While the phrase ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ is part of the mainstream vernacular, the environmental idiom is quickly becoming a quintology of R’s with the addition of ‘Repurpose’ and ‘Reconsume’.
While similar to reuse and recycle, repurpose and reconsume refer to the practice of using something that was intended for one purpose for another, thus reducing waste. This concept is of particular relevance when it comes to both old and new construction, where, according to Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “…the greenest building is one that’s already been built.”
Recently in South Florida, the Ft. Lauderdale Utilities Department literally got on the move with the repurposing trend when it acquired a steel building that had been initially been used by the fire department while a new firehouse was being built. “We heard about it through the Parks and Recreation Department,” says Kevin Scott, who works for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. “We saw that the building could serve as storage for the utilities department, so we completely disassembled it, moved it, and then reassembled it at a different location after we poured a new concrete pad. All we needed were new nuts, bolts, and insulation for the end walls. The parts to the building are very well fabricated, so it was pretty easy to reassemble.”
Manufacturers of steel buildings, steel building kits, and prefabricated steel buildings say that steel buildings are popular among those committed to protecting and utilizing the environment because of various green building techniques, which include:
• Solar reflectance and reliability through the use of Galvalume Plus coatings;
• Emphasis on taking advantage of renewable resources such as use of sunlight through solar powered energy sources;
• Measures to reduce energy use and increase efficiency of the building envelope (the barrier between conditioned and unconditioned space) by using high efficiency windows and insulation;
• Orientation of windows, walls, awnings, and porches to maximize solar gain in the winter;
• Onsite renewable energy through solar power, wind power, hydro power, or biomass which significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building; and
• Reduction in the impact on wells and water treatment plants.
“Our steel buildings are both eco friendly and economical,” says Michelle Wickum, the director of marketing for SteelMaster Buildings, which manufactured the city’s steel building. “Our industrial base connector allowed for the building to be portable, so the City of Ft. Lauderdale was able to get the most out of their investment.”
In addition to steel and metal buildings, SteelMaster, which is based in Virginia Beach, VA, manufactures prefabricated metal and steel building kits designed for a broad range of residential and commercial applications including garages, workshops, carports, agricultural storage, metal barns, Quonset HutTM buildings, airplane hangars, RV storage, roofing systems, storage buildings, military buildings, government buildings, commercial warehousing, metal sheds, and industrial storage.
“SteelMaster steel buildings are the highest quality pre-fabricated steel structure on the market,” says Wickum. “We provide 80 grade steel, Energy Star rated coating (Galvalume Plus), DT 1500 hour bolt coating, pre-cut end walls; laser guided pre-punched holes, and a 30-year warranty. In addition, our buildings are virtually maintenance free, fire resistant, and are able to withstand extreme weather conditions.”
It is the building’s durability that provides additional piece of mind for Scott. “In South Florida we tend to get hit with hurricanes, and this building is sturdy and would withstand a strong hurricane very well,” says Scott. “My experience working with SteelMaster on this project was fantastic.”
– written by Brenda Welch
(Brenda is a freelance writer and editor living in Hampton Roads, VA)