniture out of the solid waste stream and back into the marketplace, by restoring it to “like new” condition or used as is. Worn parts are replaced, cabinets are repainted, desktops are refinished or replaced, and chairs and panels are reupholstered. Often, the look of distressed furniture or mismatched chairs can be used in an eclectic design, or even timeless pieces can lend to a retro look. Environmentally-responsible refurbishers can recycle used fabric, aluminum, and steel, replace old fabric with recycled-content fabric, and use water-based or Low VOC paints to prevent off-gassing. Refurbished furniture costs 25 to 70 percent less than comparable new furniture. Today’s recycled, reused, or remanufactured office furniture offers an attractive alternative to purchasing new product. What’s good for the environment is also good for the bottom line!
Case Study: South Norfolk Memorial Library, Chesapeake, VA
A neighborhood institution along Poindexter Street for over fifty years, the new South Norfolk Memorial Library (SNML) serves as a community icon and anchor for neighborhood revitalization. The new library is located just steps away from the old building and serves as the anchor tenant in the Gateway, a mixed-use building created as a template for new development throughout South Norfolk. Early in the design of the 20,000 ft2 library, it was estimated that a furniture budget of over $1,000,000 dollars would be necessary, which would be a burden on an already tight construction budget. Reusing furniture was something Betsy Fowler, the Library Director, and her staff were intimately familiar with, having just recently remodeled a portion of the Central Library using the same methods. But where would they get the necessary supplies to reuse for such a large facility? The answer came in the form of a national book retailer, which just happened to be going out of business locally. The open design concept utilized at the national book retailer was match for SNML, relying heavily on book browsing and book displays. The outgoing retailer was mined for much of its furniture, shelving and displays, for all type of reading materials, as well as tables, seating, displays, advertising signage, audio/video racks…even the in-store café equipment was purchased, as it was a near-perfect fit for SNML. The library created new space around the repurposed casework, furniture, and equipment. The end result was a furniture package that was aesthetically pleasing and a new space that answered the needs of the users, met the Library’s budget, and provided a sustainable solution for the environment.